Virginia Tech Hokies (23-8, 10-6) vs. NCAA Selection Committee (65-0, 31-0)
Time: 6 p.m. EDT
Date: Sunday, March 14, 2010
Place: Some Conference Room (10), Indianapolis, Ind.
Spread: Virginia Tech +0.5
What to Watch: We're probably out if teams like Florida, Mississippi State, Illinois and Rhode Island (especially Rhode Island) appear in the field ... historically, one of the final two lines to be filled is a 7-10 game ... there's a chance the Hokies will be one of the last teams revealed during the selection show.
Welcome to Life on the Bubble
It didn't have to be like this. Just like in 2008, Virginia Tech controlled its tournament fate coming down the season's home stretch and couldn't capitalize. The loss to Miami (for the second time this year) was a damning indictment of Tech's inability to beat the teams it needed to beat to be an NCAA Tournament team.
Win against Miami and the Hokies would have avoided having the committee's last image of them be losing to the last-place team in the ACC. It also would have given them a boost to their strength of schedule thanks to a second match-up with Duke.
Tech also could have avoided its currently situation by not scheduling one of the worst non-conference slates in the country. According to Ken Pomeroy, the Hokies' OOC SOS is worse than every power conference team except Northwestern and Rutgers. And those two knew their NCAA Tournament fates long before the Hokies.
The Hokies also don't have a signature win to point to this year. Florida beat Michigan State and Tennessee. Illinois beat Michigan State and Wisconsin. Virginia Tech's best win was over Wake Forest, which doesn't look as good as it did a week ago after the Deacs lost to Miami (Miami again?!?) in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
In fact, Virginia Tech's 10-6 ACC record, which a lot of people are pointing to, isn't as shiny as it first appears. The five teams the Hokies played twice this season were Miami (three times), NC State, North Carolina, Virginia and Boston College. That's right, the teams that finished 8-12 in the standings.
It was the worst possible conference schedule the Hokies could play and seven of Tech's 10 ACC wins came against those teams. The other three came against the teams that finished 5-7 in the conference: Wake Forest, Clemson and Georgia Tech.
Despite all the things Tech has against it, the Hokies have one big thing in their favor going into the Selection Show. This is one of the weakest at-large fields I've seen. Every team is flawed and every team has something missing from its resume. Are the Hokies worthy of a spot in the NCAA Tournament? Hell no. Are they worthy of a spot in the context of the 2009-10 season? Maybe. We'll find out at 6.