There are those who’ll disagree, but I don’t believe Georgia Tech would be in dire straits, Dance-wise, if it loses today. As I’ve mentioned a time or two, I’m fairly certain the Yellow Jackets can finish 7-9 in regular-season ACC play and still make the field of 65 on the strength of their schedule and RPI. And this will sound strange, but here goes:
G-Tech, which will finish behind Virginia Tech in the ACC, is in better shape than the Hokies. If V-Tech loses here today, it’s in real trouble. If G-Tech loses, it’s in less.
At this moment, Joe Lunardi of ESPN.com lists G-Tech as a No. 10 seed in his updated Bracketology and V-Tech as a No. 11. Yes, the Hokies are 9-6 in the conference to the Jackets’ 7-8, but the NCAA committee cares less about standings than it does about SOS and RPI. And there’s your difference: V-Tech has an RPI of 55 and a SOS of 155; G-Tech has an RPI of 35 and an SOS of 18.
Put simply, V-Tech needs to beat somebody with a good RPI these next eight days to make the field. G-Tech needs only to win another game — and that victory can come either today or in Greensboro next Thursday — to make sure. And even if it loses both, G-Tech could still be invited to the only tournament that matters.
Maybe you shrugged when G-Tech beat Siena on Dec. 2, but the Saints have an RPI of 40. V-Tech, by way of contrast, played a non-conference schedule that included Brown, UNC Greensboro, Campbell, Delaware, Iowa (RPI of 195), Georgia (RPI of 95), VMI, Penn State, Charleston Southern, Maryland-Baltimore County, Longwood, Seton Hall (RPI of 56) and North Carolina Central. The Hokies did play Temple (RPI of 15) but lost.
And it isn’t as if Virginia Tech hasn’t been warned. It was snubbed 2008 after going 9-7 in the ACC because it played a weak non-conference slate. That came after coach Seth Greenberg contended, after a last-second loss to North Carolina in the ACC semis, that anyone who didn’t consider his Hokies an NCAA tournament team was “certifiably insane.”
But on every Selection Sunday, the chairman of that year’s committee tells Jim Nantz and Billy Packer the same thing: The committee’s advice is to go out and play someone good. G-Tech scheduled better than V-Tech. That’s why, eight days from Selection Sunday, GT is better situated than VPI.
With that, I’d be happy — nay, thrilled — to accept any and all questions, comments and predictions on tomorrow night’s Academy Awards. I’ll be here until we’re done with Tech-versus-Tech, and I’d be happy — nay, thrilled — if you’d join me. And yet again I thank you in advance.