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Reassessing Virginia Tech's schedule

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Virginia Tech's schedule has been the source of much conversation. The nonconference portion of the schedule could be historically bad, and its Atlantic Coast Conference schedule is about as easy as it could get.

But as the results start to accumulate at the ACC tournament, there is more reason to discuss the Hokies' schedule. Not all of Virginia Tech's quality wins looking so great in retrospect.

The Hokies picked up three wins against teams in the top 50 of the Rating Percentage Index. Those victories are essentially what will put them in the NCAA tournament, assuming they receive an at-large bid on Selection Sunday. They beat Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.

But none of those teams have been impressive down the stretch, including here at the ACC tournament.

The Hokies needed quality wins, like most teams, to feel comfortable with its NCAA tournament prospects. But those victories were even more important because Virginia Tech's nonconference schedule ranked 339th in the RPI on Thursday morning.

Virginia Tech beat Seton Hall in overtime on Jan. 2 in an impressive performance in Cancun, Mexico, without its leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney, who was out with a sprained ankle. But while the Pirates represent a win over a Big East opponent, they don't seem likely to get an NCAA tournament berth after losing to Notre Dame on Wednesday in their conference tournament.

When Virginia Tech beat Clemson on Feb. 6 and Wake Forest on Feb. 16, both of which were home games for the Hokies. Both of those teams are still in the top 50 of the RPI. But both also lost in the first round of the ACC tournament on Thursday, and neither looked particularly good.

Clemson, the No. 6 seed, fell to 11th-seeded N.C. State. Clemson shot just 39.2 percent from the field to the Wolfpack's 52.3 percent. The Tigers are a talented team led by scary-good forward Trevor Booker, but they are trending the wrong way at the end of the year, having lost each of their last two games heading into the NCAA tournament.

Wake Forest, the No. 5 seed, is in perhaps the worst-looking team of any of the teams that represent quality wins for the Hokies. The Demon Deacons have lost five of their last six games and fell to here to 12th-seeded Miami in the opening round. Coach Dino Gaudio could be feeling the heat unless his team gets a win or two in the NCAA tournament. Wake Forest also has a ton of talent, but it can't seem to get on the same page.

And Georgia Tech has among the most talent in the ACC, but inexplicably, it often doesn't play that way. The Hokies beat the Yellow Jackets in Atlanta on March 6 without their second leading scorer, Dorenzo Hudson, who sat out with a foot injury. Virginia Tech looked good in the win, which probably sealed a berth in the NCAA tournament. Georgia Tech beat North Carolina on Thursday, but before that, it had lost three of its last four games.

With these late-season results, it doesn't reflect well on Virginia Tech. Although the Hokies are still likely in the NCAA tournament, viewing these quality wins with the context of a season changes how they really appear. So that seems like an interesting topic for a question which you can answer below, and feel free to drop any thoughts in the accompanying comments section.

By Mark Viera  |  March 12, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
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