TSMD ACC Preview: Can Virginia Tech Play Defense?


Jan 30, 2013; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Jarell Eddie (31) reacts after a play during the second half against the Miami Hurricanes at Cassell Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

With College Basketball set to start this week, I projected the final ACC standings and use them to preview each team. Each preview will include the same set-up and my reasoning for picking them where I did. As always, feel free to leave comments or tweet me with your thoughts on each team. 

VirginiaTech’s 2012 offseason was one of the more bizzare off seasons in college basketball. They parted ways with long time coach, Seth Greenberg, and then hired former assistant coach James Johnson. The change came late in the off season, and caught everyone around the ACC by surprise. Even more surprising was how the Hokies started the 2012-2013 season off with seven straight wins and in all but one game posted over 80 points. The wheels began to come off, especially once teams realized that the Hokies were amongst the worst teams on defense. In twelve games teams scored over 80 points and in four games they gave up 90 points (and to think last season was the worst offensive year in college basketball).

Returning Players

Jarell Eddie 12.5 ppg 5.6 rpg 1.3 apg 39.6% FG 32% 3PT

Cadarian Raines 6.6 ppg 6.4 rpg 0.6 apg 48% FG

C.J. Barksdale 5.6 ppg 4.7 rpg 0.6 apg 52% FG

Lost Players

Erick Green 25.0 ppt 4.0 rpg 3.8 apg 47.5% FG 38.9% 3PT

Robert Brown 8.3 ppt 2.4 rig 2.1 apg – Transfer


Donte Clark – 3* SG

Trevor Thompson – 3* C

Devin Wilson – SG

Ben Emelogu – SG

Maurice Kirby – C

Season Outlook

James Johnson not only has to improve his team’s defense, he has to find a way to replace the hole left by the graduation of Erick Green. Last year’s ACC leading scorer won a share of the ACC Player of the Year award and was Mr. Everything for Virginia Tech. Coach Johnson will have to not only find a way to replace the points, but will have to adjust his run and gun style that was so successful at the start of last season. Fortunately for Virginia Tech, they return three players who were major contributors from last season. It also helps that James Johnson has now had a full year under his belt to implement his system and work out the kinks of head coaching

Best case scenario, the combination of Eddie and Raines take a leap and become one of the better front courts in the ACC. Barksdale takes a leap to becoming a better scorer, and is able to replace part of what Erick Green brought to the Hokies. Mixed the leap by Barksdale, the freshmen fill in the remaining void left by Green, and are able to score at a high level. With the full year, Johnson teaches some form of defense, and the Hokies begin to build their program back to the level it was with Seth Greenberg.

While that sounds great and everything, Virginia Tech not only had to replace the 25 points they lost from Erick Green, they also have to replace his playmaking ability. This will prove to be a difficult task for Virginia Tech, since Green brought so much to the table. Even with the full year, it is tough to anticipate the freshmen to be able to defend at the level necessary to compete in the ACC.

Prediction: 3-15 (14th Place)

Virginia Tech will be tested early this season with games against Michigan State (at Barclays Center), West Virginia, and VCU (at Richmond). This should help James Johnson early a lot about his team before they enter ACC play. A December game at Miami can get them off to a good start in conference play. It is tough to call an ACC schedule easy, but only playing Duke, North Carolina, and Syracuse once should help a young Hokie team.