As we expected, the Virginia-Virginia Tech game was tight. The Hokies had the upper hand most of the second half though Virginia did manage to catch up between the 8:25 and 6:34 marks.
But the normal thing that Virginia does where they hobble you most of the game and then shiv you late?
Didn’t happen. Virginia Tech generally made good decisions and didn’t allow the Cavs to do what they did in Durham when they capitalized on bad mistakes by the Blue Devils.
And Virginia, usually so smart and cunning in winning time, instead saw Kihei Clark commit a flagrant foul and Tony Bennett losing the cool yachting attitude he usually has on the sidelines and possibly even cursing a bit.
For the Hokies, a remarkable turnaround continues. Once 10-10 and 2-7 in ACC play, Virginia Tech is now 16-10 and 8-7.
The stretch run is UNC, Georgia Tech, Miami, Louisville and Clemson. UNC and Louisville are at home; the rest are on the road. And none of them are automatic losses. In fact VT might be favored in all of them.
Imagine if the Hokies went into the ACC Tournament at 21-10 and on an 11-game win streak. That might not happen of course and probably won’t, given the competitive DNA of this conference. But they could win several of them. And if they do, a deep run in Brooklyn would be very attractive to the committee.
Two games on Tuesday and we’re at the point in the season where the haves and the have nots have parted ways. Clemson and FSU both have serious injuries and other issues. Florida State has won just twice since beat Duke at home and the injuries are getting crazy. Anthony Polite, Naheem McCloud, Malik Osborne and Caleb Mills are all out.
FSU has lost six straight while Clemson has lost four in a row. Clearly something is going to give.
In the second game, NC State squares off with Georgia Tech. NC State has lost six straight while Tech has lost four of the last five.
We’re not saying either game is going to be great basketball although either could be. What we’re saying his this: at this time of the year, when teams are struggling, you see a more elemental game.
To be sure, some teams are doomed in February and know it. But all four of these teams have had some great moments this year and any of them might have another Tuesday night. So don’t automatically think it’s going to be bad basketball because it could be incredibly compelling.
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