A month ago, things looked bleak for Virginia Tech.
The Hokies had ridden an OOC schedule so weak that even a team coached by Seth Greenberg only lost to the one good team it played. Coupled with a relatively-easy ACC draw that had the Hokies playing twice the worst teams in the league and Tech seemed in danger of missing the standard set throughout his career by Seth, the NIT. Tech seemed a lock to not only miss the NIT, but actually make a brief appearance in that tournament Seth’s teams make about as often as he turns down an opportunity to run his mouth on a media outlet, the NCAA. Then the team buckled down.
While the Tech wrestling team might be undefeated in the ACC, the basketball one demonstrated their own shortcomings in that sport by losing to Duke, dropping the Hokies to 1-1 against the Devils in wrestling. Then, playing like a team with its eyes firmly fixed on the NIT prize, Tech elected to simply not show up for a scheduled trip to the Corleone Compound, getting hammered at Fredo. While Seth dismissed the bad loss as ‘just one of those things,’ a loss that happens to all NIT teams, Tech prepared to play the Maryland Terps in the game that would determine whether this year’s Hokie team was indeed worthy of yet another trip to basketball’s version of the Boise bowl.
While it was touch and go for most of the two-overtime game, Tech was able, through a combination of poor clutch free throw shooting, questionable end game decisions and an utter inability to defend Maryland star Grevis Vasquez, to firmly make its case for NIT inclusion by losing to the Terps 100-104 in double overtime. While it isn’t too often that a college basketball team can score 100 and lose, that Tech was able to manage the trick is indicative of this team’s iron will and resolve to again participate in college basketball’s oldest tournament. Only NC State and Georgia Tech stand in the way of Tech’s third straight appearance in basketball’s secondary showcase.
For his part, Seth downplayed Tech’s drive for yet another NIT bid, spending much time and media attention arguing for an elimination of that tournament in favor of a goofy expansion of the NCAA Tournament to an unwieldy 96 teams. While this certainly seemed a lot like a usage of the ‘If Seth can’t go to the NCAA Tournament bring the Tournament to Seth’ ploy, the Tech coach denied that was the case. Seth claimed that an expanded tournament was not about his career-long difficulties in making the darn thing, but, instead, about the ‘kids.’ While he sounded much like Hillary back when she used to introduce yet another crackpot liberal scheme by declaring that it was ‘all about the children,’ Seth claimed that the NCAA Tournament should be ‘all about inclusion,’ even to those teams [and children] not good enough to make it. He did seem a lot like a coach who has made the NCAA a grand total of 3 times in 20 years of head coaching, only once with a team composed entirely of players he had recruited, trying to, somehow or another, turn himself into a big tournament coach, but Seth insisted [and insisted and insisted] that his own mediocre record had nothing to do with it. It was all about the kids.
The time leading up to the Terp-Tech game had produced much low comedy, down in the ground where water lines are located. It seemed that a beer truck driver delivering to the Hokies Celebration had careened into a fire hydrant, causing what turned out to be three breaks in the water lines leading to Cassell and necessitating a 3-hour delay in the start of the game. No doubt the opportunity to pour even more beer into celebrants before turning them loose in a facility that had no operable rest rooms was much appreciated by all concerned. The halftime and postgame stampede for nearby buildings that contained toilets that actually would flush must have been impressive.
Around the rest of the ACC, NC State astonished all, including its own fans and likely even their coach El Sid, by traveling to Miami and knocking off the Canes. This came on the heels of the Pack’s pounding of Wake Forest. State will come to Blacksburg Wednesday riding a 2-game winning streak. With the victory, State was able to forge another tie for last place in the ACC. They joined the Canes and North Carolina, themselves surprise winners at Wake Forest. When Dino Gaudio tanks another season after losing to Virginia Tech, he doesn’t screw around. While the Tar Heels blew their best opportunity ever to finish last alone in the ACC standings, the good old N&O was able to discontinue assisting Ol’ Roy in finding different ways to throw his players under the bus, instead declaring that all was well in Blue Heaven and their beloved Tar Heels and the greatest coach ever, or at least since Dean, maybe, would never, ever lose another game.
While Virginia Tech was making its case for the NIT, Georgia Tech and Clemson elected to make their’s to the NCAA Selection Committee. The on-again, off-a-lot Jackets put all of that talent to good use, beating Fredo, while the Tigers greatly surprised Florida State in Tallahassee. By the time the squinting at the miserable, low-quality television production of Clem-FSU had ended, caused by Comcast electing to show some game between 2 of the NBA’s worst teams on its high-def sports mother ship, the middle of the ACC standings got quite a bit more crowded. 4 teams are jostling for the 2 available first round ACC Tournament byes, with GT only a game out. That includes 2 teams, Tech and Wake, that seemed locks 2 weeks ago but are now fading fast. Seth will likely soon be campaigning for an increase in ACC membership to a number that would award byes to the top 8 teams instead of 4.
The Wizards finally beat the Nets in the NBA Game of the Year, allowing the Second Half of the Duke-Hoo game to move to the high-def channel. Viewers were able to marvel at the clarity of the Hoos demonstrating that they can lose just as badly without star Sylven Landesberg as they can with him. The song sung by Hoos Doug Doughty and Dan Bonner in describing the current performance of Tony Bennett are certainly reminiscent of the serenades flung at algroh and Fallback Dave. Just like football indeed.