I don’t mean to date myself (especially because I still have street cred with the youth of America), but I have the lyrics to Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again stuck in my head. I will paraphrase but — Here we go again, possibly walkin’ down the only road we’ve ever known (the NIT). Are we walking along the lonely street of dreams again? Or will we find what we’ve been looking for? (A NCAA Tournament bid.)
Personally, I think we are in. Here’s why:
- 11 total ACC wins: Yes, only 9 were in the regular season, and 10 in the regular season weren’t enough last year. But without having doing any research, I will all but guarantee you no ACC team has ever won 11 games during the regular season and tournament and not made the Big Dance. Look at gt last year – they were 7-9 in the regular season, won 3 in the ACC Tourney, and got in. I have to think 11 is enough, even in a very down year for the league (reputations mean a lot).
- 3-2: VT was 3-2 against the top three teams in the ACC. Even in a downyear, that means something. The win over duke, and two over florida state, reflect well. And while the Committee will likely miss this fact, VT had a shot to beat unc at the very end, on the road.
- 21 wins: With our schedule (90th), that ain’t bad.
- penn state: The nittany lions with their run in the Big(12)10 Conference have vaulted into the top 50 of the RPI, giving VT an extra top 50 win.
- Tech has two neutral site wins against top 75 teams in four chances.
- VT is 6-4 in their last 10 games: Anything over .500 is good down the stretch since there are few cupcakes this time of year in a power league.
- 3 more teams get in this year: We would have been one of the extra three that got in last year, and three years ago, and I think we will fit somewhere in around the last few in this year.
These things are borderline NCAA-worthy:
- VT is 2-5 against top 50 teams.
- Tech is 6-8 against top 75 teams.
- The Hokies are 8-8 against top 100 teams.
- Jerry Palm had us in, on the bubble, but not one of the last four in (so somewhat firmly in — #11 seed) after Friday’s action. (and bc, who beat us twice, out).
- Joe Lunardi has us as the second-to-last team in. #12 seed in a first round game (Tuesday or Wednesday in Dayton).
A few things are also working against us…
- florida state: with their loss to us, they dropped out of the top 50 of the RPI. So instead of 4 top 50 wins, VT has just 2 (duke and penn state).
- RPI: #61 – good, but not great. Very borderline. Plenty of teams with higher RPIs won’t get in.
- VT has just one road win against a top 100 team. Not sure this is that big of a deal though. Neutral site is a better judge and VT is 2-2 in neutral site games against the top 75.
And, oh nelly, if Tech had just been able to close out the purdue game, which we had won, or the game at unc, VT would be a lock. Both teams are top 12 RPI teams.
Again, I think we are in. Is it just blind, biased optimism? Maybe. Is it me wanting it so bad for these seniors? Probably. But I really think we have put together a NCAA Tournament resume. We deserve the job. Especially when they are hiring 68 this year. While it is no sure thing, I think we will finally find what we’ve been looking for.