Winning record possible for the Virginia Tech basketball team?


The Hokies will be hard pressed to finish the season with a winning record, but it is possible.

The expectations were high for Buzz Williams when he arrived at Virginia Tech last year. His record at Marquette spoke volumes of the success he could have at Tech, going 139-69 in six years, taking his team to five NCAA tournament appearances, including an elite 8 appearance. There seemed to be plenty of disappointment after last season, when the Virginia tech basketball team finished with a 11-22 record in his first season in Blacksburg, which included an ABYSMAL 2-16 ACC record. Needless to say, finishing with a winning record this year would mean a drastic improvement from last year.

So can it be done? Should we give Buzz another year or two for the young players to peak or can the Virginia Tech basketball team finish this year with a winning record? I’m going to exclude the post-season here and just look at the regular season. So far this year, Tech is 7-3, with Grambling State on Saturday likely making it 8-3. Good start right? Not so fast my friend. Last year Tech started 8-4 before going 2-17 starting with a loss against West Virginia. Tech plays West Virginia on December 30th this year, beginning a stretch of very, very difficult basketball eerily similar to last year.

Dec 13, 2015; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Zach LeDay (32) dribbles the ball against the Lamar Cardinals in the first half at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

ACC play starts three days later against NC State. Let’s take a look at the ACC teams they’ll be playing. We’ll start with the ranked teams: Virginia twice, Duke, UNC, Louisville, and Miami twice. For Tech to have a winning record at the end of the season, they’ll want to pull off an upset in at least one of these games. Wacky things have happened in the past against UVA. Last year, UVA was #2 in the country and really struggled to get by a much less talented Tech team. Blacksburg always turns up when the Hoos come to town and Tech could be a trap game for them. Miami is another team that Tech could surprise, especially with two chances to figure them out. I don’t see Tech beating Duke, UNC, or Louisville. Too much talent.

So lets say Tech goes into ACC play 9-4, and then goes 1-6 against top 25 ACC opponents; they’d be at 10-10. That means the Hokies would need to have a winning record against non-ranked ACC opponents, something they didn’t come close to accomplishing last year (2-10). They have 11 games this season against non-ranked ACC opponents, so they’d have to go 6-5 or better. Do-able, but I don’t think it’s likely. Virginia Tech has a Power Basketball Index ranking of 80, but let’s take a look at the rest of the ACC. I’ve bolded the non-ranked ACC opponents that Tech will need to go 6-5 against in order to have a winning record.

More from Virginia Tech Men's Basketball

4. Louisville

8. UVA

9. Duke

10. UNC

12. Miami (Fl)

18. Notre Dame

19. Pittsburg (2x)

30. Florida State

42. Georgia Tech

72. Syracuse

80. Virginia Tech

87. NC State

97. Clemson

122. Wake Forest (2x)

224. Boston College

So as you can see, Virginia tech is expected to go 5-6 based on BPI. ONE GAME short of a winning season. Of course, BPI will become more accurate once conference play starts, so who knows how accurate these rankings are, but the point is, it’s going to be REALLY close. I will say this, if Virginia Tech doesn’t finish with a winning record this year, they WILL next year. I’ve stated this pretty repeatedly, the Hokies are a very young team and the fact they could potentially finish the year with a winning record, being in the ACC, as young as they are, is very impressive.