No. 15 Virginia Tech, No. 14 Florida State meet with double-bye at stake
Talk about pressure.
That's what both No. 15 Virginia Tech and No. 14 Florida State will face Tuesday night in Tallahassee, Fla., when the two teams meet with the No. 4 seed -- and double-bye -- in the upcoming ACC Tournament on the line.
The Seminoles (23-6, 11-5 ACC) currently hold that coveted top-four spot in the ACC standings, but if they lose Tuesday, they would hand it right back to the Hokies (22-6, 11-5). The winner of this game will clinch the No. 4 spot, even though both have one contest left before the ACC Tournament kicks off March 12 in Charlotte, N.C.
But Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton isn't buying the pressure.
"The world is not going to end if we don't get the double-bye," Hamilton said. "The most important thing is to keep winning basketball games and getting better (in preparation for the NCAA Tournament)."
No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 North Carolina and No. 4 Duke control the top three seeds. The four teams with double byes won't have to play in the ACC Tournament until the quarterfinals.
Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams, meanwhile, is thrilled to have a chance at the double-bye.
"To be in this position going into the last week of the season, considering all that's transpired, is for sure a lifetime memory," Williams told the Roanoke (Va.) Times on Monday.
But Williams knows his team has a daunting task in front of it in Florida State.
"From top to bottom, they're arguably as talented as anybody in the league," Williams told the Times. "They're going to contest every dribble. They're going to deny every entry pass. ... They block shots. It's just their depth and how hard they play every possession on both ends of the floor."
Virginia Tech has never earned a double-bye since the tournament expanded six years ago.
Florida State comes in having won 10 of its last 11 games, while Virginia Tech has won four of its last five. The Hokies are coming off back-to-back wins against Notre Dame and Duke, while the Seminoles enter Wednesday also having won two straight, beating the Fighting Irish and NC State.
Virginia Tech will still be without the services of one of its key playmakers, as Williams ruled out guard Justin Robinson, who injured his foot against Miami on Jan. 30.
Also of note: Florida State, which owns a 33-22 all-time record against Virginia Tech, has beaten the Hokies 11 straight times at home. Virginia Tech last won there in 1990, when both teams played in the now-defunct Metro Conference.
Florida State has won the last three meetings between the two programs, including a 91-82 road victory on Jan. 20, 2018.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 4, 2019