I understand that the selection process for the NCAA is very tedious and intricate, but now I’m getting the feeling it’s a tad malicious. The Hokies of Virginia Tech may have had a weak schedule this past basketball season, but they certainly took care of business when they needed to.
Seth Greenberg’s squad thought coming into Selection Sunday that their name was going to be called as a nine-seed in the West bracket. Still not being invited to the Big Dance, it would be the seven-seed in the East that would leave the Hokies to prepare for a strong Missouri Tigers’ team. When that didn’t happen they were expecting their school’s name to be called as a weaker eight-seed in the East.
It was a phone call from the National Invitational Tournament that painted the picture for the Hokies’ March. On Sunday night, a very disappointed Seth Greenberg spoke to Andy Katz of ESPN about his frustration of his team not making the tournament. In addition, he showed compassion for his young men that worked so hard all year.
Let’s take a look at why Virginia Tech didn’t make the tournament:
When it comes time to be compared to others, a team’s strength-of-schedule better be a little stronger than 339. And by a little, I mean a lot stronger. Such loses to the Boston College Golden Eagles, the Miami Hurricanes twice and the University of North Carolina don’t help your chances of making the elite field of 65 either. However, this was the perfect way to land a number-one seed and host a tier of the NIT.
Now after the following factors, try and venture a guess as to how the Hokies won’t be around this March:
If a team finishes the season 23-8 overall and third in the ACC, they should be in the tournament. With a 10-6 in-conference record, the Hokies were ahead of such bubble teams like the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles. It’s then strange to discover that all four of those teams I just mentioned are playing for a national championship this March and Virginia Tech is not. Let’s take a look at something other than records. Virginia Tech beat Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Clemson head-to-head and still were overlooked on Selection Sunday.
On a more positive note, the Hokies host their tier of the NIT and have a first round match-up against the Quinnipiac Bobcats this Wednesday, March 17th, at 7 p.m. at the Cassell Colosseum. Also In this group of eight teams are the Connecticut Huskies and the Rhode Island Rams. If Virginia Tech can get passed their opening round game, they will certainly have their hands full the rest of the way to become NIT champions.
I hate going back to it, but I have to ask again. How does a team finish third in the ACC, beat the fourth, fifth, and sixth placed teams in their conference, have a better overall record than those teams and still not make the tournament when these others teams did?
Like the amounts of licks to the center of a Tootsie-Pop, I guess the world may never know.