Categorized | 2010-11 Season

Deja Vu All Over Again | VT and the RPI: Welcome Back to the Bubble

Last Wednesday in honor of Groundhog Day, Encore ran the Bill Murray movie of the same name all day.  I wonder if Seth Greenberg wakes up every February and March and doesn’t wonder if he’s stuck in that film, repeating the same situation year after year.

If Virginia Tech basketball is anything, it is consistent.  There are several words you could add after ‘consistent’, like -ly frustrating, -ly good, -ly average, but consistently on the bubble is for sure.  Death, taxes, and no finger nails on Selection Sunday are the three givens in life as a Tech basketball fan.  And with seven regular season games to go, this year looks no different, with VT having absolutely no margin for error the rest of the way:

Year Overall/ ACC Record* RPI (Overall/ RPI/SOS)*
2010-11 15-7 / 5-4 #68 / .570 / .535
2009-10 23-8 / 10-7 #59 / .573 / .514
2008-09 18-14 / 8-10 #61 / .570 / .578
2007-08 19-13 / 10-8 #53 / .568 / .566
2006-07$ 21-11 / 11-7 #34 / .594 / .577


  • *For past seasons this was VT’s record and RPI on Selection Sunday.  ACC record includes ACC Tournament games.
  • $VT made the Big Dance in 2006-07 as a #5 seed.


Looking at that table should scare the bejeebies out of you in terms of the Hokies’ NCAA Tournament hopes.

  • Tech’s RPI right now is worse than it was in the previous three seasons when VT was shipped to the VT Invitational (the NIT) each year.
  • Their RPI number (.570) is lower than last year, and just even with the 2008-09 team that everyone knew wasn’t Tourney-worthy.
  • Teams as high as 40th in the RPI didn’t get in last year, as high as 34th in 2008-09, and high as 30th or 37th in 2007-08.
  • VT’s strength of schedule (.535) is much closer to last year’s number than 2008-09 or 2007-08, and that was supposed to be a major focus of this year’s schedule.  But that’s slightly misleading… more on that later…


There is still hope though at this point.

  • The Hokies still have 7 regular season games left, including a tilt with defending champion duke, plus the ACC Tournament.  I’m pretty sure there aren’t any games left for the previous three seasons now, so it is time to put up or shut up.  duke is #8 in the RPI currently.
  • Tech’s RPI number is higher than 2007-08 when Seth told the Committee they were ‘certifiably insane’ for not letting in a Virginia Tech team that won 10 ACC games and lost to unc in the ACC Tournament semi-finals on a shot in the final second.
  • VT’s SOS is 83rd and certainly isn’t a black eye this year like it was last year. FYI: it was 133rd last year… while the out of conference SOS was terrible, is 133rd overall really that big of a deal?.
  • We aren’t nc state, uva or wake (ugh).

And the biggest thing… The NCAA Tournament expanded by three teams this year.  There are 31 automatic qualifiers, so now 37 teams will get at-large bids.  If that had been the case last year, VT would have gone dancing.  If the Hokies can finish strong this year, they should be in a similar spot or better if they can beat duke and/or win some games in the ACC Tournament.  And Tech cannot get shut out every year, can they?  Hmm.  I wonder if Seth has his speech prepared already.  Or just take care of business and punch your own ticket.  Time to go All In.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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12 Responses to “Deja Vu All Over Again | VT and the RPI: Welcome Back to the Bubble”

  1. hokieguru says:

    Copy cat… ahaha… I’d say my Ground Hog day comments on the prior posts gave you the inspiration for that post haha.

    • Niemo says:

      Guru – Ha, probably but it must have been subconscious! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… another way of saying thanks for letting me steal your idea.

  2. Casey says:

    …and no fingernails on Selection Sunday…and to boot you know that if we get in the dance we will be announced in the LAST bracket unveiled! What is that, like a good 15 to 20 minutes into the broadcast? It will feel like an eternity….but hopefully this year a major sigh of relief…and the bar officially opens!

  3. Goodraisin says:

    I think the positive to Seth Greenberg’s yearly bubble rant is that VT has to be on the selection committee’s mind, and they know that if they kept us out for another year when we were close, our fan base might riot and burn their houses down. The thing is, who can really be disappointed about being on the bubble this year? We effectively play with a 6-man bench and have no true post players backing up Allen and Davila. I never thought we’d be this good at this point in the season after hearing that both Hudson and Raines were going to be out for the rest of the season. So I guess my mindset is completely different than if we were in the same position with all of our guys healthy, but not producing.

    Oh, and I guess Brian Oliver won’t get a chance to torch VT this time… he’s having thumb surgery and is out for several weeks.

