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Virginia Tech angling for bye in ACC tournament

Virginia Tech might still need to do some work to get into the NCAA tournament. And one important proving ground could be the ACC tournament, where the Hokies could have the chance to secure some needed quality wins away from Blacksburg.

In its three remaining regular season games, Virginia Tech will be playing for position in the conference tournament bracket. The top four seeds of the conference's 12 teams get byes in the first round.

The Hokies are in position to get a first-round bye, but they will especially be monitoring how both Florida State and Wake Forest finish down the stretch. The three teams are currently tied for third in the ACC standings with 8-5 conference records.

The Seminoles' remaining regular season games are against Clemson on Sunday, Wake Forest on Wednesday and at Miami on March 6. They hold a tiebreaker over Virginia Tech, having beating the Hokies on Jan. 16 in Tallahassee, if the teams should finish with identical conference records.

The Demon Deacons still have to play North Carolina on Saturday, at Florida State on March 3 and Clemson on March 7. Virginia Tech defeated Wake Forest on Feb. 16, so it holds a tiebreaker over the Demon Deacons for placement in the ACC tournament bracket.

And Clemson, which is currently 7-6 in the ACC, could also shake up the conference's top four teams because it plays both Florida State and Wake Forest. With wins over one or both of them, the Tigers would be in the mix for a first-round bye in the conference tournament. But it won't be easy for them to go on the road and steal wins at those places.

With a poor finish down the stretch, the Hokies could end up out of the upper echelon and be forced to play a first-round game, and then it will need to win some games in the ACC tournament in order to continue playing meaningful basketball in March. But a strong finish in the regular season would not only give Virginia Tech a first-round bye in its conference tournament, but it could secure it an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.

By Mark Viera  |  February 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
 
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