It was less than a week ago that Virginia Tech knocked off the No. 1 team in the country and seemed to finally be on the verge of getting over its NCAA Tournament hump. Two lackluster performances and two losses to fellow bubble teams later, Tech finds itself with work to do yet again to get into the NCAA field of 68.
That's because the Hokies yet again failed to match the intensity level of their opponent and were beaten Saturday at Clemson, 69-60. The Hokies shot 30.5 percent and committed 18 turnovers while playing sloppy defense against a Tiger team that came out ready to prove it belonged in the NCAA Tournament.
Tech played poor defense throughout, allowing wide open threes and easy dunks, especially in transition. It allowed Clemson to build a 15-point lead before the Hokies finally woke up and took advantage of some of Clemson's mistakes to crawl back within four.
However, Tech stopped making shots and the Tigers build their lead back up finally winning by nine. It dropped the Hokies to 19-10 overall and 9-7 in the ACC, guaranteeing the Hokies will play in the first round of the ACC tournament next week. Tech's opponent on Tuesday will be decided by the result of Sunday's game between Boston College and Wake Forest.
If the Eagles win at home against the Demon Deacons, who are 1-14 in conference play, Tech will be the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament and open with Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. EST Thursday. If the Deacs upset the Eagles, Tech will be the No. 5 seed and play Wake at 2 p.m.
The loss to Clemson puts pressure on the Hokies to win at least two games in the ACC tournament to at least have a shot at making the NCAA tournament. Three wins in the ACC tournament would mean the Hokies wouldn't have to worry nearly as much about what other teams do during championship week.
All of this could have been avoided had the Hokies stepped their game up in either of their last two games. The question is whether nearly three months of playing with eight scholarship players has taken their toll on the Hokies. Are they capable of winning three games in three days with only three bench players? Probably not.
So welcome back to the bubble, Hokie fans. If there was any team that could completely dissolve any good feelings from a huge home win over the No. 1 team in the country in the span of a week it's the Hokies. It's still completely possible for Tech to still make the NCAA tournament, but they're probably going to need some help. Help they haven't gotten the previous three years.