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Bursting Bubbles

lawrencewelk120When last week began,  there appeared to be three ACC teams chasing perhaps two spots in the NCAA Tournament. Five losses in six games later, the chances of the conference placing more than half its membership roster in the Big Dance have gotten considerably more remote. A Lawrence Welk show had fewer popping bubbles.

Virginia Tech staggered to the regular season finish line looking a lot like a team that had already packed in the season. The loss to Florida State was Tech’s third straight and sixth in its last seven games. This is not exactly how you go about impressing the NCAA Selection Committee. Since his teams rarely are good enough to play their way into the Tournament, Seth will once again try to talk his way in. That never seems to work, either, although  Seth Davis of CBS seems to be buying it.

A 16-game ACC season will expose your weaknesses, and those of this Tech team were laid bare for all to see, from a woeful shortage of guards [a battered Malcolm Delaney ain’t enough] to no big man to Jeff Allen’s head. Teams with only one quality guard rarely find themselves in possession of NCAA bids and unless something truly extraordinary happens this week in Atlanta, Tech won’t. We likely will be left to see whether the NIT committee has a sense of humor.

davidsonAt least one of the Greenberg boys will go dancing. That is quite the job Brad has done since he drove down Pepper’s Ferry Road. If some of the NCAA projections are correct and Radford finds itself going up against Carolina in Greensboro, it will be a short jig around the dance floor, but they are there.

While Tech lost its way out of the NCAA’s against some pretty good teams, the same can’t be said for the ACC’s other two bubble boys, Maryland and the Canes. They were not coming up just short against the top of the league.

mutt1The Canes got the ACC’s Tournament field reduction program started last week by losing to Georgia Tech. Losing to a 1-13 ACC team sure does wonders for your RPI, eh, Frank? There is a bright side, however. With both Notre Dame and Georgetown displaying a strong dedication to also losing their way out of March Madness, there is at least the possibility that Thursday’s noon Tech-Canes tilt could be an NCAA play-in game. The good news for the Canes is that overmatched Tech guard Hank Thorns should display the same strong defensive effort against Jack McClinton that he did against Tony Douglas and most every other top-shelf ACC guard he goes up against.

Another 7-9 log was thrown into the ACC’s jam Saturday afternoon at the John in Hooville. Maybe Gary Williams had empathy for fellow embattled coach Fallback Dave. He didn’t need to. In this week’s homage to the Roanoke Times, I notice that Doug Doughty, that great fan of the entire Hoo athletics department, pointed out that if AD Craig ‘Tubby, if you make it to the Tournament will you send me a postcard?’ Littlepage was not going to goldsmith the underachieving algroh, fair play dictated that Fallback Dave be kept around, too. After all, what’s one more losing Hoo coach? You do have to give Craig credit. During this period of stagnant and declining budgets, he has figured out how to keep postseason travel costs to a minimum. I’m sure it is appreciated by Hoos who have not had to further reduce their economy-depleted trust funds to pay for bowl or tournament junkets.

sittinghomeThe ACC now moves to what is normally the school money-making part of the season, the conference tournament. How did those huge Rams Club donations usually required to buy Tournament tickets hold up this year, DickieB? Not enough to appease Butch’s stadium demands, it would seem.  Well, you should make out like a bandit as Heels clamor for Greensboro tickets the following week. At least one team in the NCAA field knows exactly where they will open that tournament.

Ol’ Roy’s crews is the odds-on favorite to capture yet another ACC championship this weekend. Duke’s latest loss to Carolina means the Devils are stuck in Friday’s 9:30 hole. Teams that play in the ACC’s tournament version of Midnight Madness rarely are rested enough to survive the Saturday afternoon semi-final game. I suspect the Tar Heels wouldn’t mind one bit getting another shot at a Wake team that hasn’t been quite the same since that home loss to Tech. Doesn’t THAT seem a long time ago?

We now sit back for the annual basketball orgy known as conference tournament week.  Even before the ACC shebang gets started, there is another VCU-George Mason scrap. They are always entertaining. And, the Biggie E has figured out how to extend the Knicks’ annual March road trip by one day. What’s yet another road loss for the lousy Knicks  compared to what should be a rocking Garden for a prime time game between teams seeded 11 and 14? Well, maybe some tournament basketball is more appealing than others.

The former will be the ACC. Starting at noon Thursday, 11 games in 74 hours with the bonus of the Biggie E final thrown in Saturday night is about enough to appease even this basketball junkie. A few Tech bubble-inducing wins would be icing on the cake. Hello, recliner.

1 Comment

  1. John Mitchell — March 9, 2009 #

    Only one guard, yes. That picture of S. Curry in the Davidson uniform is pure torture. Yes, he wanted to come to Tech. No, we couldn’t offer him a full ride. Yes, he would have perfectly complimented Delaney at guard, and would undoubtedly have helped with our woeful offensive production. That’s one that “got away” that shouldn’t have.


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