2020 ACC MBB Tournament

Head coach Mike Young yells instructions during the game against UNC. The Hokies were defeated, falling 78-56, March 10 2020

The leaves have started changing, the weather is getting cooler and the days are getting shorter, which means that basketball season is right around the corner. The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team, led by head coach Mike Young as he enters his third season, is set to take the court on Nov. 9 against Maine to start the 2021–22 season.

Tech comes into the year predicted to finish fourth in the ACC with an exciting schedule featuring 30 games full of daunting opponents ahead of them. The most anticipated matchups include Duke, the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, Syracuse and Louisville.

Top Matchup Previews

Dec. 22, 2021 - No. 9 Duke

One of the first real tests the Hokies will face will come during winter break in Durham, North Carolina. The ACC reported that Duke has been predicted to win the ACC Basketball Championship, receiving over half of voters’ first-place votes and earning almost 100 more points more than the runner-up. Duke has a new threat with 6-foot-10, 250-pound freshman Paolo Banchero earning Preseason ACC Player and Freshman of the Year honors. With Jeremy Roach, who has been named to the preseason watch list for the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award, more than likely starting at point guard and Mark Williams returning to the paint following a commanding performance ahead of Duke’s season being shut down due to COVID-19, the matchup against the Blue Devils will be a hard win for the Hokies.

Dec. 29, 2021 and Feb. 19, 2022 - No. 19 UNC

The Hokies will get two shots at the team selected to finish third in the ACC, providing for twice the nail-biting games for Tech fans. The Tar Heels are currently going through a transition with legendary head coach Roy Williams having coached his final season and former assistant coach Hubert Davis taking over the program. UNC ended the Hokies’ time at the ACC tournament last season, so the Hokies will be eager for a rematch in the regular season. The Tar Heels have Armando Bacot, who earned preseason first-team All-ACC honors and has averaged 10.9 points and 8 rebounds in 61 games in blue and white, on their side. Bacot could make both matchups difficult for the Hokies.

Jan. 12, 2021 and Feb. 14, 2022 - No. 25 UVA

No matter the sport, a game against in-state rivals UVA is always anticipated. UVA ended up one spot higher than Tech in the preseason ACC favorites at No. 4. It exited the ACC tournament early last season due to a positive COVID-19 test and are ready for its comeback season. The Cavaliers can still see their 2019 NCAA championship in the rearview mirror, but it is starting to look smaller and smaller, with six of their eight top scorers from last season gone. However, UVA has new blood with four new players added in the offseason, including two transfers who are immediately eligible. It is hard to tell how the team will look this year, but with three-time National Coach of the Year Tony Bennett entering his 13th year as head coach, the Cavaliers are still a huge threat to the Hokies’ record.

Feb. 12, 2022 - Syracuse

The predicted No. 7 team in the ACC will take on the Hokies in Cassell Coliseum for an exciting home matchup for Tech fans. The Orange have Buddy Boeheim, a top returning scorer from last season on the watch list for the Jerry West Award, which recognizes the top shooting guards in Division 1 men’s basketball. Boeheim averaged 17.8 points per game in the regular season and bumped it up to 25 points per game in the postseason for the ACC and NCAA Tournament. The fact that this is a home matchup will give the Hokies some advantage, but it should still be a very competitive game.

March 1, 2022 - Louisville

Right before the start of March Madness, the Hokies will take on the Louisville Cardinals, who finished right after Tech at No. 6 in preseason ACC favorites. The Cardinals will be returning three of their top five scorers, including Samuell Williamson and Jae’Lyn Withers. Williamson averaged 10.7 points and 10.9 rebounds per game towards the end of the season and Withers finished second among freshman rebounders in the ACC. New talent has been added to the team as well, including Noah Locke from Florida. Locke will be a huge addition to the Cardinals, who ranked 330th nationally in 3-pointers made per game.

Bonus Matchup Preview

Dec. 1, 2021 - No. 21 Maryland 

An old rival of Virginia Tech when it used to play in the ACC, Maryland, now in the Big Ten, will welcome the Hokies to its court in early December for the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. From 2005–14, the teams met each other at least once every season and are looking to reignite that competitive energy for the first time in seven years. The last matchup was a loss for the Hokies on March 4, 2014, and Tech will be trying for long-awaited redemption. Maryland finished 17–14 overall last season and was ranked 21st in the AP Preseason Poll. Although not an in-conference matchup, this will be an exciting reunion for the two teams.

Virginia Tech has a long path ahead of them to the ACC and NCAA Tournament, with plenty of opportunities for exhilarating games both home and away. Tech has a team that is ready to start competition with Keve Aluma leading the way. It is set to be a thrilling season for the Hokies as they take on fierce opponents.

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