Georgia Tech all but insured itself a berth in the NCAA Tournament today with a win against a Clemson team that is playing some great basketball as of late. The Yellow Jackets pulled away at the end of a tight ball game to win by 8.
In Blacksburg, Maryland lost a key match-up to Virginia Tech and weakened their resume for the big dance.
Had the Hokies not dropped a heartbreaker earlier in the week to the aforementioned Clemson Tigers, we would be writing today about how VPI was probably assured of an NCAA Tournament berth. Instead, the Hokie-Terrapin result muddies the waters for the Selection Committee, and maybe for NC State.
Virginia Tech finishes 8-8 in the ACC and Maryland ends the year at 7-9.
Related to VPI…nine ACC teams have finished 8-8 in conference play since 1992, . Seven have received NCAA bids; only Virginia in 1992 and Georgia Tech in 1995 were left out of the dance. Virginia Tech runs the risk of becoming the third based on some of the following factors:
– An overall record of 15-12.
– RPI of approximately #115 is horrible and would easily represent the worst RPI in the entire pool of at-large teams in the Tournament.
– VPI played an embarassing out of Conference schedule that ranked #303 in the country in terms of schedule strength.
– 2-5 vs the Top 50 in the RPI.
IMHO, VPI still needs to win at least one ACC Tournament game to earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
Related to Maryland…11 teams in the ACC have advanced to the NCAA Tournament with a sub-.500 record in the conference in the past.
Impact on the Pack
The Hokies win today has a negative connotations on NC State’s chances to secure an at-large Tournament because it dilutes the strength of NC State’s resume. VPI’s defeat of Maryland definitely puts the Terps NCAA hopes in jeopardy thereby hurting NC State because the Terps are one of only two NCAA Tournament teams that the Pack has defeated this year.
Many NC State fans will begin clamoring for the Wolfpack’s inclusion in the NCAA before Maryland based solely on conference record. If State loses tomorrow to Wake Forest, the battle cry will be that both are 7-9 in the ACC and the Wolfpack swept the season series with Maryland.
That sounds good…but, a more complete comparison of the results of State vs Maryland may create a different conclusion.
Based on today’s results:
– NC State will play Virginia Tech in the 4 vs 5 game on Friday with a win against Wake Forest on Sunday
– NC State will play Florida State or Virginia in the 7 vs 10 game on Thursday with a loss to Wake on Sunday.
At first blush, it is my opinion that a loss against the Deacons and a win on Thursday night would NOT secure and at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament for NC State. The Pack would need a win against the #2 seed on Friday – either Carolina or Wake Forest.
In short, the Pack can make life significantly better by taking care of businwss on Sunday against Wake. A loss on Sunday and any hopes of an NCAA Tournament appearance will be extremely remote.