Year two of the Buzz Williams era has arrived with the Virginia Tech Hokies set for tipoff tonight against Alabama State in what should be an easy victory to start the 2015-2016 season.
Last season, the Hokies had their fair share of struggles, but were much more competitive in ACC play than many expected, and won a game in the ACC Tournament after finishing last in the conference. This year, expectations are higher as the Hokies are expected to escape the basement of the ACC.
Virginia Tech has seen a massive roster transformation that has left Devin Wilson as the only player that was on the roster when Buzz Williams arrived. The Hokies brought in five new recruits, two of which are junior college players, along with having two transfers now eligible in Seth Allen and Zach LeDay as a part of the massive roster turnover.
The Hokies have added some much-needed size to the roster with the addition of freshman Kerry Blackshear and junior Johnny Hamilton. Blackshear is not as raw of a big man as Hamilton, and the freshman from Florida seems ready to make a very good impact immediately as a big man that can shoot it from 15 feet.
The most-talked about freshman has been Chris Clarke who was the top recruit in the state of Virginia. Clarke already seems ready to push for plenty of playing time behind the Hokies’ loaded group of wing players that is led by sophomores Justin Bibbs and Jalen Hudson.
Talking about Bibbs and Hudson, the sophomore duo of guards both seem ready to take the next step in their second seasons. Hudson finished last season strong in the ACC Tournament, but the question still remains whether he can consistently bring the same level of energy. If he can, Hudson is the best player on a team that could surpass expectations by more than expected.
Bibbs never really seemed to recover last season from his concussion, but earned a spot on the US U-19 team this summer, and is looking more like the player that put up 13 to 15 points a game early last season. Bibbs and Hudson have the potential to be a very dangerous duo on the outside that can really compensate for the Hokies’ concerns in the frontcourt.
Seth Allen had to sit out last season due to his transfer status, but the former Maryland point guard seems ready this season to step up and make some things happen. In the Hokies’ open scrimmage, Allen looked like the Hokies’ top point guard despite rumors that Virginia Tech was looking at putting Allen more at shooting guard.
Allen brings the type of veteran presence and ACC experience that will only help the Hokies this season.
Buzz Williams has Virginia Tech basketball headed in the right direction, and this season should be the best season that the Hokies have had in a long time after four-straight seasons of finishing with at least a share of last place in the ACC.
The Hokies will face a slightly tougher non-conference schedule headlined by a matchup with #7 Iowa State in the Emerald Coast Classic. Virginia Tech also will host West Virginia and Northwestern(ACC-Big 10 Challenge) along with travelling to Brooklyn to face St. Joseph’s, and playing either Illinois or UAB in a second game of the Emerald Coast Classic.
Virginia Tech has the potential to win some of those games while being a team that can win 6 to 8 games in the ACC this season with the upside of potentially getting to 8 to 10 wins in the ACC and 18 to 20 overall. If the Hokies can get to the 18 to 20 win plateau with the strength of the ACC, the Hokies could be on the fringe of the bubble for the NCAA Tournament with a spot in the NIT a certainty at that point.
Buzz Williams and Virginia Tech are ready to escape the cellar of the ACC this season as the Hokies continue to get better and better.