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Hokies’ Selection Sunday Preview

The Hokies are going dancing. It’s just a matter of where they will end up.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech, for the first time in a decade, should receive good news Sunday evening regarding their status in the NCAA tournament. At this juncture, the Hokies are a safe bet for the field. All that is left to decide is what region the team will be playing in and at what seed. Most experts project the Hokies anywhere from the seven to nine seeds. Out of those possibilities, the seven seed would be most ideal. If the Hokies can win their first round matchup, they would have to play a two seed rather than a one seed.

When it comes to the Hokies résumé, it is much better than it was a month ago. There still are no bad losses that are worthy of keeping them from dancing, and the amount of good-to-quality wins has noticeably increased.

I wrote a similar piece evaluating the Hokies’ tournament résumé last month that you can find here, if you want to see where the team stands now compared to then.

Quality Wins

· # 5 Duke

· # 12 Virginia

I don’t think you can overstate the importance of the comeback win over Virginia. Sure, Duke –who were crowned as the ACC Tournament Champions last night – still stands as a great win. However, tournament worthy résumés usually consist of more in this area. Winning a game down 14 at the half against your rivals showed impressive resolve that the tournament committee will surely be impressed with.

The win against Virginia in Blacksburg not only provided a quality win for the Hokies, but it also sparked the team’s confidence and effort which had been lacking in the five or so games preceding this one. The Hokies won four of their next five and are in the position they are because of that run.

Good Wins

· @ Michigan

· Syracuse

· @ Clemson

· @ Pittsburgh

· # 25 Miami

· Wake Forest (N)

The Hokies have a nice stack of good wins, over on-the-bubble to probable tournament teams. Virginia Tech traveled to Ann Arbor and beat Michigan back in November which is a win that has paid off nicely. Although the Big Ten has not been a great league this season, the Wolverines are headed to the finals of the conference tournament. Whether they win or lose is not all that important, as Michigan is probably headed to the tournament regardless of the result.

Syracuse is the definition of a bubble team. They have some poor losses that may keep them out of the running for a tournament bid, but also have a few very impressive wins over top-tier teams. Clemson was seen as a tournament team for the majority of the year, despite accumulating double digit conference losses. The Tigers are going to be on the outside looking in but any road win in the ACC can qualify as a good win. Except for Boston College.

Pittsburgh and Miami were two hard fought games and close wins. The Hokies have excelled in crunch time this season, with the obvious reason being Seth Allen’s late game heroics. But the entire team has been very good at closing teams out. Virginia Tech got a win on the road to a struggling Pittsburgh side, but they also beat a ranked Miami team at home for the second straight year. Those are two very good wins right there.

Since Wake Forest is another team that for right now appears to be in the field, the Deacons should also count as a good win. Other wins over non-tournament teams include Mississippi, Nebraska, Boston College, and New Mexico.

What to expect:

While a seven seed would be ideal, I don’t see that in the Hokies’ future. I see an eight seed as the most likely scenario, and that is a fair place to put the team. I would not be surprised to see the Hokies as a nine seed either because this program may not have the respect it deserves. This year marks the first time in a decade the Hokies will be in the NCAA tournament, and maybe that lack of continuity knocks them down when it really should not.

No matter what, the Hokies are going dancing and that is an accomplishment to be proud of wherever they end up.