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Virginia Tech’s path to the NCAA Tournament is simple

The Hokies have four regular-season games remaining.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Tech Ryan Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies entered Saturday’s game against North Carolina at Cassell Coliseum with a significant opportunity. Winners of six in a row, Tech was finally above .500 in ACC play at 8-7 (16-10 overall), and a win over the Tar Heels would’ve put the Hokies one game behind UNC for the No. 4 seed in the ACC Tournament. As you know, getting one of those top four seeds in the ACC Tourney is critical.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, they made only five of 26 3-point attempts — an average of 19% — in a 65-57 loss to the Tar Heels. Hunter Cattoor and Nahiem Alleyne combined to shoot one of 12. When Virginia Tech isn’t knocking down threes, it will be tough to beat good teams. UNC isn’t a national championship team, but it’s still North Carolina. The Tar Heels have plenty of talent, and they will always be a tough out.

Imagine if the Hokies hit at least eight of those 26 attempts? We are talking about a different outcome today. However, that didn’t happen, and now VT’s NCAA Tournament odds took another hit.

At 16-11, 8-8 in the ACC, the Hokies still have a respectable NET Ranking at No. 41 — two spots ahead of UNC. What hurts the Hokies is the lack of Quad 1 victories. Tech badly needs to defeat Miami next Saturday. The Tar Heels have two Quad 1 wins, while Wake Forest has one Q1 win. Meanwhile, Virginia is ranked No. 80 in the NET Rankings but has three Q1 wins.

For the Hokies, it’s simple, they need to win their final four regular-season games and probably at least one in the ACC Tournament. Is that possible? Absolutely. Is it likely? Not shooting 19% from 3-point range.

Virginia Tech has three road games out of four to finish the season: at Miami, Georgia Tech and Clemson. Tech’s lone remaining home game is against Louisville. Georgia Tech, Clemson and Louisville are a combined 14-33 in ACC play. Miami is 11-5, but the Hokies should’ve defeated the Hurricanes three weeks ago in Blacksburg but the ‘Canes hit an improbable mid-court 3-pointer as time expired.

The Hokies are back in action Wednesday at Georgia Tech.