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Posted at 1:07 PM ET, 02/28/2011

Even after Duke win, Greenberg realizes Virginia Tech still has work to do

By Mark Giannotto

He may know better at this point, but Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg couldn't hide his smile as ESPN announcer Dick Vitale began ranting during a postgame interview that there was no longer any doubt about the Hokies' NCAA tournament chances, that "You're in, baby!"

And in the immediate aftermath of Virginia Tech's stirring upset of then-No.1 Duke Saturday night, Vitale's view seemed to be the prevailing opinion. Beating the Blue Devils was the signature win the Hokies needed to put them over the top for the at-large berth that had eluded them the past three seasons.

Now that the excitement has subsided a bit, though, any declaration of what may happen to Virginia Tech on Selection Sunday is a tad premature. With its latest victory, the Hokies moved up to No. 53 in the RPI and its strength of schedule is now ranked 89th in the country. And as of Monday, the Hokies also have two wins over the RPI top 50 since Florida State moved back into the top 50 with a victory over Miami this past weekend.

But as The Post's resident bracketologist, Eric Prisbell, wrote this morning about the Hokies tournament chances, "They finish the regular season with games against two bubble teams. Tech needs one of those two games."

During Monday's ACC teleconference, Greenberg seemed well aware of this fact, emphasizing that, "there’s a lot of basketball to be played."

"Our goal wasn’t to beat Duke, it was to make the NCAA tournament, and to make the NCAA tournament, we’ve got to continue to play well," Greenberg said. "That’s our main focus, to continue to play well and play hard."

My personal belief is that Virginia Tech remains one win away from truly feeling comfortable about its tournament hopes. Whether it comes Tuesday on senior night against Boston College, on the road at Clemson to close the regular season or in the ACC tournament, shouldn't matter. Although if the Hokies don't earn a bye in the first round of the ACC tournament -- which would likely mean they lost to the Eagles and Tigers to finish the year -- a win over a team like Wake Forest or Georgia Tech may not be enough.

Greenberg was very emotional after Saturday's win, especially when talking about his seniors and how his eldest daughter, Paige, flew in from Orlando so the whole family could share the moment together.

But in terms of celebrating, the coach certainly was not one of the thousands of revelers in downtown Blacksburg Saturday night. He simply went home, sipped on a glass of red wine and talked about the evening's events with his wife and three children. "Nothing out of the ordinary, quite honestly," Greenberg said. "It was a long day."

"Obviously we’re excited about what we were able to accomplish this weekend, but right now, we have our feet planted firmly in the present," he added. "That’s the most important thing, that we validate our play this past weekend against a very good Boston College team."

By Mark Giannotto  | February 28, 2011; 1:07 PM ET
 
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Comments

First, Stop using those ESPN talking head terms like "signature win","one win away", "need to win one in their tournament", "need to go deep in their tournament", and any reference to "RPI". They are all designed to "entertain" audiences and make money. The VT win over Duke was a nice win that has capped a good season. Currently 4th in ACC, 9-5 in conference, 19-8 overall. Even with all the ACC bashing this year the conference is still third or fourth in most rankings out of 32 basketball conferences plus eight or so independent teams. They should be a lock, NOW. For al you RPI talkers, do you really even know how it is calculated? It depends more on wins from the teams you beat and wins of who they beat, then your ow teams wins. For example VT moved up 15 spots right after the Duke game to 48. One game! The droppedto 51 by the next morning, and to 54 the next day. Bottom line, first go to wins and losses, if in a major conference you can usually stop there. The whole RPI, good win, bad loss should be reserved for true bubble teams. You know teams from no name conferences or 7th place big time conference teams. Look behind te curtain! Take George Mason, if you put them in the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, do they have a 15 game winning streak? I think not. Good team, good coach, but.....Anyway, go pick on another school, HOKIES ARE IN!

Posted by: clubberj | February 28, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

"A lock" you say? Maybe a lock for the NIT, but not for the NCAA

Posted by: JEGman | March 1, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

This would have been a good win for the Hokies, but not necessary for the tournament.

If I had to pick between beating Duke (while rated #1) and Boston College, I'd pick Duke.

Posted by: Benson | March 2, 2011 12:34 AM | Report abuse

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