Black Saturday

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Saturday was a bad day for Virginia Tech. As the Hokies sat in Blacksburg and watched on their televisions, many a bubble team pulled off upsets in their conference tournaments, and while things looked good for Tech on Saturday morning, 24 hours later things are iffy to say the least.

Time to take a quick look at yesterday’s action and see how it impacted Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, it was almost all negative.

First, let’s look at the Big Ten, where the Hokies got mixed results. Illinois, another bubble team, led most of the way against #7 Ohio State before a furious Buckeye rally won the game 88-81 in double overtime. Illinois would have certainly been in with the win over Ohio State, but now things are very questionable.

Illinois went 19-14, with a 10-8 record in the Big Ten. Their RPI is #74, their strength of schedule is #35, and they went 5-8 against top 50 teams, with four bad losses on the season. Though their schedule was tough, the Illini didn’t get to 20 wins, their RPI is low, and they have four losses to teams ranked outside the top 100. Illinois is probably on the wrong side of the bubble right now, but they are still a contender.

The other Big Ten semifinal did not go Tech’s way. Bubble team Minnesota flattened #5 Purdue 69-42. The Boilermakers only had 11 points at halftime. The Golden Gophers looked done a week ago, but they might have played their way in. A win in today’s Big Ten championship would automatically get them in, and it would give Ohio State an at-large berth. That would seriously hurt the Hokies.

Would Minnesota make it in with a loss? Here are their numbers: 21-12 overall, 9-9 in the Big Ten, #60 in the RPI, #44 SOS, 5-6 vs. the top 50, with four bad losses. One of their bad losses came to a team ranked outside the top 200, the Indiana Hoosiers. Thanks to their play in the Big Ten tournament, Minnesota is probably amongst the last two or three teams in at this point. A loss in the finals to Ohio State could hurt them, so root for the Buckeyes (that game should end around 5:30 pm this afternoon.).

In the Atlantic 10, Rhode Island was another bubble team, and they were defeated in the semifinals 57-44 by Temple. That loss will likely push the Rams to the wrong side of the bubble. They went 23-9 overall, and 9-7 in the A-10. Their RPI is a solid 40, but their SOS is only #79. They have just one win over a top 50 team, with two bad losses on the year. It would be tough to put the Rams in at this point.

The Conference USA final was not kind to the Hokies. Houston, who is just 19-15 and not even in the top 100 of the RPI, upset #21 UTEP to earn