Last season the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team started off hot, winning eight of their first nine games of the year.
Their season concluded on a more frigid note however, winning just four of their final 18 contests.
Now, with the 2013-14 schedule being released last week, new struggles present themselves in what the program hopes will be a bounce back year.
The Hokies campaign begins with four straight home games — the most notable of which, a 1 p.m. matchup against West Virginia on Nov. 12 on ESPN — before heading up to Brooklyn to compete in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
The Hokies will take on Michigan State, the first meeting ever between the two teams, in the Barclay’s Center on Nov. 22. They will then compete against either Seton Hall or Oklahoma on the 23 depending on how day one plays out.
After three more non-conference games, all of which are in Blacksburg, the Hokies begin their ACC schedule on Dec. 8 in Coral Gables against the reigning ACC champion Miami Hurricanes. Tech commences conference play nearly three weeks earlier than they did last year as a result of conference expansion.
Of the Hokies 12 non-conference games, none of them are true road games. Nine of them take place inside the friendly confines of Cassell Coliseum, while the other three are played at neutral sites. However, the Governor’s Holiday Hoops Classic against VCU on Dec. 21 is in Richmond, and if the Hokies end up playing Seton Hall in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic the New Jersey team will probably be represented much more predominantly.
The Hokies will shift their attention to conference play full-time on Jan. 7, when the Hokies take on the Syracuse Orange; it will be the first game on the road in the ACC for the Orange. Despite being new to the ACC in 2013-14, the Orange are 2-0 against Tech in conference play dating back to when both schools were members of the Big East. It will also be the first time famed head coach Jim Boeheim has coached in Blacksburg since 1978.
In addition to the Orange, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh have left the Big East and are making their ACC basketball debuts in 2013.
Virginia Tech will head to South Bend to take on the Fighting Irish on Jan. 19 and to Pittsburgh on Feb. 8. Both schools, like Syracuse, were undefeated against the Hokies in Big East play (6-0).
As part of the 18 game conference schedule the Hokies will play in-state rival Virginia twice (Jan. 25 in Charlottesville and Feb. 18 in Blacksburg).
The Cavaliers hold a 28-13 series lead all-time over the Hokies including five of the last six.
No matter how you look at it, success will be limited for Virginia Tech on the hardwood in 2013. The squad, which lost the nation’s leading scorer from a year ago in Erick Green, has just one senior, Jarrell Eddie, and the 2013 recruiting class lost one of its most prominent members.
Donte Clark, one of the Hokies most talented commits, was denied admission to Tech after failing to meet academic standards. He has since committed to the University of Massachusetts.
The Hokies wrap-up the regular season with games on the road against Maryland (March 4) and Georgia Tech (March 8). The game against the Terrapins will be the final conference matchup between the two in the forseebale future before Maryland heads to the Big Ten next year.