Clarke, who tore his left ACL in the team's win over Virginia on Sunday, left a big void for the Hokies as their leading rebounder. It was clear they missed him as Pitt won the rebounding battle 43-29 and dominated the offensive glass with 15 added possessions.
While the Hokies may have been fortunate to escape with a win, it makes no difference in the eyes of the NCAA Tournament selection committee, which will no doubt be impressed with the conference road win -- just their second on the season -- without one of their top players.
Jerry Palm has Virginia Tech as an 8-seed for March. And after securing the critical double-overtime win over Virginia coupled with a road win over Pitt, the Hokies have built a soft, but still thin, cushion.
The Hokies have five regular-season ACC games remaining, two of which come on the road. That starts Saturday with a trip to Louisville.
Virginia Tech's best wins are against Duke and Virginia, and a win over another ranked team like Louisville would go far to ensuring Virginia Tech gets a chance to play in the Big Dance -- a place the program hasn't been since 2007.
Buzz Williams' team is no lock, but it sure looks like the Hokies might be positioning themselves perfectly for a chance to tango late into March.