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Virginia Tech's ACC road struggles

It's no secret that it's hard to play on the road in the ACC. But Virginia Tech's 2-5 record away from Blacksburg in conference games could end up hurting it on Selection Sunday.

The Hokies are 6-0 in conference games at Cassell Coliseum and 14-0 overall, but they have yet to prove they can consistently win away from it. The latest evidence came in an ugly 80-60 loss at Boston College on Wednesday night.

"They haven't done anything to any team away from home," Jerry Palm, an independent analyst who runs collegeRPI.com, said Thursday in a telephone interview. "And this game reinforces they're a home-court hero."

Virginia Tech's only ACC road wins are at Virginia on Jan. 28 and North Carolina State on Feb. 10. It picked up a quality out-of-conference win away from Blacksburg when it beat Seton Hall on Jan. 2 in Cancun, Mexico. But other than that, the Hokies have struggled on the road, which could hurt their NCAA tournament chances.

"The tournament is not played at home," Palm said. "It’s better to have good wins at home than nothing at all, but if you don’t really have good wins away from home, that's a negative."

On Wednesday night, Virginia Tech never looked alive in an arena that was similarly lifeless. The announced attendance of 4,632 at Conte Forum was grossly underestimated. Hokies guard Malcolm Delaney said afterward that the team was not ready to go and had a tough time getting amped up in the quiet gym.

Coach Seth Greenberg struck down the idea that the setting would dictate the Hokies' play. "If you need an outside stimulus this time of year then there's a problem," Greenberg said.

Virginia Tech (21-6, 8-5) hosts Maryland (20-7, 10-3) on Saturday before finishing the regular season with games against North Carolina State in Blacksburg on March 3 and at Georgia Tech on March 6.

Palm said Virginia Tech would likely secure a berth if it wins all of those remaining games because winning at Georgia Tech would provide a quality road win. But if they are going to lose a game, Palm said, the Hokies might be better off losing to Maryland and winning at Georgia Tech because it would prove they can win on the road.

Virginia Tech might still need to prove something in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C., where it could have the chance to make a statement about its ability to get quality wins away from Blacksburg.

"If you prove conclusive you can’t win away from home, and you put up a good number in a down league, what have you got?" Palm said. "You get to a point where you have to do something in the conference tournament."

By Mark Viera  |  February 25, 2010; 12:29 PM ET
 
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