Season Preview: Virginia Tech
Last Season: 22-11, NCAA 2nd Round
Key Losses: Zach LeDay, Seth Allen
Key Additions: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Wabissa Bede
Virginia Tech had quite the surprising 2016-17 season. Zach LeDay and Seth Allen had good seasons as expected, but guys like Justin Robinson (10.4 ppg), Ahmed Hill (11.4 ppg), and Justin Bibbs (9.2 ppg) were also solid contributors for the Hokies. Head Coach Buzz Williams did a great job of navigating a tough schedule, and VT managed to go 10-8 in the ACC. They received a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost in the second round to 8-seed Wisconsin.
Looking ahead to this season, the Hokies will really miss LeDay and Allen, but reinforcements are here. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the No. 3 shooting guard recruit and the Canadian was a huge get for Coach Williams and this Virginia Tech basketball team. Also, Wabissa Bede is a 4-star point guard that will likely see significant playing time to help fill the void left by Seth Allen. Add in that Robinson, Hill and Bibbs are all back for 2017-18, and this Virginia Tech team could be just as good as they were a year ago.
However, that would mean that Alexander-Walker and Bede both have seamless transitions from high school to college, which just doesn’t happen, so there will be some bumps in the road for the Hokies. Also, Justin Robinson was very inconsistent in ACC play last year, and now likely becomes the primary scorer for Virginia Tech, so it will be interesting to see how he fares as the focal point of the offense. This group has a great mix of experience and talented youth, but anytime you lose your two leading scorers from last year, there will be question marks.
Buzz Williams has done a great job in Blacksburg, but it almost feels like last season was VT’s best chance at a deep tournament run, surprisingly enough. Unlike their rival, Virginia, the Hokies do not have any problems scoring the basketball, and that should remain true this season. But, defensive issues have held back Virginia Tech in recent years. They ranked 12th in the ACC in scoring defense and allowed 84 points to a Wisconsin team certainly not known for its offense. If Coach Williams and this Virginia Tech can sort things on the defensive end, another NCAA Tournament appearance could be in store, but likely nothing more.
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Justin Robinson
SG: Justin Bibbs
SF: Ahmed Hill
PF: Chris Clarke
C: Khadim Sy