As Stretch Run Nears, Tourney Talk and RPI Debates Take Center Stage

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20-4, 7-3 in the ACC. Those numbers are certifiably insane. I typed them just
because I like the way they look, and I wanted to fit them into an article.
20-4, 7-3. Good stuff. But despite all the great things this team has
accomplished, tourney talk now takes center stage, and the 2009-10 Hokies will
be judged on what happens over the next four weeks.

As I write this, the Hokies have an RPI of 50, according to
and ESPN’s RPI Insider. More important perhaps than VT’s individual RPI is their
record against the RPI top 50 (1-2), the Top 100 (7-4) and teams outside the Top
100 (13-0). The Hokies have a strength of schedule of 161, out of 347 teams.

Those are the numbers, and they’re already being thrown around as fans and
hoops prognosticators debate whether or not Virginia Tech will make the NCAA

The Hokies will get a boost in strength of schedule over the next few weeks,
as they close out the season with the following teams:

  • Wake Forest (RPI #11)
  • @ Duke (2)
  • @ Boston College (104)
  • Maryland (42)
  • NC State (120)
  • @ Georgia Tech (29)

In addition to improving the SOS, that schedule will give the Hokies four
more shots at RPI Top 50 teams, an important metric for the selection committee.
(Or so they say; my own personal take on the selection committee is that when it
comes to bubble teams, they pull names out of hat and then justify their
selections by whatever metric supports them.)

You can talk all day about what the Hokies need to do to make the tournament,
but one of my weaknesses as a sportswriter is that I don’t like to debate the
future. I like to let it unfold, then sift through the rubble.

We could spend hours and hours debating what the Hokies "need" to
do, but if VT goes 5-1 or 6-0 in those last six games, it will have been wasted
time — they’re in. Likewise, if Tech lays an egg and goes 1-5 or 0-6, they’re
not going to make the tourney, and we would have wasted our time.