Monday, June 28, 2010

ACC basketball preview: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech

2009-10 record: 25-9 overall, 10-6 ACC (fourth)

Postseason: NIT (2-1, lost to Rhode Island)

Projected starting lineup: G Malcolm Delaney (left), G Dorenzo Hudson, F Terrell Bell, F Jeff Allen, F Cadarian Raines


• Top-end talent

In guard Malcolm Delaney, Virginia Tech has the top scorer (20.2 points per game) in the ACC and one of its best 3-point shooters.

In forward Jeff Allen, the Hokies' have one of the best defenders (one of two returning players to rank in the top 10 in both steals and blocks) in the ACC and one of the most active post players.

In guard Dorenzo Hudson, the Hokies have one of the top role scorers (15.2 ppg) in the ACC. Hudson has great size for an off guard who can handle the ball and he's capable of carrying the offense if Delaney or Allen's not on their game — as he showed in a 41-point outburst against Seton Hall.

• Experience

Like Duke, VT has both talent and experience. The starting lineup, which returns in tact — although, Victor Davila could be replaced at forward by either Cadarian Raines or Allan Chaney (if he's healthy) — played together for 31 games last season.

Teams that have played together, particularly successful ones, have an advantage over teams that haven't. It's that simple.

• Toughness

The Hokies aren't the biggest team but they might be the most aggressive. There's a general toughness that permeates the program, which starts in the recruiting process.

That an All-ACC talent like Delaney is at Virginia Tech is certainly a testament to Seth Greenberg's recruiting acumen but it's also an indictment of the Washington-Baltimore area schools who overlooked him.

Virginia Tech's roster (save for Allen) is filled with players who were ignored elsewhere and are intent on proving their worth.


• Momentum

Greenberg has out-kicked his coverage at Virginia Tech, where the facilities and remote location would be twin anchors for a lesser coach.

Greenberg has won average of 21 games and nine ACC games over the past four seasons but only has one NCAA tournament appearance to show for it.

At 10-6 in the ACC, there's certainly an argument to be made that VT belonged in the NCAA tournament last year, or for that matter in 2008 after going 9-7, but there's an inconsistency that's holding this program back.

The combination of myopic scheduling, poor out-of-conference results and the propensity to flop on an annual basis in the ACC tournament have all hurt Greenberg.

VT hasn't taken advantage of the limited chances, created by both weak nonconference scheduling and an easy ACC draw. This program should be coming off its fourth straight NCAA trip, instead it's searching for its first berth since 2007.

• Florida transfer Allan Chaney, who's expected to provide inside help for Jeff Allen, collapsed during an April workout and had to be hospitalized.

Dehydration was the cause of the scary episode but how that incident affects Chaney, both mentally and physcially, going forward is a wild card.

Bottom line

This team has the talent, experience, depth and motivation to prove it's better than every ACC team this side of Duke.

With an upgraded nonconference schedule (with high-profile games against Kansas State and Purdue) the list of excuses has been reduced.

Now it's on Greenberg to make sure the team starts *and* ends the season at a high level. Greenberg's the ACC's best coach in February but there's no trophy for that.

His 3-6 ACC tournament record is a blight on an otherwise outstanding resume at one of the toughest places to win in college basketball.

This season will go a long way in determining if Greenberg is merely going to be good at VT or something more.

Returning players
G Malcolm Delaney Sr. 20.2 3.7 4.5
G Dorenzo Hudson Sr. 15.2 3.5 1.9
F Jeff Allen Sr. 12.0 7.4 1.2
F J.T. Thompson Sr. 7.3 4.6 0.6
F Terrell Bell Jr. 6.1 6.1 2.0
F Victor Davila Jr. 5.3 4.2 0.2
G Erick Green Soph. 2.6 0.9 0.9
G Ben Boggs Soph. 2.2 1.4 0.6
F Manny Atkins Soph. 2.2 1.3 0.6
F Cadarian Raines Soph. 1.5 1.8 0.1
F Lewis Witcher 0.8 1.0 0.1
G Tyrone Garland Fr. 6-0 160
F Jarell Eddie Fr. 6-6 185 81
F Allan Chaney (Florida) Soph. 6-9 235

Recruiting analysis by Dave Telep,

Garland: "Exactly the kind of guy V-Tech wins with — moderately recruited at the highest level but definitely a high-major player, Garland will roll into Blacksburg with a chip on his shoulder the size the one Malcolm Delaney carried to stardom. Garland is tough, quick and plays with a Hokie-style edge."

Eddie: "Could be the replacement for Deron Washington, minus the elite bounce. Eddie's a solid athlete with a jump shot that is his calling card. He'll play as a freshman and start later in his career."

-- Joe Giglio


VamPIre Turkey said...

Facilities were an issue for Virginia Tech, but $21 Mil. changed that.