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2023-24 Men's Basketball Preview

By Sam Jessee | November 02
photo by Will Trent

A Program On The Rise

Sam Jessee

"I looked over there one time, bless their hearts I got three freshman in their first college game...what am I doing with my life?"

— head coach Mike Young

That was Mike Young's conundrum after his first night as the head coach of the Hokies.

It was a game where the Hokies got 112 minutes of playing time and 48 points from freshmen, including a 30 point breakout performance from Landers Nolley II.

But this wasn't a sparkling roster of blue chip recruits and elite athletes the likes of which you see at Duke, Kentucky, or Kansas. It was a rag tag, thrown together roster filled with mid-major transfers, under-recruited true freshman, and a couple holdovers from the Buzz Williams years looking to finish out their careers. Truth be told, no one in the Hahn Hurst Basketball Center knew how things were going to shake out.

Fast forward to 2023, and it's a different story. The Hokies have a veteran led roster, high level talent, and an ACC Championship banner hanging in Cassell Coliseum. It's a program with a defined playing style, an eye for talent, and vision for the future. Even with the loss of highly touted guard, Rodney Rice, the Hokies look to be in position for another NCAA Tournament birth and a chance to take the next step as an emerging program in the major college basketball ranks.

There have been some grey skies to break up the sunny days, however. Lack of depth mixed with some untimely injuries have caused the Hokies to see multi-game skids in ACC play in each of the last two seasons, including a 7-game losing streak last January that ultimately dismantled any hopes of an NCAA tournament bid. Even still, it feels like the Virginia Tech Men's Basketball program is lightyears ahead of where they were when Mike Young accepted his dream job in the spring of 2019. It's a been a rebuild that, somewhat surprisingly, has seen the Hokies program reach unprecedented heights with a ceiling far higher than at any point in the program's history.

As for that first game? A 67-60 ACC road victory at Clemson. We should've seen this coming, frankly.

2022-23 Recap

Ed Williams

The 2022-2023 season was a rollercoaster for Virginia Tech. All things considered, finishing at 19-15 wasn't all that egregious. There is a lot to unpack, but I will just focus on a two main topics.


Virginia Tech struggled with attrition a year ago, particularly at the guard spots. Hunter Cattoor, Rodney Rice, and Darius Maddox all missed significant time. Any roster in America dealing with that level of missed time from expected contributors would struggle, and the Hokies did. This level of attrition led to the Hokies dropping 7 straight games at the beginning of conference play, a hole that is really tough to dig out of.


Virginia Tech was a bad defensive team in 2022-23. I know it, you know it, and most importantly the coaching staff knows it. Every chance Mike Young gets he emphasizes the importance of defense and how hard they have worked at it this off season. I believe that the depth issues directly contributed to the defensive issues. Let me explain!

Sean Pedulla was forced to play 35 mins a night a year ago. That is hard on a guys legs, it wears you down. The first two places that kind of wear and tear shows up? Shooting and on defense. This isn't to blame Sean at all, not by any stretch of the imagination. With that being said, if its hard to guard one on one, its really hard to play team defense. Getting beat on ball forces everyone to have to rotate, eventually leading to a good opportunity for the opposition. I expect both on and off ball defense to improve dramatically this year for the Hokies.

Media Predictions for the 2023-24 Season

Sam Jessee

Atlantic Coast Conference

It should come as no surprise to anyone following the sport that without mass departures, Duke and UNC will be (and probably should be) two of the favorites in the conference. That's exactly the case this season.

The Duke Blue Devils return stud big-man Kyle Filipowski, veteran guards Tyrese Proctor and Jeremy Roach, and add four top 25 recruits. They have some difficult stretches in the schedule with back to back road games against the Hokies and North Carolina as well as a 3 game road stand in just 7 days against Florida State, Miami, and Wake Forest. A final three of the Virginia, away at NC State, and the finale against North Carolina would challenge any three game stretch in the country for difficulty and intensity. Still, Duke will look to be favored in most every ACC game, and should feast on the bottom and middle tiers of the conference.

