The ACC announced earlier today that the Virginia Tech basketball program would be one of three left out of the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge that pits schools from each conference against each other in the attempt to build tournament résumé games and showcase their elite squads against those from the other conference.
The Hokies, alongside of Clemson and Wake Forest were the three who did not qualify for the challenge as a result of low RPI's a year ago. By nature of the addition of new members, the ACC had to choose who would play and who wouldn't to make the numbers match up, much like they did post-ACC expansion in 2004 when one team had to sit out due to numbers before the Big Ten's addition of Nebraska.
It's official: #Hokies, along with Clemson and Wake Forest, will not take part in the 2013 ACC/Big Ten Challenge due to low RPIs from 2012.— Mark Giannotto (@HokiesJournal) May 8, 2013
The question is, is this a bad thing? At face value, yes. The Hokies are losing what would be one of their marquee opponents in 2013-14 and the ability to potentially play on nationally television (not that they'd want to). The Hokies have also gone 3-5 in the competition, but all three wins have been over Iowa, a team that is far from the Big Ten elite. But as David Teel points out from his conversations with Virginia Tech Head Coach James Johnson:
@gobblercountry JJ is upgrading non-con schedule. Probably a wash.— David Teel (@DavidTeelatDP) May 8, 2013
So is it tenable to lose a high-quality game that the Hokies probably would've lost anyway for the addition of other, marginal improvements to the non-conference schedule? Yes. I think so. While nobody would have wanted to be left outside the challenge, at least there's a silver lining: J.J. can increase the overall difficulty of the games in the non-conference portion of the Hokies' schedule.
For more on the Virginia Tech basketball programs, Gobbler Country is your #1 source for all things Hokies.