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Courside in Blacksburg at the NIT

Welcome to the National Invitation Tournament.

Tip-off of Virginia Tech's first-round game against Quinnipiac is about 10 minutes away. Cassell Coliseum is about half full and no beat reporters who cover the Bobcats, making their first post-season appearance (they joined division I in 1998-99), are listed on the press-row seating chart.

Okay, so it's not the NCAAs.

Regardless, there is basketball to play. The Hokies (23-8) will face a Quinnipiac (23-9) team that plays a gritty, tough style. Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg might say the Bobcats play with a "city game."

A main focus for the Hokies will be limiting 6-foot-7 forward Justin Rutty. Of Virginia Tech's regular-season opponents, Rutty probably most resembles Clemson's Trevor Booker. He's big and physical on the blocks. The Hokies can't let him post-up deep and need to box him out.

The winner of this game will face Connecticut, which defeated Northeastern on Tuesday night, in a second-round match up.

By Mark Viera  |  March 17, 2010; 6:54 PM ET
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