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Virginia Tech Hokies Drop Critical Game to North Carolina: 65-57

You get tickets to a game, and you’d sure like to see your team win a big game. Not this time, I guess. The Hokies lose a critical home game to an above average Carolina team and probably close the door on any NCAA bids.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Tech
It looked like it was going to be close, until it wasn’t.
Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

Ugh. It was a tale of 3 periods, and Tech won the first half of the first half, lost the 2nd half of the first half by eight, and then pitched a draw for the entire 2nd half.

Hokies Drop a Critical Game to Carolina

Team/Period 1st 2nd Total Records
Team/Period 1st 2nd Total Records
>>North Carolina 38 27 65 19-8,11-5 ACC
Virginia Tech 30 27 57 16-11,8-8 ACC
It was a disappointing effort by a team that was hot, and now might be fading. Hokie Sports

Look, losing is always disappointing, but if you lose doing your absolute best, at least you can walk off whatever playing field or court with your head up and some knowledge that you just were beaten that day. It’s a bit difficult to really see how the team feels that way, this evening.

The Hokies came out for the various shoot arounds that you don’t see on TV coverage. (Yes, yours truly had tickets to go with friends.) The warm-ups looked off. The shots were being taken in what usually is a relaxed stretch out period. Oddly Carolina’s players sort of laid down on the court, doing some sort of goat yoga or something. The Hokies might have done well to do some relaxation exercises themselves. Their inside practice shots were ringing off the rim, and their three-point attempts were just off - short or to the right.

It was Senior Night, so the graduating student athletes and their family escorts were introduced. Their degrees most of them graduate level were impressive. The student section was raucous, and as the Hokies grabbed the tip off, things sort of ground into a slow roll. The first two points were scored by the Hokies on foul shots by Keve Aluma over a minute into the game. Tech had missed four total shots before Aluma finally sunk the two buckets from the charity stripe. Nine seconds later, the Heels drained a 3 pointer, and it was off to a slow rolling dog fight.

Tech had its biggest lead at 7:13 on the clock, and then the sights fell off, the ball handling problems popped up, and North Carlina chopped away at the lead. They went ahead by 1 with 5:06 left on the clock, and never looked back, leading by as much as 14 points, until late in the 2nd half when Tech got within 5 with 8:41 left. That was the total amount of effort that the Hokies seemed to be able to expend.

The scoring closed with a 3-pointer from Alleyne with 18 seconds left on the clock and no way to make up 8 points.

Overall, it was a pretty disappointing outcome, the game wasn’t particularly well played on either side, and we won’t talk about some of the questionable calls that got the crowd taunting the referees. All in all, Carolina really didn’t play that good a game, but it was just good enough to beat us at home.

The potential effects on the Hokies’ tournament chances are pretty plain to see. Losing to a Carolina team that is not as good as usual, in the Cassell, with so few games left and most on the road pretty much deflated the NCAA tournament bubble. If we win out, we might get a bid, but any loss from now on will probably have us playing in Madison Square Garden for the NIT, at best.

Next game is Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Feb 23rd. Mike Young better figure out how to get this team settled down and shooting well from the outside, again. Without a real fast break, trouble with ball handling, and really slow transitions this particular Hokie team is unlikely to make it to the bubble this season.

We’ll see if they can grab a decent quality road win in Atlanta before they have to face Miami in Coral Gables.