Here's how the media voted the rest of the ACC (total points):

1. Duke (757)

2. Miami (693)

3. North Carolina (670)

4. Virginia (593)

5. Clemson (570)

6. Wake Forest (440)

7. North Carolina State (420)

8. Virginia Tech (390)

9. Pittsburgh (380)

10. Syracuse (321)

11. Florida State (294)

12. Boston College (227)

13. Georgia Tech (157)

14. Louisville (108)

15. Notre Dame (100)

The Miami Hurricanes lost their two stop scorers, Isaiah Wong and Jordan Miller, to the NBA, but there's plenty more pro talent down in Coral Gables. Do-it-all forward Norchad Omier may be the biggest matchup nightmare in the conference, while Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland and sharp-shooter Nijel Pack will look to replace some of the scoring that departed this offseason.

The North Carolina Tar Heels had a massive roster turnover this offseason...except for star forward Armando Bacot. The Heels lost eight players off of last season's team that failed to come close to their preseason #1 hype, but recouped their losses by bringing in five players in the transfer portal, four of them from high-major schools. This will be a really interesting season for the Tar Heels, who will lean heavily on holdovers Bacot and R.J. Davis to steady the ship.

The Virginia Cavaliers will also have plenty of fresh faces on their team. The Cavaliers only return one player from last season that played 20+ minutes a game in all-ACC stud Reece Beekman. No one should ever doubt the developmental abilities of Tony Bennett, but this will be his toughest test since winning the national title in 2018-19.

Teams 5-10 are quite the toss up, as is usual in the ACC. And that's where the Hokies find themselves. In most every major conference pre-season prediction the Hokies land somewhere between 6-9 in the standings. Considering their disappointing 11th place finish last season, that's not a bad launching point. But when you see that the Hokies return their entire starting back-court, added former top-90 national recruit in Tyler Nickel, and supplemented the post with two veteran transfers, you have to stop and think about how what's holding this team back from competing for a top 5 spot in the conference. The answer may be as simple as a quick history lesson.

The Hokies have finished 10th, 7th, and 11th, respectively, in the final ACC regular season standings since Mike Young took over (not including the 3rd place finish in 2020-21 where the Hokies did not play 5 of their last 8 games). Those finishes are much closer to the likes of struggling Florida State program and less Clemson, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest who all are narrowly ahead of the Hokies in predictions across the board. If the Hokies are to take the next step as a program, it will have more to do with better results in January and February, and less with a little March magic.

While the middle of the ACC is a conglomeration of teams with strengths, weaknesses, and new faces, the bottom of the league is home to rebuilding programs. Notre Dame lost all five starters from last year's team, Louisville is in the midst of a toxic and awkward transition phase with Kenny Payne, and Georgia Tech is starting a new era with former NBA assistant, Damon Stoudamire. Ahead of them is a bit more stability, with Boston College and Syracuse looking to take the next steps in their rebuilds with some returning talent and a Florida State team that won big in the transfer portal.

The National Landscape

The traditional Blue Bloods continue to dominate the pre-season expectations in college basketball...except for Florida Atlantic?!

Kansas, Duke, Michigan State, Purdue, and UConn all look to have top-tier rosters with veteran leadership. But the story of the season might be 'can the Owls repeat their dominance?' Florida Atlantic only lost one player from their 2022-23 roster that went 35-4 with a Final Four appearance. They look to be the best mid-major in the country.

The Big East conference has reclaimed all its glory, with Creighton, Marquette, and Villanova joining reigning national champions, Connecticut, in having deep postseason hopes.

The SEC may be the biggest toss-up league in the country, with no clear favorite and a handful of talented teams that could beat anyone on any day. Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Alabama, and Arkansas all have significant talent. But the league may cannibalize itself out of having a top-2 seed in the Tournament.

The Big 10 is top-heavy with Purdue and Michigan State leading the way. Perennial contenders Michigan and Illinois will look to dethrone them, but overall the conference has more questions than answers. Watch out for Northwestern and Rutgers, both of whom combine hell-in-a-cell physicality with sparkling guard play.

