Wednesday, November 7, 2007

11. Virginia Tech

2007 Record: 10-6, t-3rd place
Projected 2008 Record: 5-11 (953 PARTOBS, .293 raw W%)

Like Wake Forest, Virginia Tech has an accomodating schedule. The Hokies play only five games against the projected top four teams in the conference, and five of their eight games against the bottom half of the conference will be at home. Since young teams tend to struggle more on the road than they do at home--and the Hokies are nothing if not young--this is good news for the Hokie faithful.

Projected Player Contributions:

If ever there was a team for which expectations should be nonexistent, this is it. After losing Zabian Dowdell and the criminally underrated Jamon Gordon to graduation, the Hokies will look to a seven-man freshman class to provide around half of their floor minutes. Tech could become just the sixth ACC team since 1987 to have more than 50% of its floor minutes to first year players. The five previous teams to do so (Clemson '96, UNC '03, GT '98, and Wake '98 and '07) all won at least five conference games.

While it's hard to predict what freshmen will provide, it's easy to recognize that Deron Washington and A.D. Vassallo will have to carry the team. Washington is almost certain to find himself on one of the all-conference teams come March, and deservedly so; outside of leaping short Dukies in a single bound, there's little that Washington does particularly well, but at the same time, there are few holes in his all-around game. Vassallo is a very good scorer, and on occasion he can take a game over. He has been a defensive liability for his first two years in Blacksburg, though, and that will have to change for the Hokies to have any success.

How the freshmen develop, and how Vassallo, Washington, and the rest of the returnees play without the steady senior backcourt of a year ago will be interesting to watch. Seth Greenberg took a core group of freshmen that arrived in Blacksburg with him four years ago to heights not often reached by Virginia Tech basketball teams. Can he do the same with this group? And will Hokie fans deal with a four-year success cycle?

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