Tipoff has arrived for the Virginia Tech Hokies as the second year of the Buzz Williams era gets going tonight against the Alabama State Hornets. The Hokies will look to get off to a strong start tonight with #7 Iowa State looming in Virginia Tech’s fifth game of the season on Black Friday.
Alabama State went 19-10 last season including 14-4 in conference, but did that in arguably the worst conference in the country, the SWAC. The Hornets also have some experience, and the Hokies won’t be able to sleep on an Alabama State team that will see this as a chance to get a signature early-season win.
Chris Clarke, Kerry Blackshear, Justin Robinson, and Johnny Hamilton are all expected to make their collegiate debuts tonight while Seth Allen and Zach LeDay will make their Virginia Tech debuts. After the Hokies held an open scrimmage recently, many Virginia Tech fans will be intrigued to see what the Hokies do tonight.
Virginia Tech has improved their numbers in the frontcourt, which will make it interesting to see how that affects the Hokies’ lineups. Virginia Tech has much more talent in the backcourt than the frontcourt, which may mean we see some lineups with one big man and four wing players with the intention of spreading out the defense and attacking the rim from the perimeter.
With the Hokies’ depth on the wing, Chris Clarke doesn’t seem likely to start, but no one should be surprised if he sees significant minutes while Kerry Blackshear may have a chance at starting. Blackshear showed a lot of upside in Virginia Tech’s open scrimmage and may be ahead of most of the Hokies’ experienced big men.
Seth Allen makes his return to the collegiate, and seems ready to make sure that plenty of people know that he is back at the collegiate level. Allen may start at shooting guard and not the point, but the redshirt junior has shown the poise that made Hokie fans very excited when Allen decided to transfer from Maryland to Virginia Tech.
Jalen Hudson shined against Duke and Miami in the ACC Tournament, but had games where he barely played, and didn’t seem to show up when he played. If Hudson comes out with the intensity tonight that he has had in the biggest of games last season, that will be a sign that Hudson could be ready to have a big season after showing some promise last season.
Alabama State will push the Hokies some, but Virginia Tech will be ready for this game led by Seth Allen in his Virginia Tech debut. The Hokies will make sure that they do not become the next N.C. State, Georgetown, Wisconsin, or UCLA and lose to a team that no one expects them to lose to.