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What does Hokies' loss to Duke mean?

In its final five games of the season, Virginia Tech will be the center of attention as a bubble team in the hunt for an at-large NCAA tournament bid. So, after each game, it's fair to look at how the outcome will affect the Hokies.

Virginia Tech's 67-55 loss at No. 6 Duke on Sunday will not hurt it in its push to play in the NCAA tournament. Only a win could help the Hokies, so they were basically playing with house money in Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Virginia Tech's nonconference schedule ranked 337st in the Ratings Percentage Index on Sunday night after the game. In order to overcome that, the Hokies basically need to win out at home and take care of business at Boston College on Wednesday, according to Jerry Palm of Their remaining home games are against Maryland on Feb. 27 and North Carolina State on March 3.

A win at either Duke or Georgia Tech on March 6 would have been gravy, but not necessary. But Duke, it should be noted, is undefeated at home (15-0) and had an average scoring margin of plus-19.2 in conference games entering the game.

But while Virginia Tech is still very much in the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth, it does not have control of its own destiny in the Atlantic Coast Conference. With a win over Duke, the Hokies (21-5, 8-4) would have been in the mix to win the conference in the regular season. That seems like a long shot now, with Virginia Tech having only four games remaining.

Duke (23-4, 11-2) is firmly in the driver's seat in the ACC and it finishes its conference schedule at Virginia on Feb. 28, at Maryland on March 3 and against North Carolina on March 6.

By Mark Viera  |  February 22, 2010; 10:00 AM ET
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Jerry Palm is an idiot. Just a few days ago he said, with a straight face, that VT would need to go "11-5 at the minimum in the ACC" to get an NCAA bid. This is lunacy. Any team that finished at 24-6 overall and at 11-5 in the ACC would not only be in the tournament, they'd probably be no worse than a 6th seed.

The loss at Duke does absolutely nothing to diminish VT's NCAA chances. In fact, the tournament selection committee will probably take not of how VT played Duke tougher in Cameron than any other team has in year long, by far. VT's RPI remains in the low 40's despite the loss. All VT needs to do is get to 23 wins. If they do that, they're in.

Posted by: danram | February 22, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

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