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No. 17: Virginia Tech Hokies

Image (1) acc_basketball_standings32.jpg for post 319

2009-10 record: 25-9 (10-6), tied for third in ACC
Lost to Rhode Island in NIT
Coach: Seth Greenberg, 132-94, 7 years (345-264 overall)
Last NCAA appearance: 2007
2010-11 roster [click here]
2010-11 schedule [click here]

The good: Virginia Tech could challenge Duke for the ACC title thanks to its blend of NBA-caliber talent (Malcolm Delaney) and solid college players (Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson). And that’s not all. Tech brings back the other starters (Terrell Bell and Victor Davila), along with promising sophomores (Allan Chaney and Cadarian Barnes).

The pieces are there for a season-long stay in the Top 25.

The bad: The Hokies will dearly miss senior forward J.T. Thompson, who tore the ACL in his left during a pickup hoops game in September. He wasn’t a starter, but was usually on the court in crunch time. Only Delaney and Hudson played more late minutes. That’s a tough pill to swallow for a team that’s just missed the NCAA tournament the last few years.

The unknown: For once, the Hokies have a respectable non-conference slate with games against Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Penn State and Mississippi State. They should be just fine, but a stumble here and there could add to the NCAA tournament pressure.

Can this team deliver the big wins when they need ‘em?

Mike Miller’s also on Twitter @BeyndArcMMiller, usually talkin’ hoops. Click here for more.