Virginia Tech's NCAA Tournament at-large bid hopes took a hit on Saturday with their loss to Clemson, but they aren't completely dead just yet with the Hokies needing some wins in Brooklyn at the ACC Tournament.
With Virginia Tech still hanging onto the bubble but having plenty of work ahead, we caught up with one of the most prominent bracketologists in the country, SB Nation's Chris Dobbertean. Chris' brackets are regularly on SB Nation along with SB Nation's Blogging the Bracket making him one of the most highly publicized bracketologists in the country.
So with all that said, here's what Chris had to say about Virginia Tech's 2022 NCAA Tournament hopes.
1. What are Virginia Tech's chances entering the ACC Tournament?
"Not great, for reasons I will get into as I answer your other questions, as there are a whole bunch of factors that make the Hokies' chances worse than you'd presume when just glancing at their won-loss record."
2. How damaging was the loss to Clemson to their hopes and why?
"Surprisingly, it wasn't that damaging, since it was just a Quad 2 loss, and it didn't damage VT's metrics all that much. Really, the damage was psychological, as 20 regular season wins would have been a nice accomplishment to take to Brooklyn."
3. What are the strengths of VT's resume compared to the bubble?
"Metrics, metrics, metrics. The Hokies have been competitive in most of their losses, while racking up several blowouts early in the season. Those factors have led to their NET (36th) and their rankings in the three predictive metrics the Selection Committee uses (29th in KenPom, 21st in BPI, 32nd in Sagarin).
Here's where VT's first issue appears. We haven't used the NET for very long, so we don't have the same history as we did with the RPI. Back when the former metric was in place, you could be virtually certain that a team would reach the field simply based on their RPI. We don't have that same expectation of the NET yet, and we may never have it, based on how the Committees that have used it so far have discussed it. It really does seem to be just one tool among others, though it has key uses in organizing the Committee's work.
Consider Houston as a guidepost for 2022. Back when the Committee did its February bracket sneak peek, the Cougars were a top five team in the NET. Yet they were only under consideration for a 5 seed. In the RPI world, VT ranking 36 would have meant the Hokies were a virtual lock. But in the NET world, it means very little."
4. What are the weaknesses of VT's resume compared to the bubble?
"And this brings us to the crux of VT's problems. The Committee's results-based metrics don't view the Hokies quite so favorably: they're 73rd in KPI and 66th in strength of record. Then you dig into the actual results, and VT's 5-10 record in Quad 1 and 2 games and 1-5 mark in Quad 1 games just don't compare favorably to the competition.
The Committee again showed us how much they valued quality wins last month when they elevated Tennessee to a 3 seed, despite the fact they were 5-6 in Quad 1 games!"
5. Where does the ACC rank among the other conferences in the country and how is that affecting Tech's bubble hopes?
"This ties into the quality wins factor. The Committee has long been enamored with what you could call "high-quality" wins. Those are defined on a Selection Sheet as Quad 1 games played against a Top 15 team at home, a Top 25 team on a neutral floor, and a Top 40 team on the road. VT is 0-2 in those games (losses at Duke and UNC) in 2022. Given the mediocrity of the ACC, the Hokies haven't gotten many opportunities at gaining such wins and likely won't without a long run in Brooklyn this week.
Then you look at how VT has performed against its fellow ACC peer teams (UNC, Miami, Wake, ND, UVa) and a 2-5 mark against that group doesn't look all that great when compared to the Demon Deacons (4-2), Tar Heels (3-3), Hurricanes (4-4), Fighting Irish (3-2), and Cavaliers (2-4). Then you add in the fact that three of those peer teams have wins over Duke, and there's a real problem."
6. What is the minimum that Virginia Tech needs to do at the ACC Tournament to have a chance?
"Beating Clemson or NC State on Wednesday won't do much to help, though defeating Notre Dame in Thursday's quarters would help improve that record against peer teams. However, the most helpful opportunities wouldn't come until Friday and Saturday."
7. Where would a run to the ACC Tournament final put Virginia Tech on the bubble?
"Naturally, it all depends on what happens elsewhere in that time, particularly in the SEC and Big Ten Tournaments, which seem to have the most potential for bubble drama. Ultimately, I think a run to the final by VT would ultimately not be enough. Blame the mediocrity of the ACC for that."
8. What teams should Virginia Tech fans be rooting for to win their conference tournaments?
"You're going to want to see potential bid thieves knocked out in the WCC (Santa Clara), Mountain West (anyone other than Boise State, Colorado State, San Diego State, or Wyoming), American (anyone besides Houston and Memphis). The Atlantic 10 is always prone to upsets, which could mean Davidson and Dayton or VCU get surprise company.
Of course, with three surprise teams winning power conference auto bids last season, you'll probably want to cheer for any surprises there too. Other than the Hokies themselves, of course."
9. If Virginia Tech were to win the ACC Tournament, where do you think they would likely be seeded?
"If the Hokies win the ACC Tournament, I think they'd actually get a fairly decent seed, thanks again to those strong predictive metrics. I'd say a 10 would be the minimum, with a 9 or 8 possible depending on what happens elsewhere."
Once again, I want to extend my personal thanks to Chris for joining and encourage you to give him bracketology coverage a follow both at SB Nation's Blogging The Bracket and on Twitter @ChrisDobbertean.