A Year of Firsts for Virginia Tech Basketball in 2019
Mar 18, 2019
It has been a historical year for the Virginia Tech men's basketball team, and it has included a lot of firsts for the program. As the Hokies prepare for the NCAA Tournament, we look back on some of their accomplishments this season.
AP Top 25 Poll
Virginia Tech was ranked 16th in the final AP Top 25 Poll that was released today, marking the Hokies' 20th straight week in the poll.
That is the longest such streak in program history, beating out the previous streak of 18 consecutive weeks. It is the first time in program history that Virginia Tech has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for 20 or more consecutive weeks.
Throughout the season, the Hokies have never been in any significant danger of falling out of the top 25, something that was almost impossible to imagine when Williams first arrived in Blacksburg. The Hokies also were able to briefly climb in the top 10 and likely could have made another run at the top 10 if Justin Robinson did not get hurt against Miami.
Justin Robinson Breaks A Pair of Records
In the Hokies' game against Syracuse on January 26, senior point guard Justin Robinson achieved two firsts in Virginia Tech program history. Robinson became the first player in Virginia Tech history to make 9 three pointer in a single game, surpassing the previous record of 8 by Ty Outlaw against Miami in 2017.
In addition, he moved into first place on the list of all-time assist leaders at Virginia Tech with his 548th career assist. His 8 assists in that game moved him past both Malcolm Delaney and Bimbo Coles on the all-time list. Robinson also added three more assists against Miami on January 30th before injuring his foot.
While Robinson may not be the best scoring point guard, there is almost no doubt that Robinson is the best passing point guard in VT's history and is on the verge of leaving a legacy that stands among the greats in Virginia Tech history.
He will have a chance to add to his 551 career assists and his lead on the all-time list when he returns to the Hokies' lineup on Friday.
Hokies Go 3-0 Against Miami
Virginia Tech's victory against Miami in the ACC Tournament marked the third time that the Hokies had defeated the Hurricanes this season. It's the first time ever that Virginia Tech has defeated an ACC opponent three times in a single season.
Furthermore, it marks the first time since the 1982-83 season that the Hokies have defeated any team three times in a single season. The last time they achieved that feat was against Southern Mississippi.
Virginia Tech Earns 12 Regular Season ACC Wins
Buzz Williams led the Hokies to a 12-6 ACC record in the regular season, which marked the first time in program history that the Hokies had exceeded 10 wins in ACC play. In their previous 14 seasons in the conference, Virginia Tech had achieved 10 ACC wins 5 separate times, but they had never crossed that mark.
For the Hokies to go from the cellar of the ACC to consistent mid-pack program to being among the top tier in the conference is an impressive growth trajectory. Given that the Hokies did this without Justin Robinson for 10 of those conference games makes how the Hokies adjusted and succeeded even more impressive.
Hokies Make Third Straight NCAA Tournament
Virginia Tech earned their third straight NCAA Tournament bid on Sunday. This marks the first time that the program has ever made it to 3 consecutive NCAA Tournaments.
Previously, Virginia Tech had made back to back NCAA Tournament appearances in 1979/1980 and 1985/1986. However, the Hokies had never received a third consecutive bid until now, a testament to the job Buzz Williams has done taking a team that finished in at least a share of last place from 2012-2015.
Top 4 Seed
Last but not least, with Sunday night's announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket, Virginia Tech earned a top 4 seed in the tournament for the first time in school history.
The Hokies previous highest seed was a 5 seed in the 2006-07 season. That year, Seth Greenberg led them to a 22-12 overall record, including a 10-6 mark in ACC play.
This season, Buzz Williams' Virginia Tech team surpassed those numbers. Williams led the Hokies to a 24-8 overall record and a 12-6 record in conference. The Hokies were also able to accomplish this without Justin Robinson for their last 12 games.
Those successes this season helped Virginia Tech earn the 4 seed in the East Region. Duke (1), Michigan State (2), LSU (3), and Mississippi State (5) round out the top 5 seeds in the East.
Virginia Tech looks to continue their historically successful season in the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies will take on 13 seed St. Louis in their first game of the tournament on Friday, March 22. Tip off is set for approximately 10 pm. in San Jose, California. The game will be broadcast on TruTV.
Photo Credit: Bobby Murray
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