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Virginia Tech not discussing NCAA tournament

Before the season started, Virginia Tech's players talked openly about their goal of making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. But with March approaching, some Hokies players and Coach Seth Greenberg have said their focus has narrowed.

Virginia Tech (20-4, 7-3 ACC) is facing a critical stretch in its push to make the Big Dance. The Hokies, who are in need of quality wins to get a shot at a bid for to NCAA tournament, host No. 23 Wake Forest (18-5, 8-3) on Tuesday before playing at No. 6 Duke (21-4, 9-2) on Sunday night.

"I think this next 24 hours is pretty important," Greenberg said Monday night. "Tomorrow from 7-9 is important."

Asked if it has been tough to escape the talk on television about his team's resume, Greenberg said: "Who turns on ESPN? I’m watching DVDs” of opponents.

Virginia Tech is No. 52 in the current Rating Percentage Index, and four of its six remaining games are against teams in the RPI top 50; victories in those games always represent important milestones. The Hokies will likely need a win or two against those top teams in order to get into the NCAA tournament because their nonconference schedule ranks a dismal 340th nationally.

"We’ve got a pretty decent amount of hay in the barn," Greenberg noted, accentuating a positive for the Hokies in reference to the amount of wins they have accumulated so far. "I’d rather have 20 wins than 14.”

Virginia Tech was ranked 27th in the Associated Press poll release on Monday and has built its best record since the 1995-96 season, when it also started 20-4. It's also the best start for the Hokies in Greenberg's seven-year tenure in Blacksburg.

There are plenty of Hokies fans who have turned into amateur bracketologists as they try to figure out where Virginia Tech may end up. But for now, the players and coach have deflected talk about the NCAA tournament.

"We’re looking at winning the ACC," guard Malcolm Delaney said recently of the team's goals. "The NCAA will follow behind that. It will take care of itself."

By Mark Viera  |  February 16, 2010; 2:00 PM ET
 
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