2021-22 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball Bold Predictions

2021-22 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball Bold Predictions
Photo Credit: NCAA Media/Virginia Tech Athletics
Tim Thomas

Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP

TLP: Editor
Nov 09, 2021

Basketball season is here in Blacksburg with both Virginia Tech men's basketball and women's basketball set to open their seasons this evening. With that in mind, our staff has come together to make some bold predictions for Hokies Men's Basketball with our Jawhar Ali sharing his full season prediction.

Tim Thomas: Nahiem Alleyne Earns All-ACC Honors

I've been on the Nahiem Alleyne hype train since he arrived in Blacksburg, but get ready for year 3 of Alleyne to be his biggest breakout yet as he emerges as the lead backcourt scorer pairing very well with Keve Aluma and helping the Hokies be right there in the ACC battle.

Alleyne has shown time and time again that he has that NBA skill of being able to create his own shot, something that scouts will love and make him a candidate to also make a big move on NBA Draft boards this year. Alleyne showed some growth in that area even if his efficiency wasn't that much greater though shooting over 40% from three is a great sign of how Alleyne continues to get better and better.

However, that Florida game felt like a watershed moment where he put it all together and showed that he can be one of the best guards in the ACC this season as someone who can create his own shot and take over a game. With Tyrece Radford gone, the Hokies will need someone in the backcourt to step up and lead the way with Alleyne ready to do just that this season.

On a season prediction note, I think Virginia Tech will finish in the top 4 of the ACC to earn a double bye, and will earn a seed in the 5-6 range in part because they will get off to a fast start especially over the Thanksgiving holiday winning their tournament in Brooklyn headlined by an opening round win over a young but very talented Memphis team.

Of course, that may be a bold prediction fitting in its own right but I also see Mike Young leading the Hokies to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament if not farther.

Andy Loce: Virginia Tech Reaches 2nd Weekend of the 2022 NCAA Tournament

After a rough first season at the helm of the Virginia Tech Men’s Basketball program, Mike Young made a significant jump with the on-court success during the 2020-21 campaign.

While finishing third in the ACC standings with a 9-4 conference record, Young went on to win the ACC Coach of the Year; and now he’s being discussed as one of the top coaches in a very deep conference.

What the Hokies were able to do very well in the beginning of the season was being able to maneuver their way through a pandemic; but that wasn’t the case when it came to the month of February.

It was a very bumpy end to the regular season for the Hokies, which had five of their last seven contests canceled. Something to that magnitude will disrupt the momentum that any team possesses, and it certainly did for the Hokies.

In the postseason, the Hokies lost their opening contest to North Carolina in the ACC quarterfinals followed by a heartbreaking defeat to Florida in the Round of 64 in the NCAA Tournament.

Even with an empty Cassell Coliseum, the support that the program received from the fans shows that the future is very bright in Blacksburg. So the next question for Mike Young’s side lies as, “What’s Next?”

The good news for Hokie fans is that some key players return to the court this season led by Second Team All-ACC Keve Aluma, and other notables including Justyn Mutts, Hunter Cattoor and Nahiem Alleyne.

Bringing back the solid rotation of players in what looks to be a more normal season for the sport of college basketball will definitely put the Hokies in a good position to find success in the ACC.

There were also some key additions that the Hokies brought in during the offseason to help bolster the backcourt in transfer Storm Murphy and freshman Sean Pedulla.

Murphy earned First-Team All-SoCon last season after averaging career highs with 17.8 PPG, 4.3 APG and 3.3 RPG. For Pedulla, he’s a three-star recruit out of Oklahoma that will help bring some youth into the lineup.

These returning pieces with the inclusion of some top talent will definitely give the Hokies a fighting chance in the ACC, but also with a chance to be one of the best programs in the nation.

Many speculated that if the Hokies were healthy during the closing stretch of the regular season, they could have developed a run in the tournament. But with this looking to be a non-COVID season, I think that this is the year the Hokies make the run in the “Big Dance.”

Anything can happen in the closing weeks of the season, and if the Hokies are hot heading into March, they will be a huge threat to many teams on the opening weekend and be a program that will have some serious Sweet 16 aspirations.

Jawhar Ali: Hokies are a Consistent Top 25 Program in 2021-22

The Hokies’ basketball squad has talent and experience for the first time in the Mike Young era, which could lead to more postseason success in his third year. That appears to be the goal in the natural progression of the program, as they lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament last year.

Tech’s out of conference schedule gives them some opportunities to pick up resume-building wins early on, as they have done the past two seasons against Michigan State and Villanova. This year, No. 12 Memphis and No. 21 Maryland provide some of those same opportunities.

The ACC portion of the schedule will undoubtedly be the toughest part of the schedule, although the conference looks to rebound after a subpar overall performance. The Hokies were picked to finish 5th in the ACC, below FSU, Duke, UNC, and Virginia. But with competent big men (Aluma, Mutts) and at least three guards that can break down a defense with playmaking and shooting (Murphy, Alleyne, Cattoor), the Hokies once again have the talent to be able to finish in the top four of the ACC.

The roster has plenty of depth, but it feels like the addition of Storm Murphy is the one move that can raise Tech’s ceiling. If he can put up similar shooting efficiency numbers as he did at Wofford, as well as be the playmaker and primary ball-handler, Tech will be very difficult to stop offensively. Defensively, they may not have a lock down defender but they have size and athleticism that should allow them to be solid in the half court again (ranked 53rd in Defensive Efficiency per KenPom in 2020).

This is a team that should flirt with a top 25 AP ranking throughout the season.

Prediction:

  • Non-conference record: 9-2
  • ACC: 11-7
  • Overall: 20-9
  • Quarterfinal finish in ACC Tournament
  • Round of 32 exit in NCAA tournament