Florida State retains hope for a top-four finish while Virginia Tech is seeking to separate itself from teams at the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings as they match up Tuesday night in Blacksburg, Va.
The teams that finish Nos. 1-4 in the regular-season standings earn byes to the quarterfinals of the league’s postseason tournament, while the bottom six must play first-round games on the opening day.
The Seminoles (13-10, 7-5 ACC) entered Tuesday in fifth place, right behind fourth-place Wake Forest, and hold the tiebreaker over the Demon Deacons if they end up with identical league records.
The Hokies (13-10, 5-7 ACC) lie in 11th place and have some work to do over the next four weeks to move up. They also need help by way of multiple losses for Miami and Syracuse, who are tied for tied for ninth at 6-7 in league play.
Both teams are coming off losses Saturday. The Hokies dropped a 74-66 contest at Notre Dame, while the Seminoles saw a late rally at Virginia come up short in an 80-76 setback.
“I think we’re improving,” Seminoles coach Leonard Hamilton said. “There’s no doubt about that.”
The Seminoles held on for a 77-74 victory over the Hokies in an early January meeting, scoring the game’s last three points after losing a 10-point lead in the final two minutes.
“We did everything but win the game,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “We gave ourselves a shot.”
The Seminoles had four players in double figures against the Hokies with Cameron Corhen, Primo Spears and Jaylan Gainey leading with 11 points apiece. Darin Green Jr. added 10. Jamir Watkins leads the team with his 14.0 average.
Virginia Tech guard Sean Pedulla had a big night in the first meeting with the Seminoles, scoring what was then a career-high 26 points. He has exceeded that twice since then with a 32-point game against Clemson and 33 against Miami and is averaging a team-best 15.6 points per game.