    • Niemo says:

      Raisin – Yes, the Oliver news was bad for VT on Thursday (they play fsu) but good for Sunday. The jackets just can’t get a break on the road.
      As for our season, you do sort of have to think we are playing with house money at this point. We’ve overcome a lot. Still, this is a BAD ACC this year, if not the worst ever. unc would not be 7-1 with this team two years ago. VT is good enough to overcome their short bench and make a run, just like they did in 1994-95 with a similarly short bench when they won the NIT.

  4. HipHop_Hokie says:

    We have 15 wins now… we have 7 regular season games left… I think that we probably need to win any 5 of those 7 to head into the ACC tournament at no worse than 20-9 to feel good about our chances on Selection Sunday. Now granted, if we only win 3 or 4 of them but they include wins against Duke and @Clemson, then we will probably still have a decent shot so long as we don’t lose in the first round of the ACC tourney. But if we only end up with 18 or 19 wins due to beating the teams that we really SHOULD beat (GT, @UVA, @Wake and maybe MD or BC), then it’s definitely going to take probably 2 wins in the ACC tournament to even have a shot.

    But hey… like raisin said above, we really are probably just fortunate to have won as many games as we have this year all things considered. Erick Green has certainly cost us a few games with poor play, but his emergence has certainly more than offset that as he has clearly helped us win at least twice that many games with his play alone. It’s been a frustrating yet fun season… here’s to hoping that the fellas can finish strong and FINALLY get this senior class to the big dance. They definitely deserve it.

  5. HipHop_Hokie says:

    Oh and just to make a quick note of it since I haven’t seen it listed elsewhere yet, Jeff Allen is now AVERAGING a double-double (13.2 / 10) following his ridiculous 19 board effort against BC. Very proud of the big little donut this year… he started the season off by looking like the same old Jeff at times, but it is pretty clear that he is now serious about his game and about trying to become a better player. Better late than never, I suppose…

  6. Hokieguru says:

    A 10-6 ACC record with no win vs. UNC and Duke is a very close to a carbon copy of the 2009-2010 team results… only difference is that our schedule is stronger this year (with more Top 50 RPI games, plus Penn State and OK State might not be top 50 RPI after it’s all over)… I believe if we have a 10-6, one of those wins must be vs. Duke to get into the tournament… I think we must be 11-5 in the ACC (that means we must win 6 of our last 7) to get into the tournament. I do not feel a 9-7 or 8-8 ACC regular record gets us into the NCAA tournament, unless we make a deep, deep run in the ACC tournament (3 ACCT wins at 9-7 in regular season ACC… win the ACCT if we are 8-8 in the ACC).

    There has been talk that the ACC regular season might be expanded by two games next year and in future years… it’s things like this that are going to help Virginia Tech because I’d love a shot to play Duke, UNC, Clemson, or FSU twice. This could help our RPI and it would be nice to get those North Carolina ACC schools at home. We shouldn’t have to play Longwood or USC Upstate… schools like that kill your RPI.

  7. Hokieguru says:

    Sorry on that 11-5 comment… what I meant there was that if we don’t beat Duke, then I think we need to be 11-5 in the ACC regular season.

  8. RK in Roanoke says:

    Guru – i agree with you. VT needs to go 6-1 to feel good or 5-2 with one of the 2 a win over Duke. There are way too many things the committee can point at to not like VT. yes, they played some better teams, but they did not beat any. Yes, they were close against UNC, but heels are down this year and VT was up 16. yes, they lost close at BC, but showed a lack of shooting ability. The one intangible that will play is that NCAA BB talking heads really like Malcolm and probably would like to reward him and jeff for good careers. The guys on the committee are human, too. But as someone already said, it is time to take care of business. there are six winnable games left. win them and don’t worry.

  9. Chris says:

    I’m sticking with this team needs to go 4-0 over its next four games to have a legitimate shot at dancing. Here’s the RPI of our next four opponents: 166, 82, 148, 241. That’s pitiful. We already have losses against two of these teams though. As many close games as we’ve lost to good teams this year, if this team can’t find a way to win these next four, frankly, I don’t think they deserve to dance.

  10. yakes14 says:

    I do the same thing, but you can’t compare last year to this year. This year is showing that there are MORE mediocre teams throughout the NCAA this year. Unfortunately, the ACC is littered with these teams. The Hokies will remain in a weak field as long as they finish 5-2 down the stretch and win one ACC tourney game.
    Anything less than that, wouldn’t kill the Hokies. However, it will put the Hokies in a position to hope other bubble teams falter down the stretch, or have to beat Duke. That Duke game on national TV is a chance to cement our spot without a monumental collapse. That being said, we will probably come up short, like we normally do in these spots.
    In the end, this team is fun to watch because of the short bench and the emergence of Green and Allen. These seniors deserve another chance in the dance. It would be a quick exit, but a nice way to send out Delaney, Bell and Allen.


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