In it's final season (we think), the PAC 12 is a cluster of good, not great teams that will battle it out late at night for an at-large tourney birth and the final bragging rights in a very public, very messy breakup. It will be the sporting version of a 'Young & The Restless', and that's just the way we want it.

The Big 12 is home to the consensus #1 team in America, the Kansas Jayhawks. Kansas has a loaded, veteran starting five and the #10 recruiting class in the country to supplement them. Houston will look to continue its dominant regular season form in a more competitive conference, while Texas and Baylor have the talent to secure a top-4 seed in the Tournament.

As for the mid-majors, FAU leads the pack. But close behind, juggernauts Gonzaga and San Diego State return a fair amount of talent and both made substantial additions in the transfer portal (watch out for Wyoming transfer Graham Ike at Gonzaga). New Mexico is another team that did well for itself in the transfer portal while St. Mary's has itself a super star in Aidan Mahaney.

Here's how the AP voted on the preseason Top 25:

Ap preseason college basketball poll on3

Breaking Down the 2023-24 Hokies

(Class, eligibility remaining including 2023-24 season)

Point Guard

Ed Williams

Sean Pedulla (Jr. 2)

After posting an impressive sophomore stat line of 15 ppg, 3.8 ast, and 3.6 reb, its hard to image there is another level to Sean Pedulla's game. That being said, Pedulla's junior season is poised to be a breakout one not only in the ACC, but on the national scale as well. Pedulla played an unsustainable 35 minutes per game last season, a number Mike Young is surely going to protect and monitor as the season progresses.

With a more manageable work load ahead I expect an uptick in production across the board for Pedulla, particularly on defense and in shooting percentage. Look for Pedulla to play somewhere in the 28 min per game range, a number that will allow for fresher legs and some high impact play.

Sean Pedulla soars for an acrobatic layup vs UVA (photo by Will Trent)

Brandon Rechsteiner (Fr. 4)

Backing up Pedulla will be highly skilled freshman point guard Brandon Rechsteiner. The 6'1 guard former 4 star guard brings elite shooting ability to an offense system that prides itself on shot making. He held offers from Clemson, Miami, LSU, Xavier and plenty other big time programs.

Rechsteiner arrives at Virginia Tech with parking lot range, a veteran work ethic, and a high basketball IQ that should allow him the opportunity to earn playing time early.

Shooting Guard

Zach Ozmon
Hunter Cattoor (Sr. 1)

It’s fair to say that Cattoor wasn’t at his best last year due to his lingering elbow injury that kept him out for four games early in the year and inhibited him throughout the rest of the season. Despite the nagging injury, Cattoor exhibited 10.8 ppg, his career high, as well as 2.4 apg and 3.7 rpg. He also lit it up from deep once again, leading the ACC in 3FG% at just above a 42% clip, and became the 50th member of the Hokies 1,000-point club late last season. That 10.8 ppg doesn't show how important his is to the overall success of this offense. Without ball dominant post players Justyn Mutts and Grant Basile, Cattoor should see higher volume of shots and, hopefully, higher scoring totals.

Returning for his fifth year at Virginia Tech (WOW, time really does fly by), Cattoor looks to add more to his locker as he already has an ACC Championship, an ACC Tournament MVP, and a spot on the ACC Tournament First Team all from the 2021-2022 season in his hands.

He is set to play the biggest role he has in all of his previous four years at Virginia Tech and he is most certainly up for the challenge. Expect for multitudes of threes to be raining down in Cassell Coliseum from the hands of Hunter Cattoor.
Cattoor rises for 3 in the Hokies huge W vs UNC (photo by Will Trent)

MJ Collins (So. 3)
When you think of MJ Collins, what's the first word that 2nd comes to mind… Grit? Toughness? Durable? All of these words perfectly describe who Collins is as a player.
Averaging 4.1 ppg and 2,4 rpg, the stats just don’t show enough of what MJ Collins brings to the Hokies. He provided a spark off the bench in his freshman season this past year and started 16 games as well. He is very versatile when it comes to his playtime and always provides energy and rigid play from start to finish.

