Sunday, March 16, 2008

Uninvited

I feel your pain.

Pop.

Tech had its bubble burst by the NCAA Selection Committee Sunday, relegating the Hokies to the NIT (which might as well stand for Not Invited Tournament). Tech is the No. 1 seed in their region of the NIT and will face Morgan State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Blacksburg. The winner of that game will face the winner of VCU and UAB. That game also takes place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Richmond. Tech will not have to leave Cassell Coliseum on its road to New York.

Before the venting, let's take an opportunity to step back and consider the season and the job Coach Greenberg and the rest of the staff did this season. The Hokies were picked to finish 10th in the ACC in the preseason. And early on, that appeared to be spot-on. My first Virginia Tech basketball game was the season opener against Elon and the Hokies looked awful. Their half-court offense was pathetic. AD Vassallo was lazy without the ball and was therefore useless.

The one bright spot was Jeff Allen. Against Elon, he showed that he was capable into turning into a stud. He did that over the course of the season. Another freshman, Malcolm Delaney, slowly developed into a solid point guard. Early on, it appeared Hank Thorns was the man tabbed to be the point of the future, but I felt he struggled. Delaney became the point and Thorns became a good sixth man.

A team that looked like it was on its way to an abysmal season that may have led to no postseason was probably the last team out of the NCAA Tournament. Coach Greenberg was playing with house money this year. Nothing was expected of this team and he turned them into a team that went blow for blow with the best team in the country in the ACC Tournament.

It doesn't make it less disappointing that we didn't get in, though. First, the buzzer-beater loss to UNC, then Georgia's miracle run through the SEC Tournament likely moved the Hokies out of the field and into the NIT.

[rant]

It shouldn't have come to that, though. The Hokies should have closed the deal against Clemson and UNC and taken it out of the hands of the committee. But two come-from-ahead losses put them out of the Big Dance. Tech didn't have a signature win and didn't play anyone good in the non-conference schedule. The Hokies lost to Butler and Gonzaga in Alaska, but other than that didn't face anyone sexy. Villanova and Arizona did, putting them in The Tournament. But there are several reasons the Hokies should have made it. They played in the best league in the country, a league that got only three at-large teams in The Tournament.

The Big 12 was horrible beyond horrible this year and got five at-large teams in. Baylor and Texas A&M? Please. The SEC was weak and yet they got four at-large bids. Don't get me started on Kentucky. What a horrible, horrible team. All of their quality wins came in conference. They sported the same resume Tech did. Bad non-conference losses, young team that gelled late, got blown out by 41 points on the road. It's a travesty they're in the field.

Then there's the Big East. Yeah, its good, but its not that good. Half the damn teams got in, including boringly average Villanova. Like Tech, they lost to NC State, who might have been the worst team I saw all season. They also lost at Rutgers, Cincinnati and DePaul. That's terrible. Their big non-conference win was over George Mason. Their wins over UConn and Pitt got them in.

And the Pac 10? What a joke. Other than Luc-Richard Mbah a Moute and the Lopez brothers, its not a great league. Kevin Love doesn't impress me. Mayo is a good player, but USC is mediocre. Then there's Oregon, Arizona and Arizona State. Lame, lamer, lamest. Oregon won on the road against K-State (yawn) and that probably got them in. Arizona beat Texas A&M at home (yawn), which probably got them in. But they went 8-10 in the regular season against the Pac 10 and lost in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament.

Oh, and the A10 got three teams in.

The Hokies won 10 games against ACC foes, including one in the ACC Tournament against an NCAA Tournament team. Put them in the field.

[/rant]

The good news is two-fold. First, Tech has another game to play. I didn't expect them to make the postseason this year, so bring on the NIT. Also, the future looks bright for a team that has had a top four finish in the best league in America three of the last four seasons.

Allen and Delaney will be great players. Vassallo turned into a leader late in the season and showed a fire I wasn't used to seeing from him. He has completely changed my perception of him in the last month.

The key will be finding players that can fill the role of stopper on defense and slashing, athletic playmaker on offense that will be left vacant by the loss of Deron. Hopefully that will be Terrell Bell, who has been touted for his defense and has the lanky Deron body type.

I've been a basketball fan for years now and it's fun to actually have my team playing well. I haven't had a college basketball team to root for, so the Hokies' hoop success is a welcome surprise.

Hopefully Coach Greenberg will stick around and keep improving the program like he has been doing.

6 comments:

Gary Schwartzenbacher said...

12-4 in the SEC and second place (with massive amounts of injuries, mind you, that the committee defintely takes into consideration) is not even remotely similar to 9-7 in the ACC and fourth place. There is nothing comparable between these resumes other than overall record. It isn't so much how you start, it's how you finish and UK finished strong. I do have a question, though. If UK is such a "horrible, horrible" team, then what are you implying about VT if you are saying their resumes are so similar? I do feel that VT should maybe be in at least ahead of Miami, but that still doesn't make UK a "horrible, horrible" team.

furrer4heisman said...

The SEC isn't on par with the ACC. The ACC is a much better league. UK would have had a losing record in the ACC. Maybe six or seven wins.

Tech isn't a great team. But they deserved to be in The Tournament over teams like UK, Baylor and A&M.

Oh, and Tech didn't lose at home to Gardner-Webb.

UK got in because of the name on the front of their jersey.

Jared said...

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Gary Schwartzenbacher said...

Is this all on your gut feeling, or do you statistically have any proof that the ACC is better than the SEC this year. If you don't, here's a statistic for you: SEC= 6 teams in the tournament... ACC... wait for it.... =4 teams in the tournament. So much for your superior conference. Granted, the SEC doesn't necessarily have a DUKE or a UNC this year, but after that, you fall off hard, as usual. As for the Gardner-Webb loss, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. UK was 9-3 in their 12 games, VT was 7-5. We finished much stronger than you all, plus we were undefeated at Rupp Arena in conference play. I'd say that fact alone more than makes up for an early loss to GWebb at home with three injuries and a brand newe coach. As for Kentucky's perceived losing record in the ACC, I'll leave you to your crystal ball and your theories while I go watch the Cat's in the tournament...

mcgruff1971 said...

Isn't it interesting how hate and envy can lead people to make ignorant comments in their blogs? Good thing there are those of us out there who can actually think with reason and support our opinions with facts and not emotion.

Sorry that your team, VCU, didn't get in. But to claim that the SEC is inferior to the ACC is ludicrous. The ACC's rating was based on 4 excellent teams, but the ACC takes a steady fall from there. I won't waste time elaborating on what G. S. has said regarding the facts.

Bottom line, the Selection Committee has answered this issue for us.

Results:

SEC-6 ACC-4

UK is a horrible team? NO. They "were" a horrible team. They overcame, came together, and found out how to win.

Analyze the facts. That is what they will say.

furrer4heisman said...

VCU?