The Hokies look to break a three-game losing streak tonight against NC State in their attempt to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. The recent slide has the Hokies teetering on the edge of making or missing The Tournament, so this is the perfect time to ask Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation's Blogging the Bracket to break down what the Hokies need to do to make the field. Thanks to Chris for participating.
GC: The Hokies have lost three in a row after being safely in the NCAA field two weeks ago. They have games with NC State and Georgia Tech and the ACC Tournament left. What do they have to do to make the field?
BTB: These next two games are crucial to the Hokies' hopes, especially as a first-round bye in the ACC Tournament is there for the taking. A loss to NC State would not be helpful, especially as it would represent the Hokies' fourth straight setback.
A week or so ago, I would have said a loss at Georgia Tech wouldn't have hurt. However, since the Yellow Jackets have only won three of their past eight, they're back on the bubble. Depending on what happens elsewhere, particularly tonight and Thursday, Saturday's tilt could become an elimination game.
An 0-for-2 finish would create lots of problems, mostly because the Hokies would likely play one of UNC, NC State, or Miami on Thursday, which wouldn't provide a resume boost, followed by a rough quarterfinal against a team who may also need a win to get off the bubble Friday.
GC: Assuming Tech plays to seed in the conference tournament, what are its best- and worst-case scenarios?
BTB: Worst case, dropping their last two, falling down to the 6 or 7 slot and playing UNC or NC State in their backyard. Not favorable.
Best case, grabbing the four, winning their quarterfinal and falling valiantly to either Duke or Maryland in the semifinals. If Duke happens to defeat the Terps tonight, grabbing the top seed, things could get interesting, particularly if UNC fans decide to stick around. The crowd might boost the Hokies' hopes then.
That second scenario is asking for a lot, however.
GC: Who are the Hokies main competitors on the bubble? Who do we need to be rooting against?
BTB: Tuesday night was an excellent night from a Virginia Tech perspective, as Florida and Illinois both suffered damaging defeats and Cincinnati and Minnesota are now pretty much finished after their losses.
For the rest of the week, pay attention to the A-10, as Charlotte visits Rhode Island tonight and Dayton visits Richmond Saturday. The Rams and Flyers would gain a lot with victories.
The Mississippi schools both play games they should win, so you need Auburn to stun Miss. State Wednesday and Ole Miss to fall to a dreadful LSU team Thursday.
There are also a few of significant Big East games to watch, as UConn visits Notre Dame tonight and USF on Saturday. Even with their loss Sunday to Louisville, I think the Huskies are a bit safer than either the Fighting Irish or Bulls. Notre Dame also plays Marquette, who looks to be safe now. Hokie fans better hope the Golden Eagles don't take their foot off the gas against the Irish.
Plus, you want Butler, Siena and Northern Iowa to win in their conference tournaments and St. Mary's to not get too far in the West Coast Tourney. The Gaels could face Portland in the semifinal, which would be a difficult matchup for them.