News With Commentary by TSL Staff

Sunday, March 16, 2003
by Will Stewart,

Hokie Women a 7 Seed in NCAA Tournament

The Virginia Tech women made the NCAA Tournament as expected, landing as a #7 seed in the East Region. They'll play #10 seed Georgia Tech in West Lafayette, Indiana, on Saturday, March 22nd.

The game will be played in Mackey Arena on the campus of Purdue University. The winner will meet the winner of #2 seed Purdue vs. #15 Valparaiso on Monday, March 24th. Game times have not been set yet and will be announced by the NCAA on late Sunday or early Monday.

Georgia Tech finished 20-10 and made the semifinals of the ACC Tournament, where they fell to Duke 76-52 (Duke is ranked #2 in the AP Poll and #1 in the coaches' poll). Georgia Tech, like the Hokies, is unranked.

The invitation is the sixth NCAA tournament appearance for the Hokies, all coming in the last ten years. Virginia Tech started playing women's basketball as a varsity sport in 1976-77. The bid represents the fourth NCAA bid in six years under coach Bonnie Henrickson.

Hokie fans had hoped for a higher seed, and a #6 seed would have been in line with Tech's RPI rating of 23. The Hokies won four of their last five games, but that was prefaced by a three-game losing streak to Boston College (#17 RPI), Villanova (#5), and Rutgers (#14), and that's at least part of the reason for the selection committee's #7 seed, despite Tech's win over BC in the Big East semifinals.

The #7 seed ties for the second-highest ever seed for the Hokies. In 1999, Tech was a #4 seed, and in 2001, the Hokies were also #7 seed.

The big news for the Big East was that 7 of their 14 teams received bids, with 18-12 Miami being the surprise invitee as a #11 seed (ironically, Miami's 67-66 OT win over the Hokies on January 28th helped put them in). Other Big East invitees were Connecticut, Villanova, Rutgers, Boston College, and Notre Dame.

Here's a list of  VT opponents who were invited to the tourney, their seeds, their records, their RPI ratings, and how Tech fared against them.

Team Seed Record RPI How VT Did
UConn #1 E 31-1 3 0-2 (57-69, 54-71)
Villanova #2 ME 25-5 5 0-2 (60-62, 61-71)
Rutgers #4 MW 20-7 14 1-1 (66-64, 43-67)
BC #5 E 20-8 17 1-1 (47-65, 74-70)
Notre Dame #11 E 19-10 28 1-0 (53-50)
Miami #11 MW 18-12 67 0-1 (66-67)
ODU #12 E 21-10 41 0-1 (49-63)
UVa #8 ME 16-13 39 1-0 (72-56)
Liberty #13 E 26-3 50 1-0 (53-50)
Key: E=East Region; ME=Mideast; W=West; MW=Midwest

The Hokies went 5-8 against NCAA competition, and that makes their #7 seed understandable.

Editorial aside: What is not understandable is 18-12 Miami's invitation. The Canes were 67th in the RPI -- 67th! -- and still snagged an at-large bid. They had two wins against RPI top 25 teams and another against an RPI top 50 team, but they also lost to two teams outside the RPI top 100.

Last year, the Hokies were 17-10 and also had two top-25 wins, a top-50 win, and two losses outside the RPI top 100, just like this year's Miami team. They were #35 in the RPI, 32 spots ahead of where Miami was this year ... and didn't get a bid. And it's not as if the Canes finished strong. They were 4-5 over their last nine games ... end of editorial aside.

The seven bids for the Big East is a record, easily topping the five invitations received in 2001. The league has had four teams invited four other times.

For more information, see the following links:

NCAA brackets --
RPI ratings --
VT press release --
Mackey Arena information -- Purdue web site
VT 2002/2003 schedule/results --
Georgia Tech women's basketball web site --
GT press release --


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