Jan. 22, 9:30 a.m.: Virginia Tech has new life.
The Hokies kept the score in the 70s, managed to make 50 percent of its shots against the nation’s second-best field goal percentage defense and left Winston-Salem, N.C., with a 78-71 victory that put the Hokies back in the NCAA tournament mix.
With one win, Virginia Tech rose 11 spots in the RPI to 39th. The Hokies now have a top 50 victory, one that stands as impressive as any victory this season. And Tech improved to 3-1 in the ACC.
Seth Greenberg’s team would be in great shape if not for a series of heartbreaks in non-conference play. Virginia Tech lost four games by a combined eight points. Two of the losses came against teams ranked in the RPI’s top 25 (Xavier and Wisconsin). The Xavier loss was decided on a halfcourt shot at the buzzer. The only loss to a bad team came against Georgia, which is ranked in the 200s of the RPI.
No one needs a reminder of how close the Hokies came to the tournament last season. But if they win nine ACC games this season, a realistic possibility, they should be in better shape after the NCAA tournament selection committee takes a close look at those non-conference games.
Seven ACC teams now are well positioned to earn at-large bids. The landscape will change week to week, if not game to game.
January 22, 2009; 9:28 AM ET
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