Coach Mike Young has raved much about the resilience of Collins and with Rodney Rice leaving the program, MJ has his role set for the upcoming year and knows what is expected of him coming into the 2023-2024 season.

MJ Collins shows off his bounce vs UNC (photo by Will Trent)

Connor Venable (Fr. 4)

Hailing from The Heights School in the District of Columbia, Venable is a 6’3 freshman guard who is serving this season as a walk-on to start his collegiate career.

In his high school career, he was a Two-time WCAC All-conference Honorable Mentions in junior and senior seasons. Over his three-year career at The Heights School, he led the Cavaliers (We will allow it) to their first WCAC win in two years as well as leading his team in scoring, averaging just above 25 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 4.1 steals per game.

Although his playing time will be minimal, he adds another potential piece of depth to guard rotation for the Hokies.

Jaydon Young (Fr. 4)

Jaydon Young is a potential freshman name that could be seeing the floor more than Hokie fans think. Projected to be third in the depth chart at shooting guard behind MJ Collins and Hunter Cattoor, the four star recruit and eighth-best player in the state of North Carolina has a knack for scoring the ball and he can get it done in many different ways.

He eclipsed 2,000 career points in his high school career at Greensboro Day School and was a three-time all state, four-time all conference, and three-time conference player of the year. With a great deal of accolades for the incoming first-year guard, he looks to add more to that total.

Michael Ward (So. 3)

The second of two walk-ons for Virginia Tech is Micheal Ward. The sophomore from Bethesda, Maryland, only appeared in six games last season, and totaled six minutes of playing time.

Being in the same boat as Venable, Ward will more than likely not see the floor much again this year and will provide depth for the team.

Small Forward

Sam Jessee

Tyler Nickel (So. 3)

Tyler Nickel is the highest profile of three transfers to come to Blacksburg this season, and with good reason. A consensus top-90 recruit in the country in the class of 2022, Nickel broke a multitude of records in Virginia HS basketball, including all-time leading scorer in the state's illustrious basketball history. Last season at North Carolina, Nickel struggled to see much playing time. The Heels were loaded with talent, and Nickel wasn't quite ready as a freshman to log meaningful minutes in ACC play. He has all-ACC potential offensively, but defensively he's a work in progress.

Nickel will switch between playing the 3 and 4 this season, depending on matchup. Early on he may come off the bench for MJ Collins, who will look to guard the best offensive weapon on the opponent. But if the Hokies need a boost on offense, Nickel can slide into the small forward spot in a small lineup.

Stylistically, Nickel can do it all. He's 6'7" with guard skills and the tenacity and savvy to score in the post. His outside shot is very good, and his finishing at the rim might be the best on the team. Nickel won't beat many defenders off the dribble, however. He's more of a quick slasher when going to the hoop from the wing. If he can step up on defense, Nickel could be a star in Mike Young's system. If not, Nickel will struggle to log more than 15 minutes a contest.

Mekhi Long (Sr. 1)

Old Dominion transfer Mekhi Long will look to fill the energy role that Justyn Mutts excelled at in Blacksburg. At 6'7", Long uses his length and athleticism to out-rebound smaller guards to the tune of 8.7 boards per game last season. As a scorer, Long averaged 10.7 ppg for the Monarchs and got to the free throw line an impressive 7.7 times a contest. That's something the Hokies are in desperate need for after averaging a measly 15.1 FTA per game in 2022-23, good for #332 in the nation.

Long has impressed Mike Young throughout the offseason. His ability to beat players off the dribble will add some burst to the Hokies offense, and defensively he can guard on the perimeter and in the post. Having played 4 seasons of college basketball already doesn't hurt, either.

John Camden (So. 3)

John Camden has had an interesting road to this point in his career. A top-150 player in the nation coming out of the esteemed basketball powerhouse, Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, Richmond-born Camden chose the Memphis Tigers over the Hokies. But early in his Memphis career a season ending injury meant Camden was a medical redshirt who was behind heaps of talent. So, the son of a Hokie alum transferred to Blacksburg.

