The Washington Times - March 8, 2011, 11:55AM

No need to hide identities at this point. It’s pretty clear Virginia Commonwealth, Saint Mary’s and Virginia Tech are among the most tenuous of the NCAA tournament possibilities with the 68-team field’s unveiling a mere five days away.

Saint Mary’s has the worst loss of the lot. Virginia Tech is the only team with a setback at home against a team outside the top 100. It is also the only one of three without a loss to a team outside the top 200.

SEE RELATED:


None of them have winning records against the top 50. VCU and Virginia Tech are .500 against the top 100. The strength of schedules are all comparable.

Don’t believe it? Take a look:

Category
VCUSMCVT
W-L23-1124-819-10
RPI494764
SOS8510488
T503-51-42-6
T1008-83-67-7
200+12-112-18-0
Road8-66-44-6
Road/neutral12-810-68-7
Conference12-611-39-7
100+ losses
@USF (162)
@N’eastern (176)
@Ga. State (221)
@Portland (106)
@San Diego (317) 
Virginia (137)
@Virginia (137)
@Ga Tech (161) 

It’s worth noting Saint Mary’s has a pair of non-Division I wins. That inflates  the Gaels’ victory total a bit.

Ultimately, the record against the top 100 is what would seem like the differentiating factor for Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia Tech over Saint Mary’s. The Gaels won’t be helped much by playing a game later this week against Weber State, but could have their hopes dashed with a random nonconference loss two days before the selection announcement.

The biggest variable among these three teams is just what Virginia Tech does in the ACC tournament. The Hokies can improve their lot in life considerably, or they can continue their ill-timed fade.

Either way, these profiles will be scoured plenty in the next few days (along with some others). This is simply an early hint that maybe Virginia Commonwealth is in better shape than would have otherwise been guessed.

Patrick Stevens