Basketball is not too far off the beaten path in Blacksburg, starting on November 6th with a doubleheader for both the men’s and women’s teams.
Here’s part one of a two-part series where I’ll predict each team's record, both the non-conference slate and the recently released ACC schedules. We’ll start with the reigning ACC champs and Final Four members in Kenny Brooks’ ladies.
- November 6th vs. High Point: Win
- November 9th vs. Iowa in Charlotte: Win
- November 16 vs. Houston Christian: Win
- November 20 vs. UNC Greensboro: Win
- November 24 vs. Kansas in the Cayman Islands: Win
- November 25 vs. Tulane in the Cayman Islands: Win
- November 30 at LSU: Loss
Between a senior version of Georgia Amoore and a pair of 5th-year returnees in back-to-back ACC Player of the Year Liz Kitley and sharpshooter Cayla King, it will be tough for non-conference opponents to knock off the Hokies. Brooks adamantly showed no fear in scheduling the best of the best, which gives Tech plenty of early challengers in November. The Thursday night primetime matchup against Iowa is an eye-catcher.
I believe the Hokies will prove to be too much to handle for Caitlin Clark’s Hawkeyes and pick up a big opening week victory. From there, the Hokies will remain unbeaten until the daunting trip south to Baton Rouge. Credit to ESPN for scheduling this rematch as part of the first ACC-SEC Challenge, but LSU’s star power improvements with a familiar foe in Haley Van Lith will make them a juggernaut.
- December 6 vs. Long Island: Win
- December 10 vs. Radford: Win
- December 17 at Rutgers: Win
- December 21 vs. William & Mary: Win
Tech returns to Cassell Coliseum for three out of four home games, with a Rutgers trip sandwiched in between to round out the non-conference slate. I predict the Hokies will be 10-1 heading into ACC play. At this stage in the season, Tech will still be in the top 10 but probably not the top five in the polls. However, this team will be the favorite in a predictably stacked ACC.
- December 31 vs. Pittsburgh: Win
- January 4 at Wake Forest: Win
- January 7 vs. NC State: Win
- January 11 vs. Miami: Win
- January 14 at Florida State: Win
- January 18 at Duke: Loss
My bold prediction for the women’s team is that they don’t lose a game inside the hostile confines of Cassell Coliseum. Hokie Nation found out just how great this team was last season, and I expect packed crowds for plenty of Tech home games that wouldn’t have seen a similar occurrence in years past. Regardless, perfection is highly unlikely, but if Tech strives for it, then they can achieve greatness again.
The Hokies will lead off ACC play well, winning their first five contests. Brooks has a strong history against Pitt and Wake. The Wolfpack monkey is off the Hokies' back with Tech’s sweep of NC State in 2022. Miami is down compared to last year and Florida State will prove to be a tough test on the road, but one Tech will be ready for. The next contest against Duke in Durham is where the Hokies will lose their first ACC game of the season.
- January 21 vs. Clemson: Win
- January 25 vs. Georgia Tech: Win
- January 28 at Syracuse: Win
- February 1 vs. Virginia: Win
- February 4 at North Carolina: Loss
- February 8 at NC State: Win
Although the Tigers gave the Hokies one of their four regular season losses in 2022, Tech is too strong this time. Furthermore, the Hokies will send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave with a sweep of Georgia Tech. A trip up to Syracuse will yield another win for the Hokies, as will their first battle against arch-rival UVA in Blacksburg.
Tech will move along and split back-to-back road games in North Carolina, losing to UNC in Chapel Hill before rebounding against NC State for back-to-back sweeps of the Wolfpack. This stretch will put the Hokies at a record of 21-3 before the final six ACC games of the season.
- February 11 vs. Boston College: Win
- February 15 vs. Duke: Win
- February 18 at Lousiville: Loss
- February 25 vs. North Carolina: Win
- February 29 at Notre Dame: Loss
- March 3 at Virginia: Win
Tech will finish the 2023-24 regular season going 4-2 in their final stretch. They’ll finish out a perfect go of things in Cassell Coliseum with a win over Boston College and revenge victories over Duke and UNC. I think Notre Dame in South Bend and Louisville in the KFC Yum Center will be close losses. However, Tech will finish the season with a win and sweep over Virginia in the Commonwealth Clash.
Overall, the Hokies will finish with a record of 24-5, including 4-4 in the ACC. Tech will be battle-tested like they were last year and have perhaps the ACC’s best record going into the tournament. A repetition of last year's success will be a challenging feat to accomplish, but Brooks, Amoore, Kitley, and co. have the talent, culture, and track record to get the job done. The expectations have seldom been higher for any Tech team across all sports in the school's history. One thing is for sure: this team will have quite a ride in 2023-24, and it will be a fun one to watch.