Camden made a sporadic impact last season, mostly when the Hokies were extremely thin due to injuries. He had plenty of good moments including 17 minutes of lockdown defense against Virginia in the Hokies win in Cassell. This season, he'll be asked to play a few more minutes per game. Camden has a great jumper for a 6'8" forward with long arms, but he only shot 26% from behind the arc last season. His challenge this year will be to be more efficient was he does get his opportunities, because there will be plenty.

Power Forward

Zach Ozmon

Mylyjael Poteat (Sr. 1)

Poteat was a mainstay in the bench rotation last year for the Hokies and that is what they expect of him heading into this new season. He appeared in all 34 games last season and provides a big body down low for Tech which is not something they have a lot of.

Averaging 3.4 ppg and 2.0 rpg playing just about nine mpg, he appeared in all 34 games last season finishing with a 64.2% field-goal percentage. He provides a big body down low for Tech which is not something they have a lot of as well as energy off the bench and consistent and efficient trips to the foul line as he converted 74.2% of his free throws

Patrick Wessler (So. 3)

Although Big Pat redshirted and did not play in the 2022-2023 season, he brought that energy as a part of the bench mob all season and still got work in during practices as well.

Wessler is a question mark in regards to the amount of time on the floor he will see as the season is just about a week away. He is the tallest player on the roster listed at 7’0, something Tech fans aren’t used to seeing.

The potential is there for Pat as he has throughout high school and working with the team that he can be very versatile. He has got a smooth lefty stroke and can possibly be a huge inside presence for the Hokies, we will just have to wait and see.

Robbie Beran (Sr. 1)

Mike Young has been raving about the transfer from Northwestern all offseason and the coaching staff obviously saw something in him to entice him to join Virginia Tech for his graduate year of his collegiate career.

Standing at 6’9, Beran brings versatility and durability to this Hokies squad. He started in all 34 games for the Wildcats last season and shot a decent 34.5% from three which is a match made in heaven for Mike Young. Everybody knows what Virginia Tech basketball has been centered recently and that's durable players who can shoot the three and Robbie Beran can bring that to the table.

He is in line to get good minutes as a starter and provide a much needed veteran role for his squad.

Lynn Kidd (Sr. 2)

Kidd has the potential for a very big year as he is in line to take over the starting center role entering the season replacing Grant Basile, who decided to begin his pro career.

The 6 '10 senior transferred from Clemson after his freshman year and got most of his playing time in his career last season, playing in all 34 games. He is another guy for the Hokies that does his damage down low and can get hot if his teammates get him involved.

A double-double could be exhibited almost every night from this guy if he produces what the coaches think he potentially can. He may very well have the highest ceiling out of the whole roster but that’s just an opinion.

The Schedule

Sam Jessee


The Hokies have what appears to be a very managable non-conference schedule. An early season bout with South Carolina in Charlotte may look like a marquee matchup, but the Gamecocks are predicted to finished dead last in the SEC. The Hokies are guaranteed some more neutral site games in the 'ESPN Events Invitational' in Orlando. Boise State, a very good tournament team from last season, will be Tech's first round matchup, with either VCU or Iowa State waiting in the next round. A road test against Auburn in the ACC/SEC challenge will be by far the toughest test for the Hokies, however the Tigers are expected to take a slight dip in success this year as pre-season #6 in the SEC.

Like all major college basketball programs, the Hokies will go to the bakery and get themselves a half-dozen cupcakes early on. Coppin State, Campbell, Wofford, Valparaiso, and American will all travel to Cassell to collect a check. On the contrary, the Hokies will welcome one of the most successful low-major programs in the country when the Vermont Catamounts come to town. That's a sneaky important game for the Hokies who could grab a win against a tournament team before getting into the meat of the ACC schedule.

