Through nine games of the 2023-24 season, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team is 6-3. They have had some mixed results in the early going and are sitting at 1-0 in the ACC after beating Louisville Sunday afternoon at home, 75-68.
There is a lot of work left for Mike Young and his team and a lot to improve on before conference play begins in full at the end of December with a trip to Wake Forest. As the Hokies face a six-day break in between games, here are some early thoughts on the first nine games.
Virginia Tech men’s basketball positives & negatives through nine games
- I have said it before and I will say it again, getting Hunter Cattoor some looks and having some shots drop early is vital in each game. Teams lately have done a nice job taking him, but boy, once he gets going, he’s a very good shooter.
- Lynn Kidd continues to be a very good player on the inside for the Hokies. He provides Young with an inside option and his ability to finish around the basket.
- Sean Pedulla has been hit or miss this season and that was the case in the last two games against Auburn and Louisville. He had trouble handling the ball against the Cardinals and had five turnovers. When he’s been good, like against Boise State and Iowa State in the ESPN Events Invitational last month, he’s taken over games late. The Hokies need a consistent Pedulla.
- If there was one thing that Florida Atlantic, Auburn, and Louisville exploited, it was that Virginia Tech struggles with pressure and a lot of that had to do with Pedulla’s struggles. There are better and more athletic teams in ACC that the Hokies are going to see and they are going to see more and more pressure as the season goes along.
- When the Hokies lost at Auburn, not only did the Tigers’ pressure and length bother them, but you could tell the crowd played a factor as it was the Hokies’ first true road game.
- Defense is still an issue for Virginia Tech. Last season it cost them some games and ultimately a berth in the NCAA Tournament and they had to settle for the NIT. If they are going to be one of the 68 teams in the dance this season, improving the defense is a must.
- Tyler Nickel has provided the Hokies a spark off the bench this season with his shooting, while freshman Brandon Rechsteiner has had his moments. Rechsteiner getting some experience in the non-conference games is going to be huge in the second half of the season.
- It was nice to see MJ Collins have a breakout game against Louisville after missing the Auburn game with an injury. He dropped a career-high 20 points on the Cardinals and was perfect at the free throw line (7-for-7) and on 3-pointers (3-for-3). His energy on the defensive end was missing at Auburn.
Sitting at 6-3 through the first nine games is not a surprise, but the schedule lightens up before the end of the month and they need to take advantage of it to collect some wins before ACC play kicks into high gear.