The Virginia Tech Hokie’s backcourt is back and hoping to turn an inconsistent team from a year ago into a contender this season.
As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.
Virginia Tech started red hot last season and cooled down in a big way, finishing in the bottom half of the ACC and missing the NCAA Tournament.
However, with Sean Pedulla and Hunter Cattoor back, the Hokies have legitimate veteran leadership in their locker room and can turn a lot of heads in the conference.
Virginia Tech loves the three ball. They win their biggest games when they got hot from outside, and this season should be no different with the familiar backcourt. Mike Young will rely heavily on outside shooting to combat the Hokies being a tad undersized.
Also to combat this, Young brings in two transfer forward. Mekhi Long had a great four years at Old Dominion and he should be plugged into the starting lineup right away. Robbie Beran comes over from Northwestern as well to give some frontcourt depth off the pine.
The ACC seems to be reloaded this season and should get back to being a top conference for hoops. But Virginia Tech, who traditionally is not discussed at the top of the league, could surprise fans this year and be a dangerous team late in the season.
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Head coach: Mike Young (22nd season, 5th at Virginia Tech)
2022-23 record: 19-15 (8-12)
2023 postseason finish: Lost to Cincinnati, 81-72, in the first round of the NIT
Notable departures: Grant Basile (Graduated), Darren Buchanan Jr. (Transfered to George Washington), Darius Maddox (Transferred to George Mason), Justyn Mutts (Graduated)
Notable non-conference games: vs. South Carolina (Nov. 10), vs. Wofford (Nov. 19), at Auburn (Nov. 29)
PG: Sean Pedulla (6-1, 195, Jr.)
2022-23 stats: 15.0 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 3.8 APG, 42.6 FG%
SG: Hunter Cattoor (6-3, 200, Gr.)
2022-23 stats: 10.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.4 APG
SF: Rodney Rice (6-4, 195, So.)
2022-23 stats: 7.4 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.9 APG
PF: Mekhi Long (6-7, 200, Gr.)
2022-23 stats: 10.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.3 APG (Old Dominion)
C: Lynn Kidd (6-10, 235, So.)
2022-23 stats: 5.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 66.4 FG%
6: MJ Collins (6-4, 190, So.)
2022-23 stats: 4.1 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.4 APG
7: Robbie Beran (6-9, 215, Gr.)
2022-23 stats: 7.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 0.6 APG (Northwestern)
8: Jaydon Young (6-4, 205, Fr.)
247Sports Composite No. 229 rated recruit
9. Mylyjael Poteat (6-9, 265, Sr.)
2022-23 stats: 2.4 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 0.3 APG, 64.2 FG%
9: Tyler Nickel (6-7, 220, So.)
2022-23 stats: 2.1 PPG, 0.3 APG, 0.6 RPG, 6.0 MPG (North Carolina)
10: Patrick Wessler (7-0, 255, R-Fr.)
Redshirted in the 2022-23 season.
11: John Camden (6-8, 215, So.)
2022-23 stats: 1.3 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 0.2 APG
Virginia Tech Hokies MVP: Sean Pedulla
The junior sharp shooter returns for the Virginia Tech Hokies looking to have the offense run through him. Last year his three point shooting percentage took a hit, going down 10% from his freshman year. But, his volume increased too, as he took 185 threes compared to 76 in his freshman campaign.
Pedulla gets hot quick, and when he’s on, he’s as close to unstoppable as anyone in the ACC. He averaged 15 last year despite shooting at a low clip from beyond the arc, meaning he developed ways to score off the dribble and by the rim.
What makes Pedulla such an intriguing player for VT is the fact that he did not shoot nearly what he is capable of and still averaged 15 last season. He has another year of experience under his belt and got a better supporting cast with him. He’s an early player of the year candidate in my eyes and the Hokies success lies on his shoulders.
Virginia Tech Hokies make-or-break player: Rodney Rice
Rice enters his sophomore season projected to be the third leading scorer by Bart Torvik. In his freshman year, he only played 8 games, dealing with injuries throughout the season.
Rice is taking on a big role this year after not really playing much his freshman year. Hunter Cattoor and Pedulla are experienced vets who know what they have to do to win. Ride on the other hand is in a spot where his first full season has a lot of implications.
It’s a tough ask for a young player with no real experience to take on such a daunting role. However, the fact that Rice has been around the program for two years and had success in his limited game action, he should be suited to have a nice year. If he does, Virginia Tech will certainly be a team to watch out for in the ACC.
Key analytic: AdjD
According to KenPom, Virginia Tech had the 31st best offense in the country according to points per possession. However, their AdjEM was just +10.51, good for 80th in the country.
This difference is due to Tech’s awful defensive metrics, ranking 139th in the country. Virginia Tech allowed opponents to score 70.1 points per game this season, 77.5 in games they lost.
For Virginia Tech this season, the offense is not of worry. Mike Young runs a good system and there should be no concern on how the Hokies are going to score the basketball. However, if their defense struggles as it did last season, history might repeat itself in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech Hokies 2023-24 projections
Projected conference finish: 9th in ACC
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Round of 32