And now you see the danger is anointing Virginia Tech a tournament team after their victory over Duke.
On Tuesday night, the Hokies apparently forgot they had a basketball game. At home, on their senior night, with everything on the line, Virginia Tech watched Boston College come in Cassell Coliseum and jump out to leads of 17-6 and 27-10. And that was it. Virginia Tech got the lead down to five twice in the first five minutes of the second half, but a 14-2 run midway through put the Eagles back up 18 points. They would cruise to a 76-61 win.
It was an embarrassing performance by Virginia Tech.
And it put them in a really, really bad spot in their pursuit of an NCAA Tournament bid. To be fair, this was a pretty bold statement made by Boston College tonight. Dominating a fellow bubble dweller — on the road no less — for 40 minutes is about as impressive as wins gets. Legitimate question: is this win by Boston College more impressive than Virginia Tech’s home win over BC?
The Hokies are now in the mid-50’s in the RPI. Outside of Duke, their best wins are … Oklahoma State? Penn State? Florida State? Maryland? That’s not exactly a murderer’s row.
In any other year, this loss would knock Tech off the bubble. This year? They are just keeping pace with the pack. With the exception of Boston College, the three other bubble teams that absolutely could not afford to lose ending up losing. Penn State was smoked by Ohio State and the hot hand from Jon Diebler. Baylor lost yet another game on the road, this time to Oklahoma State. And Alabama did their best to turn a hard-fought game into a blowout, taking a 27 point loss to Florida despite being tied at the half.
What’s worse is that none of these teams have killed their chances at dancing this season with the losses. Relatively speaking, they are still in contention. Why? Because no one is winning games! No one is playing their way into the tournament. For every Kansas State there are three Michigan States. For every St. John’s, there are a handful of Illinois’s and Tennessees.
That is precisely why teams like Dayton and Memphis and UAB still have a chance to be handed an at-large bid.
Because no one is making a statement.
Aren’t you glad we didn’t go to 96 teams?
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.