Heading into the final weekend of the ACC season, the Virginia Tech Hokies (21-9, 10-7) sit in sixth place, currently in a three-way tie with Miami (21-8, 10-7), their foe on Saturday, and North Carolina State (20-10, 10-7), a team the Hokies beat in early February. Both Tech and Miami are coming off big wins from earlier in the week, when the Hokies upset No. 5 Duke at home and the Hurricanes pulled off an upset at No. 9 North Carolina on Joel Berry’s senior night. To make it simple, the winner of this game moves up in the ACC standings while the loser drops down a seed or two.
To be blunt, if Virginia Tech loses in Coral Gables at noon on Saturday, the Hokies would finish seventh in the ACC. A seven seed in the tournament in Brooklyn next week would give Tech a bye and mean that they would play the winner of the matchup between the 10 and 15 seeds.
Boston College, Florida State, and Notre Dame are the three possible teams that can be the number 10 seed, while Pitt (0-18 in ACC) has secured its place as the 15 seed in the tournament. Win that game next Wednesday and Tech would play the number 2 seed in the tournament, the winner of the Duke/North Carolina game on Saturday night, at 7pm next Thursday.
The scenarios become a tad bit trickier if the Hokies defeat Miami, a team Virginia Tech Tech lost to 84-75 in Cassell Coliseum on February 3rd. With a win tomorrow, the Hokies secure at least fifth place in the ACC. Tech would need some help from Duke and Syracuse to finish higher than fifth.
Fifth place would give them a first round bye and the winner of the game between the 12 and 13 seeds. Syracuse and Boston College are the possible 12 seeds while Georgia Tech and Wake Forest battle Saturday at noon for the 13 seed. With a win against 12/13, Tech would play the 4 seed in the tournament at 2pm on Thursday; five different teams still have a shot at becoming the 4 seed: North Carolina, Clemson, Miami, Virginia Tech, and NC State.
If Virginia Tech defeats Miami and Duke defeats North Carolina OR Syracuse defeats Clemson, the Hokies would be tied with the team that loses (UNC or Clemson) but win the tiebreaker, thanks to head-to-head wins over both teams, and clinch fourth place in the ACC. The fourth seed would give Tech a double-bye and mean that they would play the winner of the 12/13 vs 5 seed game on Thursday at 2pm.
The scenario that would excite Hokie fans the most is if Virginia Tech defeats Miami, Duke defeats North Carolina, AND Syracuse defeats Clemson. As a result, there would be a three-way tie for third place between the Hokies, Tar Heels, and Tigers, in which the Hokies would emerge victorious and claim the third overall seed in the ACC Tournament. With the number 3 seed, the Hokies would play their first game on Thursday at 9pm against the winner of the 11/14 vs 6 seed game.
Virginia Tech can finish as high as third but as low as seventh. Buzz Williams and crew will hopefully be prepared to go into Miami and stun the Hurricanes. I think the Hokies will win down in Coral Gables get the win, gaining another quality quadrant one win that will make their resume look even better to the committee.
I think the Hokies will finish fourth in the ACC as Clemson and Duke defeat Syracuse and North Carolina on their senior nights. Third place would be optimal, but just finishing well enough to earn a double bye, after starting 0-2 in the ACC, would be a huge accomplishment for this program.