In six years in the ACC, Virginia Tech fans have yet to fully embrace the ACC
Tournament, one of the crown jewels of college athletics. It’s an exciting,
one-of-a-kind event, but Hokie fans don’t attend in large numbers, and VT has
even had trouble selling their full ticket allotment in some years. The reasons
why are multi-faceted, and boil down to one thing: Tech’s history with
conference tournaments is long and ugly, in many ways.
At other schools that have been in the ACC for decades, tickets to the ACC
Tournament are coveted. Donors who pony up big bucks aren’t even on the
distribution list for tickets, and tickets are often hard to come by, especially
when the tourney is in Greensboro or Charlotte and the North Carolina schools
The ACC Tournament is second to none in college basketball. Long-time ACC
fans love it and look forward to it.
At Virginia Tech, the tournament has received a lukewarm reception from Hokie
fans. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest one is simply
"culture." Attending conference basketball tournaments is not in the
culture of Virginia Tech athletics.
One big reason is the vast wasteland of Hokie basketball from 1986-87 to
2002-03, when Tech registered just five winning records and went to postseason
play just twice. An entire generation of Hokie basketball fans was lost, and
Virginia Tech is still trying to recover.
But with ACC membership and the resurgence under Seth Greenberg, Tech fans
have come back to Cassell Coliseum, so why not the ACC Tournament? Why is the
ACC Tournament still, relatively speaking, no big deal to Hokie fans?
Two primary reasons: (1) Virginia Tech’s revolving-door membership in
multiple conferences in the last 45 years; and (2) Virginia Tech’s poor
performance in conference tournaments in the last 30 years.
Here is Tech’s meaningful conference history in men’s basketball.
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