Okay fine. If you want to get literal about it, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team started playing real hoops nearly a month ago. They played pushovers, teams that should’ve been pushovers but weren’t, and two mediocre Big Ten schools. Boom, you’re all caught up.
Now this is where things start getting serious. The defending ACC Tournament champions have just one more cupcake on their schedule: a winter break stocking stuffer against Grambling. Outside of that, it’s all conference opponents and borderline Q1/Q2 matchups against Dayton in Blacksburg and Oklahoma State in Brooklyn. It happened in the blink of an eye, but the time to find out what this basketball team is really made of is here.
It may seem unfair to want to judge this program so early in the season — the calendar literally just rolled into December. But unlike their footballing counterparts across the hall of the Merryman Center, this team has honest to god expectations. They have juice. They have a recently hung championship banner, a deeper, more talented roster and the reeling North Carolina Tar Heels coming into Cassell Coliseum.
They really are more talented. As crazy as it sounds after losing an all-ACC player in Keve Aluma, the Hokies roll deep with at least two players able to step into any position on the floor. Sean Pedulla has exploded in his sophomore season, scoring the fifth most points per game in the conference (17.1) and assisting ninth most per game (4.0). The Hokies are top-40 nationally in points scored, field goal percentage (49.5%) and turnovers (just 33 through eight games).
They were always supposed to be the next evolution of Mike Young’s tenure at Virginia Tech. First came the turnaround, taking the leftover pieces from Buzz Williams’ yard sale and turning it into a real, competitive program again. Then came the “happy to be here” era, stacked with Wofford transfers and misfit toys punching above their weight class. They were scrappy, fun and playing with house money. It didn’t matter that they didn’t go far in the NCAA Tournament, because we were all just happy to be a part of the ride.
I mean shit, remember this?