#16 Too Low for the Hokies in this Week's AP Top 25
The Virginia Tech Hokies, fresh off of wins over rivals Notre Dame and #8 Virginia, jumped four spots to #16 in this week's national rankings.
This position is just one spot short of the Hokies' best mark of the season which was rescinded after a disaster against an unranked Penn State squad back in December.
Monday's rankings by the Associated Press were anxiously awaited by the college basketball world following the turmoil in last week's Top 25: schools ranked #5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 25 all suffered defeats within the past seven days, guaranteeing movement amongst the nation's elite.
In one of the more surprising developments from Monday's reveal, the Virginia Cavaliers retained their title as the top-ranked Atlantic Coast Conference School, landing two places above the Hokies at #14.
This appears to be a tip of the cap to UVA's prestige rather than an objective assessment of their resume this season as any number of factors would indicate that the Hokies, not the Cavaliers, deserve to lead the ACC in national ranking.
For starters, the Hokies have a better record. Mike Young's crew currently sit at 13-3 while the Cavaliers trail at 11-3, giving the Hokies a +2.6 differential in win percentage.
So far this season, VT has suffered defeat at the hands of 6-7 Penn State, 10-4 Louisville and 9-4 Syracuse. Virginia has lost to 10-8 San Francisco (the only loss to a non-Power-Five school), 17-0 Gonzaga and 13-3 Virginia Tech.
Tony Bennett and the 'Hoos are now 1-2 against ranked opposition this year with their lone victory coming over then-twelfth-ranked Clemson. The Tigers have dropped four of their last five games since this defeat and have fallen out of the rankings, making this win less and less impressive by the week.
Virginia Tech started their season out with a bang, defeating #3 Villanova in their second game of the season. The Hokies also triumphed over #8 Virginia, #19 Duke and the same Clemson team that UVA cites as an impressive win. The Hokies are joined by #1 Gonzaga as the only teams to have at least four wins and zero losses against top 25 opponents this season.
The most damning piece of evidence comes from both schools' most recent result: the Hokies allowed a season low in points (51) to Virginia and managed to defeat them by fourteen points without their second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder, Tyrece Radford, who was suspended indefinitely six days prior. This win gave VT the advantage in head-to-head matchups this season.
Nominating Virginia as the best team in the ACC is simply due to prestige at this point. Not to say that they are an unwarranted top 25 selection, but Virginia Tech deserved better than to be placed under the Cavaliers.
The Hokies will have the chance to bolster their resume with visits to Pittsburgh and Miami this week, allowing them the opportunity to improve to 15-3. At that point, it would be hard to deny them as one of the fifteen best programs in the nation.