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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Good fortune is finally on star-crossed Virginia Tech’s side

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Virginia Tech has endured bubble heartbreak so often under coach Seth Greenberg that it was about time the star-crossed Hokies caught a break.

Needing only to prevent Florida State from going the length of the floor in 4.7 seconds, Virginia Tech's March curse appeared to strike again when Derwin Kitchen zoomed down court and buried the apparent game-winning fallaway baseline jumper as time expired.

Greenberg wore a sickly expression on his face.  A shell-shocked Malcolm Delaney walked off the court, hands on his head. And the seemingly victorious Seminoles streaked off the bench to mob Kitchen for his heroics.

Another tale of heartbreak for Virginia Tech? Amazingly enough, no. Referees reviewed the play and disallowed the shot because the ball was still on Kitchen's finger tips as the red light behind the backboard lit up signaling that time had expired, an incredibly close call but the proper one based on TV replays.

"For a team that's been so close so many times to finally have the basketball gods smile on them a little bit, it's pretty cool," Greenberg told reporters after the game. {YSP:MORE}

The 52-51 victory was so critical for the Hokies (21-10) because they likely needed to beat third-seeded Florida State to solidify their NCAA tournament resume. They aren't guaranteed of hearing their name called on Sunday yet, but their position looks far more palatable now than it did entering the ACC tournament after back-to-back losses to fellow bubble teams Boston College and Clemson.

Two wins over Florida State and a victory over Duke add heft to a Virginia Tech profile largely devoid of quality non-league victories. The Hokies will have the chance to all but guarantee a bid on Saturday with an ACC semifinal victory over Duke, an even more winnable game potentially since Nolan Smith is questionable with a toe injury.

The Hokies wouldn't be in this position without Errick Green, who caught a feed from Delaney and buried the go-ahead 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds remaining. Green had been 1 of 12 from the field prior to that shot, but hey, on this night luck was on Virginia Tech's side.

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