Record: 22-10 (10-8)
NCAA Tournament Seed: 9 (East)
How they got to the Big Dance
Virginia Tech opened the season with four straight wins before falling in a close loss at home to Texas A&M. Virginia Tech then went on an 8-game winning streak that included a 15-point comeback win on the road against Michigan and a definitive 89-75 win over then ranked No. 5 Duke.
After their statement win over Duke, Virginia Tech lost a pair of games on the road before returning home and winning two of their next three games. The Hokies returned to the road where they first earned a narrow 82-81 win over Clemson before losing in Chapel Hill to then-No. 9 ranked North Carolina.
Virginia Tech lost two of their next three games before beating then-No. 12 ranked Virginia at home in double overtime, just 11 days after getting blown out by them on the road. After their second big home win on the season the Hokies went on to win five of their last seven regular season games, with another big win coming at home against then-No. 25 ranked Miami. Virginia Tech opened the ACC tournament with a win over Wake Forest before falling to No. 16 Florida State.
Why they’re a legitimate contender
Virginia Tech beat some good teams this season. At home they were able to take down three strong, ranked teams in Duke, Virginia and Miami. They showed that they can hang tough with the best teams in college basketball. They did not always do that away from home, but the tournament is played on neutral courts.
Virginia Tech can keep up with the best teams when it comes to scoring points. This season they averaged 79.3 points per game, leaving them 48th in Division I in points per game. Virginia Tech was also one of the best teams at selecting shots from beyond the arc this season. Their .403 3-point percentage was the 13th best in Division I.
Virginia Tech has beaten some of the best teams in the country this season, they have a strong offense and have been great beyond the arc. Due to all of these reasons Virginia Tech could make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Why they’re not a legitimate contender
Virginia Tech really struggled with rebounding this season. The Hokies ranked 320th out of 351 Division I teams in rebounds per game with just 32.6 boards a game. On the offensive glass they were one of the worst teams in this country, only averaging 7.3 offensive rebounds per game, leaving them 338th in offensive rebounds. If Virginia Tech come up against any teams that excel at crashing the glass they will struggle.
As a result of their high scoring offense Virginia Tech gave up a lot of points on defense this year. The Hokies gave up 74.4 points per game, leaving them 230th in Division I. They did not do a good job at containing teams on defense, something that could be an issue in the tournament when they come up against strong teams that can pick them apart on defense.
Player to watch: PF Zach DeLay
If Virginia Tech is going to progress in the tourney, senior Zach DeLay will be incredibly important to their success. DeLay led the Hokies in rebounding and scoring this season with 7.4 rebounds per game and 16.3 points per game.
DeLay had some monster games this year, such as his 31 point, 15 rebound game against Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament. DeLay had some really strong performances this season, it will be interesting to see if he continues to do so in March.
DeLay was incredibly important for the Hokies this season. The team struggles at getting boards and they will need DeLay to dominate around the rim on offense and defense if they want to advance in the NCAA Tournament.