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A closer look at Virginia Tech's résumé

Virginia Tech was left out of the 2010 NCAA tournament thanks largely to its weak strength of schedule, particularly in nonconference games. But the Hokies' push for an at-large bid went down to Selection Sunday.

Virginia Tech was left out in favor of bubble-sitting teams like Texas-El Paso, Utah State, Minnesota and Florida. As it might be expected, the Hokies' résumé stacks up with the bubble teams in certain areas, and does not compare favorably in other spots.

Here's a closer look at the numbers:

UTEP, for example, has a much better nonconference strength of schedule. The Hokies schedule ranked 339th in the Ratings Percentage Index, while UTEP's was 173rd. While UTEP only had two RPI top-50 wins, it's RPI of 38 was better than Virginia Tech's 59.

Utah State also had a much better strength of schedule, ranking 97th. The Hokies had three to four bad losses -- depending on whether you count a loss at North Carolina as a bad loss -- but Utah State only had two unsightly losses, both of which were on the road.

Minnesota had five wins against RPI top-30 teams, which is an impressive bullet point on a résumé. Virginia Tech didn't have one win against a team in the RPI top 30. The Golden Gophers, while they did have four ugly losses, also had a nonconference strength of schedule that ranked 76th.

Florida had perhaps the least impressive record of the bubble teams to receive entry, and the Gators got a No. 10 seed. Florida was 3-8 against the RPI top 50, compared to the Hokies' 3-4 record against such teams. It was also 7-10 against the RPI top 100, compared to the Hokies' 8-7 mark. The Gators did have a better nonconfernece schedule, ranking 116th.

What's the common thread? Nonconference strength of schedule.

Hokies' conspiracy theorists have trotted out ideas about why a team that won 23 games, including 10 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, was left out of the NCAA tournament. They have speculated about all sorts of biases.

But it's clear that this year's selection committee put a premium on teams' nonconference schedules when splitting hairs in determining the final teams in the field of 65. It could be argued that Virginia Tech had a better profile in certain areas than the teams that received bids, except for nonconfernece schedule. Florida, for example, had perhaps the weakest credentials of the bubble teams to receive entry, but the Hokies' résumé compared favorably in many areas except for the nonconfernece schedule. That is why the Gators received a bid over the Hokies.

The numbers don't lie: Virginia Tech's dreadful nonconfernece schedule paled when compared to the other teams in the in-or-out conversation. And that unsightly nonconference schedule ended up being the sticking point that left the Hokies out of the Big Dance for a third straight season.

By Mark Viera  |  March 15, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
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