Location: Blacksburg, VA
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Last Year’s Record: 19-15
Why they’ll make it: Juniors Jeff Allen, a forward, and Malcolm Delaney, a guard, are two of the most underrated players in the country. They both score in double figures and return to lead a Hokie squad that has been on the verge of making the tournament the past two seasons. Not many teams in the country, let alone the ACC, can claim to have a duo as talented as these two. The Hokies also have the fourth and fifth leading scorers in J.T. Thompson and Dorenzo Hudson returning as well. It’s easy to see that this team plenty of talent coming back this season. With freshman Manny Atkins out of Georgia to sure up the reinforcements, the Hokies may break their way into the Big Dance this season.
Why they won’t make it: The Hokies have talent, but replacing A.D. Vassallo will be a huge challenge. He was their leading scorer and the senior leader. He was the guy the Hokies looked to carry them when things got rough. His 19 points-per-game will be missed. The problem for the Tech is to try get those points from other places. Delaney and Allen will take more of the load, but they aren’t going to make that difference up collectively. They’ll need one of the role players to step into a role they’re not accustomed to. If no one is up to the challenge, the Hokies may be singing their “shoulda, coulda, woulda’s” again.