The Hokies are playing in the NIT for the third consecutive season and for the second time in three years has earned a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Virginia Tech will host Quinnipiac from the Northeast Conference at 7 p.m. EDT Wednesday, March 17 in Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg.
The Hokies find themselves in probably the toughest region in the NIT. A second-round date with UConn awaits if the Huskies can get past Northeastern. UConn struggled down the stretch, losing its last four games to Louisville, Notre Dame, South Florida and St. John's in the Big East Tournament but is still a talented team with Jerome Dyson, Kemba Walker and Stanley Robinson. UConn is the only team in the Hokies' bracket that didn't win 20 games during the regular season.
In the quarterfinals, Tech could face fellow NCAA Tournament bubble team Rhode Island. The Rams also struggled down the stretch to miss the NCAAs, losing five of their last seven regular season games and falling to Temple in the semifinals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament. They host Northwestern in the first round and would play the winner of Wichita State-Nevada if they advance.
This is a really deep bracket and there are six teams with a legitimate shot of making it to New York for the semifinals.
Here's a look at all the teams in our bracket:
No. 1 Virginia Tech
Location: Blacksburg, Va.
Head Coach: Seth Greenberg (Fairleigh Dickinson '78)
2009-10 Record: 23-8, 10-6 (T3 ACC)
Key Players: Malcolm Delaney (20.4 ppg, 4.1 apg), Dorenzo Hudson (14.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg), Jeff Allen (12.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
No. 2 Rhode Island
Location: Kingston, R.I.
Conference: Atlantic 10
Head Coach: Jim Baron (St. Bonaventure '77)
2009-10 Record: 23-9, 9-7 (T5 A10)
Key Players: Keith Cothran (14.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg), Marquis Jones (5.8 ppg, 4.1 apg), Lamonte Ulmer (11.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
No. 3 Wichita State
Location: Wichita, Kan.
Conference: Missouri Valley
Head Coach: Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon '85)
2009-10 Record: 25-9, 12-6 (2nd MVC)
Key Players: Clevin Hannah (12.1 ppg, 4.3 apg), Toure Murry (11.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg), JT Durley (11.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg)
No. 4 Connecticut
Location: Storrs, Conn.
Conference: Big East
Head Coach: Jim Calhoun (American International '68)
2009-10 Record: 17-15, 7-11 (T11 BE)
Key Players: Jerome Dyson (17.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg), Kemba Walker (14.8 ppg, 5.2 apg), Stanley Robinson (14.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg)
No. 5 Northeastern
Location: Boston, Mass.
Conference: Colonial Athletic Association
Head Coach: Bill Coen (Hamilton College '83)
2009-10 Record: 20-12, 14-4 (2nd CAA)
Key Players: Matt Janning (15.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg), Chiasson Allen (13.7 ppg, 3.7 apg), Nkem Ojougboh (9.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg)
No. 6 Nevada
Nickname: Wolf Pack
Location: Reno, Nev.
Conference: Western Athletic
Head Coach: David Carter (Saint Mary's '89)
2009-10 Record: 20-12, 11-5 (T2 WAC)
Key Players: Luke Babbitt (22.1 ppg, 9.2 rpg), Armon Johnson (15.8 ppg, 5.7 apg), Brandon Fields (14.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
No. 7 Northwestern
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach: Bill Carmody (Union College '75)
2009-10 Record: 20-13, 7-11 (T7 B10)
Key Players: John Shurna (18.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg), Michael Thompson (13.9 ppg, 4.1 apg), Drew Crawford (10.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg)
No. 8 Quinnipiac
Nickname: Bobcats (nee: Braves)
Location: Hamden, Conn.
Head Coach: Tom Moore (Boston U. '87)
2009-10 Record: 23-9, 15-3 (T1 NEC)
Key Players: James Feldeine (17.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg), Justin Rutty (15.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg), James Johnson (11.9 ppg, 3.9 apg)