Virginia Tech makes a point(sorta) and Duke prepares to take on Belmont.
National Invitation Tournament
Virginia Tech 94 Morgan State 62
The worst case scenario for a coach complains very, very loudly about being excluded from the NCAA Tournament is for his team then to come out and lose their NIT opener or play poorly. This was not the case for VT in pasting Morgan State which proves that Virginia Tech is playing very good basketball right now. I also would agree that they might be one of the best 65 teams in the nation based on the current sample of play. The problem for VT is the committee looks at the full body of work and weights the last third of the season a little more. Unfortunately for the Hokies, the early part of the season was so unimpressive and they only nailed down a “good win” by beating Miami in the ACC Tournament it was pretty much a case of too little, too late.
West Regional: #2 Duke vs #15 Belmont, Thursday, 7:10 PM
Get ready for a lot of threes. Belmont is built much the same way Duke is with the lack of an interior presence and the propensity to shoot threes all game long. In fact Belmont has five players with 100+ 3-point attempts this season and the Bruins average 28 attempts per game versus 24 attempts per game by Duke. The Blue Devils are not quite as tied to the three point shot as Belmont simply because Duke drives to the basket more which is intended to open up threes but also to get good looks at the rack. Belmont, according to coach Rick Byrd in an interview on 850 this week, said they are more of a motion offense and use screens to open up their looks. It would not surprise me if Belmont jumped out early on Duke with some hot shooting before the Devils defense takes over and Paulus or Scheyer nail a few threes themselves to assume control of the game. In the end Duke walks after a testy 10 minutes or so.
Duke 86 Belmont 54