When I write a story, I always start with a question. Today's question: "How far should the Hokies go in the N.I.T.?" I know that we haven't heard officially that they are in, but their record, their last 10 games, their RPI, their strength of schedule, and every website that predicts such things has said that they are in and in comfortably. So, for the purposes of this article, we are going to assume that the N.I.T. seclection committee has been watching basketball the last month or so and understands how lucky they are to have the Hokies in their tournament.
So, without further adu, we are going to look at the Top 3 reasons the Hokies will win the National Invatational Tournament.
1. They should have at least one home game. If Bracketology went to not just next four not in, but next next four not in, the Hokies would be about there. That means that they may not be the 8th team not to make the NCAA's, but they might be the 12th, and that means a chance to play at home. That is music to any Hokies who has watched this team play over the conference season. VT plays far better at home than on the road, and even though they have done a nice job of beating teams on the road and on neutral floors recently, the more games that are in Blacksburg, the better this team's chances of winning really are.
2. The Hokies really want to be in the N.I.T. I remember a time with a former coach (he who shall not be named) when the Hokies would have been angry to only get into the N.I.T. That is not the situation today. Maybe Buzz's squad will be unhappy if they only make the National Invitational Tournament next year, but this year it is almost a dream come true and definitely a stepping stone for the future. There are many teams that don't want to make the N.I.T., but those teams tend not to last very long, and the Hokies can and will take advantage of that.
3. The number one problem Virginia Tech has had since they started playing good basketball is they are a small team. That is not a problem in the N.I.T. The Hokies aren't as tall as Miami, UVA, UNC, Duke, ND, or a miriad of other teams that will play in the NCAA Tournament this year. But in the N.I.T., that isn't a problem. Guard play is what wins you games in these tournaments and that is something that the Hokies have in spades. They make runs constantly, but even when other teams make a run on them, they get to the basket, get fouled, and make free-throws at a high rate. This puts a massive amount of pressure on the other teams and leads to wins. The main problem with size is rebounding, which is something the Hokies haven't done a great job of against larger teams, but since they won't be playing many (if any) teams that are much larger than they are, it becomes about heart. And there is no team in the nation with more heart than Buzz Williams's team.
None of this means that the Hokies are a lock. There are other hungry teams out there who really do have a chance, but these 3 reasons (playing at home, wanting to be there, and size,) mean that this team can win it all. Personally, I would not mind partying like it's 1995. Would you?