#18 Virginia Tech Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Virginia Tech Hokies
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #18
Conference Rank: #5 ACC
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Coach Buzz Williams has quickly brought some positive stability to the Virginia Tech program. After a tough debut campaign in 2014-2015, the Hokies have now won 20 or more games three times in a row and reached the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. And, with four starters returning, this should be the best team Coach Williams has at Virginia Tech. That means this group could win their first NCAA Tournament game since 2007 and potentially win more than one tournament contest for the first time since 1967.
2017-18 Record: 21-12, 10-8
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Buzz Williams
Coach Record: 74-60 at Virginia Tech, 227-146 overall
Key Departed Players:
Justin Bibbs, Guard, 13.3 ppg
Tyrie Jackson, Guard, 3.0 ppg
Devin Wilson, Guard, 2.8 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Justin Robinson, Senior, Guard, 14.0 ppg
Kerry Blackshear Jr, Junior, Forward, 12.5 ppg
Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Sophomore, Guard, 10.7 ppg
Ahmed Hill, Senior, Guard, 10.6 ppg
Chris Clarke, Senior, Guard/Forward, 8.2 ppg
P.J. Horne, Sophomore, Forward, 4.6 ppg
Wabissa Bede, Sophomore, Guard, 2.5 ppg
Ty Outlaw, Senior, Guard/Forward, DNP last season
Key New Players:
Jonathan Kabongo, Freshman, Guard
Landers Nolley II, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Brendan Palmer, Freshman, Guard
Tyrece Radford, Freshman, Guard
Isaiah Wilkins, Freshman, Guard
All five starters averaged double digits in the scoring department last season and four of them are back. Justin Robinson leads the way after averaging 14.0 points and 5.6 assists last season. The senior point man is a very good defender and a consistent outside shooter on top of his impressive passing game. Robinson will again set up his talented backcourt mates, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill. Both are a big reason why the Hokies ranked first in the ACC in three-point field-goals per game and three-point field-goal percentage. The return of Ty Outlaw from injury will make this an even more dangerous outside shooting team. Chris Clarke, a 6-6 wing, was the sixth man last year and he led the team with 6.3 rebounds per game. Virginia Tech asked a lot from forward Kerry Blackshear last season. The 6-10 forward does much of the work in the paint, but with big wings like Clarke and Alexander-Walker, the Hokies should be able to do a little bit better on the glass after boasting a -1.6 rebound margin last season. Virginia Tech may still get dominated in the paint against bigger, tougher ACC teams, but they can make up for it, and then some, if they can continue to shoot the ball efficiently.  
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 79.8 (46th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.2 (169, 9)
Field-Goal Percentage: 49.9 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 43.0 (112, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.8 (78, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.8 (30, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.9 (189, 11)
Rebound Margin: -1.6 (259, 14)
Assists Per Game: 16.4 (22, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.0 (96, 6)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#19 Nickeil Alexander-Walker
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#61 Landers Nolley