Conference Play

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via @HokiesMBB on X

All things considered, this is a favorable schedule. An early season ACC tout against the whimpering Cardinals of Louisville at home should see the Hokies start 1-0, followed by games against fellow middle-of-the-pack teams Wake Forest, Florida State, and Clemson. The Hokies will not play an ACC game at home while students are away on winter break.

The toughest stretch of the season is from January 10-20th, where the Hokies will host the aforementioned Clemson Tigers before welcoming in Miami. After that it's back-to-back road trips to Virginia and NC State. Going 2-2 in that stretch would be a solid result for the Hokies.

The Hokies will not travel to the silent hell that is Conte Forum in Boston, Massachusetts, nor will the Hokies travel to Atlanta to face the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Avoiding those road trips is a breath of fresh air for all Hokie fans.

The home stretch in late February - early March may be make or break. After hosting Virginia on ESPN's Big Monday, the Hokies have away games at Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and Louisville, with home games against Wake Forest and Notre Dame. Anything less than 3-2 in that stretch would be a huge pain for the Hokies come Selection Sunday.

Lynn Kidd showed his ability in the post vs Duke last season (photo by Will Trent)

Storylines to Watch

Sam Jessee

The Loss of Rodney Rice

It will be a hot topic on early season broadcasts, and rightfully so. How will the loss of Rodney Rice impact this Hokies team? In 2023, programs don't have much roster control anymore. It's just the nature of college sports. As far as everyone close to the program knows, things just weren't working out with Rodney at Virginia one's fault, that's sometimes just how life works out. For Mike Young and his program, however, it's the loss of one of the most highly touted recruits in program history and a player who showed flashes of elite playmaking ability in limited action last season. That's never a good thing to have happen a couple weeks before tip off.

Still, it's not like Rice was a major part of the Hokies rotation last season after only appearing in a handful of games. And truth be told, he would've been coming off the bench this season, anyways. But the loss of Rice means the Hokies lose a large amount of potential, and it will be felt in ACC play this season. An injury to Cattoor and/or Pedulla would see the Hokies rely on a true freshman PG in Rechsteiner and would also put a majority of the scoring responsibilities on the inexperienced shoulders of Tyler Nickel. That's no recipe for success. The Hokies have seen a version of that film before. Will it be an underdog story this time, or another horror flick?

Which transfer(s) steps up?

Rodney Rice was the #73 recruit in the class of 2022...Tyler Nickel was #84.

Nickel also broke scoring records in the state of Virginia, including the all-time scoring record held by Mac McClung (Gate City HS) and before him by some guy named Allen Iverson (Bethel HS). His senior season he averaged almost 35 points per game and held offers from the likes of North Carolina and Indiana. He's an efficient offensive player that can score at all three levels and facilitate the ball like a point guard. His issue at UNC was defense, which ultimately led to him only averaging 6 minutes per game. There's questions as to how good Hubert Davis and that UNC staff are at developing defensive players (the Tar Heels have finished #137 and #104 in Defensive Efficiency in their last two seasons), but defense was a knock on Nickel in the AAU circuit in high school. How well he's improved on that side of the floor will be a major factor in whether the Hokies are just a good team, or a really good team.

You know exactly what you're going to get with Robbie Beran and Mekhi Long. They're junkyard dogs that do the little things in the biggest ways. Neither are elite scorers, but both can make plays when called upon and are excellent rebounders with loads of experience. Beran will be key in spacing the floor for the Hokies with his outside jumper (similar to the role Grant Basile played last season) while Long will look more to attack on the dribble and draw fouls (the Justyn Mutts role). Both are solid players that won't like a bit out of place on the biggest of stages.

January Blues?

Over the past two seasons, the Hokies are 37-17 outside of the month of January...and 5-11 in the month of January. That's just...bizarre.

That's also not including three games the Hokies lost to end December last season. Include that, and the Hokies are looking at an abysmal 35.7% win percentage in January over the past two seasons. Whatever the reasons may be, what is now an unfortunate quirk may be dangerously close to becoming a damning personality.

