Virginia Tech’s win over No. 12 Virginia on Sunday was another example of how this ACC season is one of the best—and most competitive—ever.
The Hokies (17-7, 6-6) bolstered their candidacy for the NCAA Tournament with the win over the Wahoos. Now, the ACC has 11 teams with at least six conference wins. Even the four teams on the bottom of the league (Clemson, Pittsburgh, N.C. State and Boston College) have had moments, too.
This ACC Tournament could be historic. N.C. State, with a 3-10 conference record, have wins over the Hokies and at Duke. Pitt, also three ACC wins, have beaten Virginia and Syracuse.
Virginia Tech is in the driver’s seat and if the Hokies can win at Pitt tomorrow night, they could be in for a strong finish. Today’s news that Chris Clarke would be out for the season was a major blow to Tech’s postseason hopes. The Hokies will be tired tomorrow night in the Steel City and also short-handed. After the game at Pitt, Tech goes to Louisville on Saturday.
The win over Virginia was huge on so many levels.
First, the committee recognized the Duke win as VT’s only quality win. Regardless of what the computers say, the win at Michigan was quality, too. Defeating a perennial top-10 team, like UVA, is huge for Virginia Tech’s tourney hopes.
Secondly, Clarke’s injury could change the dynamic of the season. This team doesn’t feature enough depth to account for the loss of one of its top players. So, beating one of the top teams on the schedule was major.
Now, the Hokies suddenly get one day off after a game that ended at 9 p.m. last night and travel. It’s going to be tough. The Panthers are playing well recently, winning their last two games. Pitt plays a much faster tempo, too, which is a departure from the Jamie Dixon days.
If the Hokies can find a way to win on Tuesday, they’d be 7-6 in league play. That would give them some cushion heading into a tough matchup at Louisville on Saturday. If Tech can end the week at 7-7 in league play, the schedule lets up a bit. Three of VT’s last four games are at home and none are against the ACC’s top teams this year.
Players like Seth Allen and Zach LeDay give this team a chance. Clarke’s loss is a tough blow, but don’t count this team out. If Virginia Tech gets to nine wins in ACC play, they’ll be an NCAA Tournament team.