Virginia Tech took a double-digit lead a little over five minutes into Thursday night's first-round ACC tournament game with Georgia Tech and never looked back. The Hokies were led by Malcolm Delaney, who scored 15 points and they held the Jackets to the fewest points in an ACC tournament game since 1998.
The Hokies jumped out to a 15-2 lead early in the game as the Jackets started just 1-for-10 from the floor with five turnovers in the early going. Virginia Tech's 2-3 zone defense trouble the Jackets throughout as they couldn't get the ball inside against the Hokies.
Georgia Tech was forced to instead jack up three after three with very finding the bottom of the net. The Jackets were just 5-for-23 from behind the arc and shot just 32.1 percent overall. The Hokies struggled with ball movement, assisting on just eight of 22 field goals made and committing 13 turnovers, but it didn't really matter as bad as the Jackets were playing.
With the win, the Hokies avoided a potentially resume-destroying loss to Georgia Tech and sets up a quarterfinal game with Florida State on Friday. The Hokies can now breathe a little easier about its postseason fate because other bubble teams have done themselves no favors during championship week.
Should the Hokies lose to the Seminoles, they will probably still make the NCAA Tournament unless teams that are no where near the bubble steal at-large bids during the conference tournaments. In a very weak bubble year, there probably aren't enough potentially stolen bids out there for the Hokies to be worried.
However, they can put an end to any argument about their postseason fate by simply beating the Noles for the second time this season. Tech last played FSU way back on Jan. 8 and came away with an ugly despite being out-rebounded by nine because the Noles shot 35.5 percent from the field.
The Noles' leading scorer from that game, Chris Singleton, may not even play Friday because of a fractured foot that has forced him to miss five games.
So, the Hokies now find themselves in a familiar position. One game in the ACC tournament that can basically take their fate out of the hands of the NCAA selection committee. In the past, it hasn't ended well for the Hokies, but Thursday's game against Georgia Tech and the way they played defense leads you to believe this time the outcome will be different.
Virginia Tech could have folded up shop after the two losses at the end of the regular season and the suspension of Jarell Eddie. Instead, it was the Jackets who folded in a very dramatic way, keeping the Hokies' postseason fate in their own hands.
Next on Virginia Tech's basketball schedule: 9:20ish p.m. EST Friday vs. Florida State.
Check From the Rumble Seat for the GT perspective on the game. Given their position on Paul Hewitt, it should be fun to read.