Virginia Tech’s Path to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament

Author: @HokieGuru

Our resident Virginia Tech Hokie expert @HokieGuru is back providing his insight into one of the Hokie’s athletic teams. It seems each year the Hokies are Selection Sunday’s most snake bit team team. This season the Hokies are hoping to avoid the dreaded bubble and @HokieGuru lets us know what Virginia Tech needs to do to get into the Big Dance. Enjoy!

Good evening, Virginia Tech Hokies fans.  I’m sure we’re all getting fired up for the Sugar Bowl (and we need to win that big game vs. Michigan), but y’all need to know that Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) men’s basketball is right around the corner.  Many of us hardcore Hokies (and ACC) men’s basketball fans know that Virginia Tech has been on the bubble four consecutive years in a row (and hasn’t made the NCAA tournament). Hokies need to change this pronto!!!

So, we fast forward to this year, 2011-2012, and it’s déjà vu (stop me if you’ve seen this movie before); Virginia Tech is 10-3 right now with two top 100 RPI wins (vs. St. Bonaventure and Norfolk State.  Norfolk State will drop out of the top 100 later in the year).  Let’s start out with a few key stats:

  • The Hokies are #1 in the nation in three-point field goal defense… #1!!!!!  That is going to help us this year in the ACC.
  • The Hokies are #32 in the nation at shooting the three… I did not see this coming.
  • The Hokies are #42 in the nation at the free throw line… this means we are getting to the line.
  • The Hokies are 140th in the nation in rebounding margin… we must get this fixed in ACC play or it will hurt us.
  • The Hokies are 235th in the nation in steals… we have to create more turnovers.
  • The Hokies are 214th in the in turnover margin… the ratio is at 0.6.  While this is to be expected because we have a young team, we must improve this ratio the 2nd half of the year.

And the Hokies are on the bubble yet again.  Here is the remainder of our men’s basketball schedule:

  • 12/31/2011 – At Oklahoma State[1]
  • 1/7/2012 – At Wake Forest
  • 1/10/2012 – Florida State
  • 1/14/2012 – At Boston College
  • 1/19/2012 – North Carolina
  • 1/22/2012 – At Virginia
  • 1/25/2012 – Brigham Young University[2]
  • 1/28/2012 – At Maryland
  • 2/2/2012 – Duke
  • 2/4/2012 – Clemson
  • 2/9/2012 – At Miami
  • 2/12/2012 – Boston College
  • 2/16/2012 – At Florida State
  • 2/18/2012 – Georgia Tech
  • 2/21/2012 – Virginia
  • 2/25/2012 – At Duke
  • 3/1/2012 – At Clemson
  • 3/4/2012 – NC State

As we get close to ACC season, here’s what I think we need to do in our next 18 games to boost our NCAA tournament resume:

  • The Hokies need to win their next four games vs. Oklahoma State (road), Wake Forest (road), Florida State (home), and Boston College (road).  It is imperative that we win our next four games.  And that will be HARD to do the young team that we have.  Recall that we have two seniors starting for this team in Dorenzo Hudson and Victor Davila.
  • The Hokies need to win their non-conference game vs. Brigham Young University.
  • The Hokies minimally need to go 10-6 in the ACC.  This includes home wins vs. Florida State, Duke (or North Carolina), Clemson, Boston College, Georgia Tech, Virginia, and North Carolina State.  It also includes road wins at Boston College and Wake Forest (as I said above) and a win at Maryland.
  • We absolutely must sweep Boston College.  We cannot get swept by Virginia or Clemson (at a minimum, we must split those games).  We must defeat Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.  We must win the games that we are supposed to win.

 As many Hokies know, a 10-6 ACC record does not automatically get you a bid to the NCAA tournament (good heavens, we have experience with that).  The formula I proposed above only gets you consideration from the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament Committee (that’s why I said minimally above).  The Hokies would finish the season with a 22-9 record under the formula I proposed above.  The Hokies would be one of the last teams in the tournament with that record… or would miss it.

Therefore, I believe that we need to be 11-5 in conference play (a 10-6 ACC record and 3 ACC tournament wins would also get us into the tournament, but I think it will be near impossible for us to reach the tourney final).  We have to steal a game on the road – one that might be a likely loss.  We have three opportunities for that, including the 2/9/2012 game at Miami, the 2/16/2012 game at Florida State, and the 3/1/2012 game at Clemson (in particular, both of the Florida ACC teams’ guard play isn’t as effective as that of the Hokies).  Win one of these games and the Hokies are a lock for the NCAA tournament at 23-8.

Are you ready for some ACC basketball?  Stay tuned in January 2012, but first, the Hokies need to beat Oklahoma State (the game is on 12/31/2011 at 12 PM EST on ESPN2).

[1] Non-conference game

[2] Non-conference game

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