Virginia Tech Hokies
19-15, 8-12 in the ACC
Head Coach: Mike Young
Tenure at Virginia Tech: Fifth season
Coaching record: 372-295
Home court: Cassell Coliseum
Projected starters: G Sean Pedulla, G Hunter Cattoor, F Mekhi Long, F Mylyjael Poteat, C Lynn Kidd
Bench: G Brandon Rechsteiner, G Tyler Nickel, G MJ Collins, G Jaydon Young, F John Camden, F Robbie Beran,
Overview: After securing its first ACC tournament title, but coming up short against Texas in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the 2021-22 season, Virginia Tech was committed to a rewarding 2022-23 season. The Hokies had an electric and consistent start to their season as they captured considerable victories in nearly all of their first 12 matchups, falling only to College of Charleston by two points. Taking a frustrating turn, careless mistakes across the roster led Virginia Tech to seven consecutive losses and a truly underwhelming couple of months. Following their disappointing loss against Cincinnati in the first round of the NIT, the Hokies look to improve significantly and reestablish themselves as a force in the ACC.
Virginia Tech presents its most experienced roster in a while as it returns three of its starters and features three fifth-year players. Veteran guards Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor will prove to be valuable assets, tallying 15.0 and 10.8 points per game respectively for the Hokies. Virginia Tech gains its biggest victories when relying on shots from the outside, thus, this experience and familiarity is essential to maintaining a strong backcourt. Head coach Mike Young can expect a confident offense from his starting crew, but needs to work on improving the defense if he wants Blacksburg to be home to more wins this season.
Of course, the loss of scoring leaders Grant Basile and Justyn Mutts is a devastating blow to the Hokie roundup. However, this leaves room for incoming talents Mekhi Long, hailing from Old Dominion, Northwestern’s Robbie Beran and Tyler Nickel, who spent his first season with North Carolina, to show off their potential. Long, a 6-foot-7 forward, boasted 11 double-doubles in his last season in Norfolk and has an ability to separate from the crowd and rebound the ball. A very dynamic presence on the court, Long may be crucial to filling in gaps in both the offense and defense. If Long and his fellow transfers can aid in filling in gaps left by Basile and Mutts, the Hokies could have a balanced unit ready to catch people’s attention this season.
Team ceiling: The defense finally finds its footing, the offensive powerhouses mesh seamlessly and Virginia Tech makes a significant turnaround from last season. The Hokies make a run for their second ACC title in history, mirroring the 2021-22 season, giving them a brilliant foundation come tournament time in March.
Team floor: The lost leaders are too substantial for the combination of veterans and newcomers to combat, leaving Virginia Tech with minimal production. The Hokie defense looks sloppy and they once again find themselves near the bottom of the ACC and out of a chance to go dancing.
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