While there wasn’t a ton of action yesterday for men’s college hoops, the games we did have, did not disappoint! Yesterday we saw several teams that made a big push for March Madness seeding. The biggest statement came from the all of the sudden red-hot Duke Blue Devils as they knocked off fellow bubble team Syracuse 85-71. Duke looks like a completely different team now that freshman star Jalen Johnson has left the team, as they have won four straight games and are looking like a team deserving of an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.
All of you people out there that wrote the Blue Devils off are starting to eat a little crow, as Duke now has top-100 wins over Virginia, Syracuse, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, and NC State. We all expected Duke to be really good this season, and now that they have seen an addition by subtraction with Johnson leaving the program, they are looking a lot like the team we all thought they would be earlier this year.
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) February 23, 2021
The other team that impressed me yesterday was the Oklahoma State Cowboys. We still don’t know whether or not the NCAA is going to allow the Cowboys to play in the tournament, as they were slapped with a single-season tournament ban in the offseason, but the one thing we do know, is that if they aren’t banned, they are getting in! OK State needed overtime to knock off Texas Tech last night, for the second time this season, no less, and they are now firmly a tournament-level team at this point.
Cade Cunningham continues to remind everyone why he is going to be the number one overall pick in next year’s NBA Draft as he led the Cowboys with 20-points in the win. The Cowboy’s resume is getting better by the day as they add this top-25 win over Texas Tech to their collection of signature wins, including wins over Texas, Kansas, and Arkansas. I never condone cheating, but it feels like it would be a disservice to all college hoops fans not to be able to see Cade Cunningham get a chance to play in the Big Dance in what is for sure to be his only season in Stillwater. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will head to Blacksburg, for a game between Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.
- Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-8) at Virginia Tech Hokies (14-4)
- Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: ACCN
The ACC is jampacked full of bubble teams, and two of them square off tonight in Blacksburg as the Virginia Tech Hokies host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Conventional wisdom tells us that the Yellow Jackets are currently on the outside looking in, but Kenpom has Georgia Tech currently ranked at 39th, so they are right at the cut line, and a win today on the road might be enough to get them into the tournament. The Yellow Jackets have won back-to-back games over Pittsburgh and Miami and are looking to stay above .500 in ACC play tonight.
— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) February 23, 2021
For Virginia Tech, the Hokies seem to be in a better spot in terms of an at-large bid, but they are just 36th on Kenpom, so they are by no means a lock to hear their names called on Selection Sunday. V-Tech is coming back from a long delay tonight, as they haven’t played since beating Miami on February 6, but at 8-3 in conference play, they are still very much in the regular season ACC title picture. The Hokies have three straight games at home, all coming against beatable teams, and a strong finish could move the Hokies up a line or two in March Madness.
Virginia Tech Hokies (14-4)
Not many teams in the ACC were playing as well as the Virginia Tech Hokies were when they saw the program get shut down earlier this month. The Hokies had won six of their previous eight games, including wins over Duke and Virginia. It will be interesting to see how the Selection Committee treats a team like Virginia Tech that was running through their league, only to get shut down due to COVID-19. Looking ahead on their schedule, they have just four games left, three at home against Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Wake Forrest, and a road game at NC State to wrap up the regular season.
If they run the table, and right now, they are projected to do just that, the Hokies would be 12-3 in ACC play. That might not be enough games to catch Florida State or Virginia for the ACC title, but it probably is plenty to get the Hokies a top-four seed into the NCAA tournament. But if V-Tech is rusty after the long layoff, which could very well be the case, and they lose a couple of these late-season games, they could potentially slide to the wrong side of the bubble. These final two weeks of the regular season will go a long way into deciding how this year will be remembered in Blacksburg.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (11-8)
It wasn’t all that long ago that Georgia Tech was seen as a fringe top-100 team. After starting out the season 0-2 with losses to Georgia State and Mercer, it looked like the Yellow Jackets were in for a long year. The wins haven’t come all that often for Georgia Tech, but they do have some nice ones. Georgia Tech has wins over Kentucky, North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Pittsburgh. There are lots of bubble teams that would love to have that level of quality wins on their resume.
The problem for Georgia Tech has been their inconsistency. Those two early-season losses are really going to hurt them on Selection Sunday, and if they had managed to win those two games, they would likely be on the right side of the bubble right now. Outside of those two ugly blemishes, most of Georgia Tech’s struggles have come on the road. Road losses to Virginia, Duke, Louisville, and Clemson aren’t bad ones, but wins in any of those games would have been huge for the Yellow Jackets NCAA tournament dreams.
Who Do I Like?
We already talked about Georgia Tech struggling on the road, and their road record this season is a dismal, 2-5. One of those two road wins came in their last game, though, at Miami, in what was a must-win game for Georgia Tech. The other road win for G-Tech came way back in early November at Nebraska. On the flip side, the Hokies have done most of their winning at home.
V-Tech is a near-perfect 9-1 this season on their home floor. They haven’t lost at home since December. Interestingly enough, the Hokies have played just one home game in the last six weeks, do to the COVID-19 delay and some tough scheduling. The Hokies are going to be happy to be home tonight, and they are hopeful that they won’t be rusty after missing so much action.
This is just another one of those standard home and away split conference games. Georgia Tech is better than most people seem to think, but they don’t win on the road very often. And while the long delay for Virginia Tech does scare me a little, the Hokies are a very good basketball team, particularly at home, and I just don’t see them blowing this game that they know that they need.
Laying less than a full possession’s worth of points seems reasonable, especially when you look at how the Hokies handled teams like Virginia, Notre Dame, and Duke in Blacksburg. V-Tech beat Virginia by fourteen, Duke by seven, and Notre Dame by thirteen. I expect more of the same tonight against the Yellow Jackets. Give me the Virginia Tech Hokies tonight, laying -2.5-points against an overmatched Georgia Tech team. I’ll call the final score at 72-62.