The Hokies will play road games at Florida State, Virginia, and North Carolina State in January this season while hosting Clemson, Miami, Boston College, Georgia Tech, and Duke. That's a tough stretch, but home court has been very kind to the Hokies in the past. No one is expecting a flawless string of games, however failing to win four of those contests may be a death sentence for Tech's NCAA Tournament hopes. The non-conference schedule is interesting, yet lacks marquee matchups while the back half of the ACC schedule sees the Hokies play the bottom half of the conference almost exclusively. With the Hokies looking like a potential bubble team, the eight games in January against top tier competition offer an opportunity to bolster the resume that simply won't exist early or late in the season. Avoiding utter collapse (again) is the obvious key to the Hokies's season.

Goals and Predictions

Sam Jessee

Hanging an NCAA Tournament banner still means a whole lot in this sport. And although the Hokies have been to the Big Dance multiple times in the past decade, the Hokies are yet to join the illustrious group of programs who have reached March Madness in four consecutive years. The Hokies will be starting from scratch after missing out as a fringe bubble team last season, but no better time to start a streak than now!

2023-24 looks to be an interesting year in the ACC. The top dogs Duke, Miami, North Carolina, and Virginia all have major roster turnover and/or questions. After that, it's a smorgasbord of mediocrity followed by bottom dwelling programs that will be more interested in moral victories than anything else. Can the Hokies rise above the pack this season? Certainly avoiding a seven game losing streak would help. But also keep in mind that that the lack of depth that's plagued the Hokies in previous years now looks to be an issue at other programs like Virginia, North Carolina State, and Clemson. If the Hokies can figure this thing out, there's a window to finish in the top half of the ACC and maybe a little bit higher than that.

Lastly, the Hokies need to take that next step from pesky underdog to consistent challenger. Last season the Hokies grabbed wins against Duke, North Carolina, and Virginia on their way to four 'Quad 1' victories. They also had eight losses of the same 'Quad 1' variety. More often than not the Hokies struggled mightily against top competition. It's the type of up and down play you'd expect from a program that is in it's building stages. But now we're in year five, and the time for building blocks has passed. If the Hokies want to be one of the big boys in the ACC, the Hokies will have to win like one.

Staff Predictions

Zach Ozmon

20-11 (12-8 ACC)

I think the Hokies finish seventh in the ACC standings and get into the NCAA Tournament.

Even with the loss of Rodney Rice, I think this team has the depth to make a solid run this year. The only thing they need to watch out for are big losing streaks, as starting slow has been a killer for the Hokies and has dug them in deep holes that are hard to climb out of.

Sam Jessee

21-10 (13-7 ACC)

My optimism for the Hokies is partially fueled by pessimism in the rest of the ACC. I see the experience and depth of the Hokies elevating them to top six in the conference and looking at a #7-8 seed in the NCAA tournament. It will get rough at times, but there are points in the schedule where the Hokies will win five or six games in a row and just stack W's. The 2023-24 season will be a step in the right direction for the Virginia Tech program, and may be the best overall campaign of the Mike Young era.

Ed Williams

21-10 (12-8 ACC)

Hokies have a solid roster, but we haven't seen them put together a full season yet under Mike Young. The combination of veterans, some new additions, and a favorable non-conference schedule should allow the Hokies to put together a tourney resume that sees them slide into the 9-seed slot.

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I'm a born and raised Hokie. My first game in Lane Stadium was in September of 1997 when Tech stomped Big East rival Syracuse 31-3. 

I was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where I developed a passion for local cooking, scenic nature, and everything Orange and Maroon. I graduated from Tech with a degree in Finance in 2019 and received my Master's in Data Analytics in 2021. I'm a certified analytics nerd with a passion for data visualization and modeling, which fuels much of my work.

I joined the Sons team in 2020, and now act as the Website Content Manager overseeing all online content and mentoring our talented tea of writers. I also co-host the Two Deep podcast with Pete B.

I currently work in Virginia Beach, VA, as a data and financial analyst for LifeNet Health, a biotech and organ transplant non-profit.

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