Virginia Tech isn’t going to the NCAA Tournament this year. That doesn’t mean they can’t accomplish another goal: sweeping UVA.
For all the close losses the Hokies have had this year, they have also had some very tight wins. None of them were bigger than the 47-45 victory in Charlottesville back on January 22, when the Hokies were 0-4 in the ACC, and the Hoos looked like one of the best teams in the league. For that one short moment, we could all forget about what a disappointing year it had been up to that point, and just bask in the glory of an upset win over the in-state rivals.
Despite Virginia’s advantage in basketball history and tradition, this rivalry has been dead even since ACC expansion. The teams have gone 8-8 against each other (including an ACC Tournament win by UVA), and the Hokies have narrowly outscored the Hoos 1,037 to 1,029. It doesn’t get much closer than that.
Recently, homecourt advantage hasn’t meant much either. Virginia Tech has won three of their four games in the John Paul Jones Arena. That includes two overtime victories, as well as last month’s 47-45 upset. UVA has also won twice in Blacksburg since ACC expansion, and they also beat Tech on a neutral court in Greensboro. Overall, Tech has gotten the best of the series recently, winning six of the last nine games.
There’s a lot to be proud of what Virginia Tech has been able to accomplish against the Hoos on the hardwood since joining the ACC. The Hokies already had the superior football program, but for the most part they have had the better basketball program since expansion as well.
That hasn’t been the case this year, however. Virginia Tech is very much on the NIT bubble, whereas the Hoos are probably on the right side of the NCAA Tournament bubble at this point. Both teams have had trouble with injuries, but UVA has more experience and a very difficult packline defense to deal with. They are a good team, but they’ve still got a little work to do from a resume standpoint.
I want the Hokies to win tonight more than any game this season, for multiple reasons.
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