It was a stellar season for the Virginia Tech Hokies in the ACC this season.
Returning six rotation players, including three starters from last year's tournament team, many expected Virginia Tech to go places this season.
A 12-1 nonconference showing allowed the Hokies to emerge early in the national landscape and in a crowded ACC field. They garnered wins over ranked Purdue and Washington.
As a team they were not afraid to jack it up this season. The Hokies were the ninth best 3-point shooting team in the country this season, and are the third best 3-point shooting team in the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies will be a threat in any game in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, but if shots are off it can it ugly.
En route to the third straight appearance n the big dance for Buzz Williams and co., the team wrapped up their season with a monster home victory over national championship contender Duke.
However, the team was without their point guard Justin Robinson for a the later half of the year. Robinson missed 12 games due to a foot injury. Fellow guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker then had the tall task of facing an opponent's best defender and it rippled down the roster. Alexander-Walker is a talented shooter, but is a much better force when he is playing behind another scorer.
Relying on more of their post play than their three-point game, the Hokies slowly transitioned to a slightly more traditional offense. Still that will not stop their big man, Kerry Blackshear Jr. from stepping back when necessary (59 3-point attempts on the year).
Robinson, however, will be back for the NCAA Tournament, which should provide a boost to their offense. It will then allow Ty Outlaw, a 46 percent 3-point shooter, to come off of the bench.
Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams, Virginia Tech has never made it past the Second Round. Under Williams, the program has never won a tournament game.
That can change when the Hokies play Saint Louis Friday at 9:57 p.m. on TruTV.
24-8 (12-6 ACC)
No. 4, East (At-large bid)
First Round Opponent:
No. 13 Saint Louis
The Path to the Final Four:
No. 13 Saint Louis, No. 5 Mississippi State, No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Michigan State
Justin Robinson (13.7 ppg, 5.1 apg)
Nickeil Alexander-Walker (16.6 ppg, 3.9 apg - ACC Third Team)
Kerry Blackshear Jr. (14.7 ppg, 7.4 rpg - ACC Second Team)
MORE NCAA NEWS:
- Expert Opinions: Who is going to the Final Four
- March Madness 2019: Five upset picks to make
- Upsets to Avoid: Don't make these first-round picks
- Path to a Final Four: 5 teams with the easiest journey
- March Memories: Best Buzzer-Beaters since 2010
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