Every year I take a look at how absurd it is that VT didn’t make that other tournament, and ended up in the Virginia Tech Invitational (the NIT). Clearly there seems to be one rule for the rest of the ACC, and another set for the Hokies. Tech gets more snubs than Smith & Wesson.
In this article I’m going to break down data on Virginia Tech compared to comparable ACC teams that have made that other tournament over the last seven years (since VT entered the league). I’ll use regular season records, and regular season plus the ACC Tournament combined wins, to analyze the data.
REGULAR SEASON ACC DATA: (Breakdown of the last seven ACC seasons)
- 10-6: Virginia Tech is the only team to finish 10-6 in the ACC and not make the ncaa tournament (2010) at least as far back as when the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. 7 other teams have gone 10-6 in the last seven years, and all 7 made it.
- 9-7: Amazingly, only 5 of the 9 ACC teams that have finished 9-7 in the regular season the last seven years have made the big dance. Well, amazing until you realize Tech posted 2 of those 4 teams that didn’t make it (’08 and ’11). The other two are florida state, who went 9-7 in 2006 and finished fifth, and boston college who went 9-7 this year and tied for fourth.
- 8-8: 4 of the 7 teams that have finished .500 (8-8) in the league over the last seven years made the tournament. That’s better than 50% of teams finishing just .500, and better than the odds when you go 9-7! The Hokies, of course, didn’t make the dance when they finished .500 in 2005, and haven’t made it 3 out of 4 times when they finished OVER .500.
- 4th Place or better: 84% of the teams that finished fourth place or higher, including tied for fourth, in the ACC regular season standings have made the ncaa tournament (27 of 32 times). Virginia Tech fielded 4 of the 5 teams that didn’t make the tournament while finishing in fourth, or tied for fourth. bc this year is the only other team to ‘accomplish’ that feat (their mistake was being tied with VT).
- Worse than 4th Place: In the 4 seasons where Tech finished in 4th place and didn’t make the ncaa’s, 6 different teams that finished below the Hokies in the ACC standings made the tournament.
- Under .500: 3 teams that finished under .500 (7-9) in the league made the big dance over the last 7 years. Granted, georgia tech won 3 ACC Tournament games last year, and maryland and nc state won two when they did it. But it goes to show the lack of consistency and how the rules seem to work against the Hokies from year to year.
- 86% (30/35) of the ACC teams that finished over .500 in the regular season over the last seven years made the ncaa’s. VT represents 3 of the 5 that didn’t.
- Remove VT and 94% of the teams (29/31) that finished over .500 made the dance.
- 81% (34/42) of the teams that finished .500 or better made the dance. Tech represents half of those 8 that didn’t.
- Again, remove VT and it is 89% (33/37) that made it of teams finishing .500 or better.
ACC REGULAR SEASON RECORDS AND ncaa tournament APPEARANCES (Last 7 Seasons):
^^^Just take a look at that.^^^ The ACC has 38 tournament bids in the last 7 years, and Virginia Tech has just 1 of those bids.
- VT has the 6th best winning percentage, just 1 bid.
- 4 of the 6 teams with worse winning percentages have more bids than VT. 3 of those 4 teams have 3 or more bids to VT’s just 1.
- georgia tech, at just 41-71 in league play and has just 7 road wins in 6 years, has 3 bids. And they had the second worst coach in the league that whole time!
- I bet nc state fans sure miss Herb Sendek right now! He got them to the tourney almost every year, Lowe is/was 0/5.
REGULAR SEASON + ACC TOURNAMENT ANOMALIES (2005-11):
Let’s look at how teams did in terms of making the ncaa tournament when getting to ‘X’ combined wins between the ACC regular season and the ACC Tournament since Tech joined the ACC (e.g. VT had 11 combined wins this year and 10 last year).
- 11 Wins: Of the 6 teams to finish with 11 combined wins, Virginia Tech is the only team not to make the big dance.
- 10 Wins: 10 teams have finished with 10 combined wins and 7 made the ncaa’s. Virginia Tech represents 2 of those that didn’t (2008 and 2010). bc this year was the other.
- 9 Wins: 6 of 8 teams that have ended with 9 combined wins made the ncaa tournament. Just maryland and florida state, both in 2006. VT has never finished with exactly 9 combined wins.
- 8 Wins: Only 2 teams have made the ncaa tournament with just 8 combined wins. Both were in 2007 and of course duke was one of those teams, with georgia tech the other. VT, of course, did not make it the 2 times they finished with 8 combined wins.
- Virginia Tech is the only team in the last 7 years (probably longer) in the ACC to get 11 combined ACC regular season and tournament wins, and not go dancing.
- VT is the only team to win 10 regular season games in the last 7 years and not go to the ncaa’s.
- 12 of 16 teams to get 10 or 11 combined ACC wins went dancing. VT marks 3 of the 4 that didn’t (11 of 12, or 92%, of teams not named Virginia Tech made it with 10 or 11 combined wins).
- 29 teams have received ACC Tournament First Round byes in the last 7 years. Virginia Tech is the ONLY team to get a bye and not make the ncaa tournament… and it has happened to VT THREE TIMES (2005, 2008, and 2010).
SO WHAT DO WE DO TO CORRECT THIS?
- Keep playing challenging out of conference schedules: The Hokies need to keep playing schedules similar to what they did this year out of conference. The tough thing is next year they will be young. But, better to schedule tough and take some lumps early. Avoid playing teams like East Popcorn State and have a horrible RPI due to a rough SOS.
- Play more ‘good, not great’ programs: Yes, k-state, unlv, okie state, and purdue are solid out of conference games. But VT went just 1-3 in those games and the win was against the worst of the four. Yes, penn state ended up being a top 50 RPI team and a ncaa team, but that was a surprise (just like how bad miss state was also a surprise and you cannot blame VT for that). The rest of the OOC schedule was poo-poo. The Hokies need to play more teams that are consistently around the top 100, even if it means some more road/neutral site games… road/neutral wins count more anyway.
- Win some of those tough OOC games: The Hokies blew grand opportunities this year. They had purdue, a top 15 RPI team, dead to rights but choked at the end of regulation. And they were in the k-state and unlv games before they got away.
- Get lucky on your ACC schedule: VT has had a very poor ACC schedule the last few years in terms of strength. VT played unc, duke, fsu, and clemson just once in the regular season this year, and duke and fsu just once last year. As luck would have it, unc was horrible last year when Tech played them twice. And the biggest stroke of bad luck — by beating fsu a second time this year, VT knocked them out of the RPI top 50 and cost themselves not one but two top 50 wins. Hard to believe the team that finished all alone in 3rd place in the ACC at 11-5 (fsu) wasn’t a top 50 team. Not much the Hokies can do about that, but it should get better over time, and the league should get better — or at least closer to where it used to be.
- Figure out who we’ve cheesed off and either: a) buy them back into our good graces, or b) eliminate them!
- Shut up and handle your business: I do think the ‘certifiably insane’ and general conduct does take a toll. No one likes to be told who you should take, especially from an up-start program. Do your business on the court. Win 10 regular season games, or 10-11 combined with the tournament, and the odds show you should get in… well, unless you are VT. Maybe we should change our name? Niemo U has a nice ring to it.
Here’s hoping I don’t have to update this article next year.