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ACC Basketball Preview: Virginia Tech

Quick Facts

2005-06
Record: 14-16, 4-12 in the ACC
ACC Regular Season Finish: 10th(tied)
ACC Tournament Result: Lost in 1st Round
NCAA Tournament Result: None

Players and Coaches
Head Coach: Seth Greenberg, 3rd year at Virginia Tech, 45-44. 16th year overall, 258-214
Key Returnees: G Zabian Dowdell(15.3 ppg), F Coleman Collins(14.5 ppg), G Jamon Gordon(11.4 ppg), G/F Deron Washington(10.5 ppg), A.D. Vassallo(6.9 ppg)

Preseason Rankings
Poll Rankings: None
ACC Preseason Poll: 6th

Outlook

Virginia Tech is one of only two ACC teams to return all five starters from last season. The Hokies return a team ranked second with total career starts as well as 91% of their scoring and 95% of their rebounding. This makes VT one of the most experienced teams in the conference as well as one with its rotation pretty much set going into the first game. A senior triumvarante of guards Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon alongside forward Coleman Collins form the nucleus of this team. This senior trio accounted for over half the points scored and close to half the rebounds. Odds are they will be counted on to give the same kind of performance this season. Other contributors will be junior Deron Washington, a double figure scorer a year ago and A.D. Vasallo a sophomore who played significant minutes last season. The most significant weakness the Hokies will deal with is the lack of legitmate size and limited production in terms of rebounding. VT was last in the ACC in rebounding margin and with the smaller lineup they employ, controlling the board will be difficult. All this means is VT will rely more on out hustling their opponents as well looking to their defense which was statistically one of the best in the ACC last season. VT did an excellent job of taking care of the basketball as well as forcing turnovers and limiting the number points be scored by their opponents. All of these factor will make VT a very dangerous opponent for a lot of teams to face.

THF Prediction

I am not sold on VT partly because I have not seen a lot of them, except when they are beating Duke in Blacksburg. On paper they look virtually the same was their rival Virginia, who I have picked at sixth which means Virginia Tech will slide to seventh in my poll. Seth Greenberg is an excellent coach and their first season in the ACC was surprising. Last season was a down year for various reasons and now they are poised with a strong group of returnees to make a nice run. Will it be enough to push them into that top tier of ACC teams? Probably not but I also think they will be a fun team to watch as well as shock a few conference teams here and there. Despite the depth and talent UNC has I am not looking forward to the Heels playing in Blacksburg in January. VT will play tough but I think they will come up a bit short on the NCAAs again, partly because they field a week out of conference schedule and 8-8 in the ACC is simply not good enough right now with the way the conference is rated.

Prediction: 18-12 overall, 8-8 in the ACC for seventh place, NIT