NCAA March Madness Preview – Virginia Tech Hokies

Virginia Tech Hokies

ACC (22-10, 12-2)

 by Joel Welser

Coach Buzz Williams has quickly built Virginia Tech into a program that can compete in the tough ACC. Last season in his second year with the team, Coach Williams led Virginia Tech to the NIT. This year they have taken the next step and reached their first NCAA Tournament since 2007.

Big Wins: 12/31 Duke (89-75), 2/12 Virginia (80-78), 2/27 Miami FL (66-61)

Bad Losses: 11/25 vs Texas A&M (65-68), 1/4 at N.C. State (78-104), 1/14 Notre Dame (71-76)

Coach: Buzz Williams

Why They Can Surprise:

The Hokies are a very good shooting team. The team as a whole shoots 49.2 percent from the floor and 40.5 percent from beyond the arc, which are both tops in the ACC. Seth Allen, Ahmed Hill and Justin Bibbs all shoot over 37 percent from three-point territory. Allen is a good all-around scorer too and he needed to boost his outside shooting this season to become even more dangerous and he has done just that. Justin Robinson has boosted his scoring from last season. His outside shooting has been inconsistent, especially compared to the impressive shooting of his teammates, but Robinson can get to the basket and finish or find one of his teammates.

Why They Can Disappoint:

The Hokies responded relatively well when Chris Clarke was lost for the year with an injury in the middle of February, but his loss raises a lot of concerns for this team. Clarke is a 6-6 wing, but he was great on the glass and averaged 7.3 rebounds per game. The rest of the backcourt has not been able to pick up the slack in that department. Zach LeDay is the team’s leading scorer and a strong rebounder, but he does not get much help.

The other issue is the complete lack of depth on this team. Coach Williams only has seven players left at his disposal. Freshman forward Khadim Sy will usually start over LeDay, but only plays a handful of minutes when LeDay needs a break. That leaves the five players on the perimeter to cover the other four spots and without Clarke and his rebounding ability, this is a small team. Ty Outlaw is a 6-6 wing too and he has been asked to fill most of Clarke’s minutes. While Outlaw can score some points, he is not the same when it comes to rebounding and defending against the bigger and tougher opponents that he has had to face in ACC play.

Probable Starters:

Justin Robinson, Sophomore, Guard, 10.3 ppg, 4.8 apg

Justin Bibbs, Junior, Guard, 9.2 ppg, 1.6 apg

Ahmed Hill, Sophomore, Guard, 11.6 ppg, 1.2 apg

Ty Outlaw, Junior, Guard, 6.0 ppg

Khadim Sy, Freshman, Forward, 4.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg

Key Role Players:

Zach LeDay, Senior, Forward, 16.3 ppg, 7.4 rpg. 1.0 bpg

Seth Allen, Senior, Guard, 13.4 ppg, 3.3 apg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 79.0 (54th in nation, 5th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 73.9 (223, 11)

Field-Goal Percentage: 49.2 (10, 1)

Field-Goal Defense: 44.5 (215, 10)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (57, 3)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 40.5 (10, 1)

Free-Throw Percentage: 73.0 (88, 6)

Rebound Margin: -1.9 (265, 15)

Assists Per Game: 15.1 (72, 6)

Turnovers Per Game: 12.2 (86, 10)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2016    NIT      First Round win over Princeton

2016    NIT      Second Round loss to BYU

2011    NIT      First Round win over Bethune-Cookman

2011    NIT      Second Round loss to Wichita State

2010    NIT      First Round win over Quinnipiac

2010    NIT      Second Round win over Connecticut

2010    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Rhode Island

2009    NIT     First Round win over Duquesne

2009    NIT     Second Round loss to Baylor

2008    NIT     First Round win over Morgan State

2008    NIT     Second Round win over UAB

2008    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Mississippi

2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over Illinois

2007    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Southern Illinois

*all team stats through 3/5

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