ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech must think today's ACC regular-season finale at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is as important as everybody else believes it is.
Bodies were flying to the floor during the first half. The players were exchanging words walking into the tunnel to their locker rooms at halftime. Hokies coach Seth Greenberg was chirping at officials during his walk off the floor.
Even though the Hokies are playing without junior guard Dorenzo Hudson, their second-leading scorer, they have a 45-39 lead over the Yellow Jackets at the half.
Both teams really need to win this game to feel better about their chances of getting an NCAA at-large bid. The Yellow Jackets need a victory here to finish 8-8 in the ACC standings. I still the Yellow Jackets are in OK shape for an at-large bid because of their high-end victories and tougher ACC schedule. But a 7-9 finish would at least give the NCAA selection committee a justifiable reason to keep them out of the 65-team field.
With a win over Georgia Tech, the Hokies would finish 10-6 in the ACC. They played one of the country's softer schedules and played most of the ACC's best teams only once in an unbalanced schedule, but I seriously doubt the NCAA is going to leave out a 10-6 ACC team.
Junior guard Malcolm Delaney is once again carry the Hokies, scoring 17 points and dishing out seven assists in the first half. Junior forward Jeff Allen has eight points, and Terrell Bell of nearby Stone Mountain, Ga., scored seven in the first half.
Forward Gani Lawal led Georgia Tech with nine points in the first half, and freshman Derrick Favors had six points and four rebounds. Tech's other players basically ignored their low-post stars during the first seven or eight minutes, but the forwards touched the ball more frequently in the final 12 minutes of the half. With Allen sitting out the last four minutes of the half with four fouls, look for Tech to attack the paint early in the second half.