Okay, before we get started here, may I offer a little tip to Hokie head coach Seth Greenberg? I see that last year you did try to bump up your schedule strength a little bit. You had road trips to Iowa and Penn State, you had a neutral site game against Seton Hall and a more-road-than-neutral game against Temple, you had Georgia, even UNC Greensboro isn’t the worst thing in the world. And, in the end, it really wasn’t your fault that most of those teams had bad years. This year, don’t take that chance at all. Schedule your four or five non-conference BCS opponents, schedule an A-10 school or two, but then, when you’ve already got a Charleston Southern or a Campbell or a Longwood on the schedule, maybe resist the urge to also schedule Brown and UMBC and VMI and instead go with another BCS school, or another upper-echelon A-10 school, or hell, even a CAA school would be an upgrade over Longwood or Campbell. Coach, you’ve got a good team and a veteran team, there’s no need for you to baby these guys in the non-conference schedule. There are plenty of upper-mid-major programs that would gladly come to Blacksburg. But if you line up directional schools and worse, no one is going to be surprised if you get another unpleasant surprise on Selection Sunday.

All that being said, it shouldn’t really come down to that. Assuming guard Malcolm Delaney returns for his senior season (and he should, as a guy who is projected as a second-rounder at best), the Hokies will return all five starters from a team that was good enough to have been a Tournament team. With Delaney and fellow senior Dorenzo Hudson manning the backcourt, Virginia Tech will have good size, good ballhandling and excellent scoring from their backcourt. And up front, the combination of junior Victor Davila with seniors Jeff Allen and Terrell Bell make an athletic, if undersized frontcourt. Add in another undersized senior post-player in J.T. Thompson and you’ve got the nucleus of a talented veteran Hokie team.

To that nucleus, add a big beastly rebounder in 6-9 Allan Chaney, a transfer from Florida who sat out last season and could challenge for a starting spot this season. Sophomore Cadarian Raines, a nice interior presence who will need to be more aggressive on the glass, will also provide depth in the middle. Incoming four-star recruit Jarell Eddie will compete with sophomore Manny Atkins for the first minutes off the bench at the three. In the backcourt, depth will come from sophomores Erick Green (a sweet-shooting back-up point who will be the likely choice to jump into the starting lineup should Delaney opt for the NBA) and Ben Boggs and freshman point Tyrone Garland.

Assuming Delaney returns, this Hokie team is quite capable of an upper-division ACC finish, but they’ll need to take advantage of their non-conference opportunities to pick up quality wins, something that has cost them NCAA Tournament appearances the past three years. A backcourt of Delaney and Hudson would definitely have coach Greenberg feeling comfortable, but if Jeff Allen is able to corral all of his ample ability and give consistent effort, this could be a special VT team.

 


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