Virginia Tech Faces #25 Miami in Important Home Game

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Justin Robinson
Virginia Tech is looking to knock off Miami in Cassell Coliseum for the second year in a row. (Ivan Morozov)

Date: February 27
Time: 9pm
TV: ESPN2

Virginia Tech returns home to Cassell Coliseum tonight to take on the Miami Hurricanes in a big ACC game.  The Hokies and the Hurricanes are both fighting for spots in the NCAA Tournament, as well as seeding for the ACC Tournament.

Here’s Miami’s resume…

Overall: 20-8
ACC: 10-6
RPI: #35
SOS: #46
OOC SOS: #240
vs. Top 50: 4-7
vs. 51-100: 4-1
Losses outside the Top 100: 0

Here’s Virginia Tech’s…

Overall: 20-8
ACC: 9-7
RPI: #39
SOS: #66
OOC SOS: #285
vs. Top 50: 3-6
vs. 51-100: 8-1
Losses outside the Top 100: 1

(Note: Those numbers are per this link, which goes to a tool that allows you to compare the resumes of any two teams in the country.  It’s very useful this time of year.)

Those resumes are pretty even.  Miami has one more Top 50 win and they don’t have a loss outside the top 100, but the Hokies have more Top 100 wins.  In the 98 brackets currently listed on The Bracket Matrix, Miami’s average seed is 7.94, and Virginia Tech’s is 8.49.  In other words, their current projected seeding is every bit as close as their resumes.

As far as the ACC Tournament goes, Miami is currently the #6 seed in the ACC Tournament, while the Hokies are the #7 seed.  With two wins this week, the Hokies could still potentially earn the #5 seed in Brooklyn, and the ‘Canes are just one game behind the trio of Florida State, Louisville and Notre Dame, who are all tied with an 11-5 record.  Miami is also tied with Duke at 10-6.  In other words, just two games separate #7 Virginia Tech and #2 FSU/Louisville/Notre Dame, so tonight’s game has a potential impact on conference tournament seeding.

Miami defeated Virginia Tech 74-68 in Coral Gables back on February 8.  The Hokies were an uncharacteristic 4-of-13 (30.8%) from three-point range during that game.  They’ve been much hotter over their last three contests.  Take a look at these overall shooting numbers…

at Louisville: 29-of-49 (59.2%) FG, 17-of-26 (65.4%) 3-Pt., 15-of-19 (78.9%) FT
vs. Clemson: 26-of-53 (49.1%) FG, 12-of-22 (54.5%) 3-Pt., 7-of-8 (87.5%) FT
at BC: 31-of-46 (67.4%) FG, 12-of-18 (66.7%) 3-Pt., 17-of-20 (80%) FT
Total: 86-of-148 (58.1%) FG, 41-of-66 (62.1%) 3-Pt., 39-of-47 (83%) FT

That recent history suggests that the Hokies are going to do a lot better than 4-of-13 against Miami tonight.  That being said, the Canes are a very good team that is coming off back-to-back victories over UVA and Duke.  They also have a victory over UNC back on January 28.

Miami is 4-4 on the road this season.  Their victories came over UVA, Pitt, NC State and North Florida.  Of those four teams, only Pitt and UVA are in the Top 100, and only UVA is in the Top 50.  Virginia Tech is 14-1 in Cassell Coliseum this season, with their lone loss coming at the hands of Notre Dame, a definite NCAA Tournament team, back on January 14.

Top 50 wins are very important for a team’s NCAA Tournament resume.  On Selection Sunday back in 2011, Virginia Tech had just one Top 50 win, and that’s ultimately why they were left out of the NCAA Tournament.  Ironically, a VT win in the ACC Tournament knocked Florida State out of the Top 50.  Tech had beaten FSU in the regular season as well, so by beating the ‘Noles in the ACC Tournament, the Hokies cost themselves a Top 50 win.  With only one Top 50 win and an RPI ranking outside the Top 60 (#61), in hindsight it is easy to see why the Hokies were not selected.

This year, the Hokies already have three Top 50 wins, and a fourth and/or a fifth against either Miami or Wake Forest (or both) would go a long way in locking up an NCAA Tournament berth.  However, if Tech drops their final two regular season games and their first game of the ACC Tournament, things could get murky.  That’s why tonight’s game, as well as Saturday’s against Wake Forest, is very important.

This will be Virginia Tech’s third quick turnaround game of the season, and ironically the first two games went the opposite of the way that most quick turnaround games go.  Notre Dame won on a Saturday in Blacksburg just two days after playing on Thursday night, while the Hokies won at Pitt just two days after beating UVA in a double overtime game.  Normally the home team has the advantage in such games, but that hasn’t been the case in VT games this year.

Virginia Tech also had travel issues after the Boston College game.  Rather than flying back to Roanoke immediately after the game, they were forced to spend the night in Boston before flying out on a Dale Earnhardt, INC plane early Sunday afternoon.  Miami played at home on Saturday at the same time as Virginia Tech, so neither team will have any time to prepare for tonight’s contest.

Other Game Notes

  • Miami checked into the rankings this morning at #25 in the AP Poll.
  • Miami has won seven of the last eight meetings at Virginia Tech.  The lone loss came last year in Cassell Coliseum when the ‘Canes were ranked #7 in the country.
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3 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Not to nitpick, but this stat line has been in at least 3 recent articles:
    “… at BC: 31-of-46 (67.4%) FG, 12-of-18 (66.7%) 3-Pt., 17-of-20 (80%) FT”

    Isn’t 17-of-20 actually 85%?

  2. Sooo we’ve won 4 of the last 5 in the ACC, 2 Ws on the road, one home W over a ranked “lock”, a close loss @ a potential 1 seed, became 20-game winners who have clinched .500 regular season in conference, and somehow have moved down from an 8 to 10 seed and are now in the last four byes according to Mr. Lunardi. Just thinking out loud, as I thought 9-9 ACC would lock it after avoiding our last potential “bad loss” @ BC, but it definitely appears that we really need another W to feel comfortable… Go Hokies!!

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