Virginia Tech’s ACC Tournament run came to an end in the quarterfinals as the Hokies fell to Florida State a day after beating Miami in their 2nd round matchup. Now, the Hokies, like most teams, are having to wait to hear where they will be seeded on Selection Sunday though for the first time in a while, Hokie fans haven’t had to worry about making the NCAA Tournament at any point this season.
The big question has surrounded the debate as to whether Virginia Tech can earn a top 4 “protected” seed, something that the metrics continue to be overwhelmingly in favor of regardless of whether they are predictive or results-based.
Since our last update, Virginia Tech has only slightly dropped in 3 of these 5 metrics while remaining within the top 16 in all five. In general, the predictive metrics have been more favorable than the results-based metrics as shown by VT being 11th in KenPom and BPI but 16th in Strength of Record.
With the addition of the NET, it’s clear that the committee is looking to make a shift towards more heavily weighing the predictive metrics. That would be of clear benefit to Virginia Tech as one of the strongest parts of their resume is how they are ranked in those metrics.
The use of the NET is the big unknown as most of the top 16 seed midseason release came from top 16 teams in the NET, but the Hokies missed out despite being among those 16. The NET definitely has a good amount of influence, but it seems that it isn’t the ‘end-all, be-all’ that some wondered if it would become.
Then of course, we have the quadrant records and strength of schedule both in and out of conference which are as good as we’ve seen from the Hokies under Buzz Williams (via Seed Madness).
- Quadrant 1: 4-8
- Quadrant 2: 7-0
- Quadrant 3: 5-0
- Quadrant 4: 8-0
- Overall SOS: 50
- Non-Conference SOS: 198
In the past, Virginia Tech has been bogged down by a non-conference strength of schedule closer to 300, but the fact that the Hokies are almost in the top 200, while still hurting some, doesn’t do as much damage as the past.
One of the best talking points for Virginia Tech’s resume is the fact that the Hokies haven’t lost a single game outside the top quadrant, something that isn’t vulnerable to change at this point. Personally, I think we can get too obsessed with the low-end of the spectrum, but what Virginia Tech has shown is the consistency that a higher seed should absolutely have.
Only having 4 quadrant 1 victories and a 4-8 record in that quadrant does hurt Virginia Tech’s resume and is a big reason why I have a hard time seeing the Hokies get to the 4 line and why you can rule out anything higher despite the standing in the NET and VT’s overall record.
However, the quality of quadrant 1 victories definitely stands out with the home win over Duke and the neutral site victory over Purdue that continues to be a diamond on this resume. In comments to Andy Katz, Stanford AD Bernard Muir, the committee chair, mentioned that the quality of wins within quadrant 1 would not be overlooked either.
🚨 SELECTIONS UPDATE 🚨
Heading into a huge Saturday, the committee chair Bernard Muir updated @TheAndyKatz on the current status of the bracket:
🏀 34 of 36 at large are decided
🏀 14 more under consideration
🏀 46 of 68 in the field
🏀 Process of eliminating teams pic.twitter.com/EZAAIs2H8F
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 16, 2019
While those 2 big wins won’t completely override the fact that Virginia Tech only has 4 quadrant 1 victories, the quality of those wins certainly helps especially with the Purdue victory coming away from Blacksburg, giving VT a win against a top 15 team in the NET away from home. For comparison, fellow 4 and 5 seed candidates Wisconsin, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Maryland have 0 wins against teams in the top 30 of the NET away from home while Kansas State also only has 1.
If the committee does value individual wins as a significant factor in quadrant 1, VT has a great chance at earning a top 4 seed. If quantity rules the day, it would be shocking if VT wasn’t a 5 seed given the fact that Wisconsin, Auburn, Mississippi State, Maryland, and Kansas State all have more quadrant 1 wins than Virginia Tech. That group of 6 teams seem to be where we’ll get the final 2 4 seeds with all six teams having different but strong cases for a top 16 spot on the S-curve.
Now onto the latest in our select group of projections with the Hokies remaining right around the 4 seed bubble (and leaning towards a 5 seed).
- Bracket Matrix: 5
- ESPN: 4
- CBS: 5
- USA Today/BracketWag: 5
- SB Nation: 4
- NBC: 5
- SI: 5
- Seed Madness: 4
- T-Rank: 4
While there are still some brackets that have the Hokies as a 4 seed, the overwhelming majority of brackets are centering around a 5 seed for the Hokies. The Bracket Matrix average has VT as the best 5 seed with a 4.89 seeding average from 124 different brackets as of this morning. However, there is one bracket that has moved the Hokies up today with ESPN’s Joe Lunardi having Virginia Tech as a 4 seed in the West.
As the brackets show, it’s more likely that Virginia Tech is a 5 seed but it is realistic that the Hokies are a 4 seed given their impressive metrics, their perfect record outside the top quadrant, and their impressive wins over Duke and Purdue.
However, keep an eye on Iowa State after the Cyclones beat Kansas State and Kansas on their way to winning the Big 12 Championship. While Iowa State doesn’t seem likely to factor in, picking up back-to-back neutral site wins like they did along with putting the Big 12 Tournament title next to their name could make them a sleeper to jump into the 4 seed conversation. Additionally, keep an eye on what Auburn does tomorrow in the SEC Championship as a win could put them in the conversation for a top 4 seed.
Tomorrow, I’ll have my final prediction on where I think Virginia Tech will be seeded as the final resume gets evaluated.