The Hokies entered the ACC season with 11-3 record, and I think most ACC followers felt Virginia Tech could be a fringe NCAA tournament team. A disappointing and rather surprising 0-3 ACC start has the Hokies not thinking about the NCAAs, but of how they can crawl out of last place in the conferece. Our resident Virgina Tech expert @HokieGuru, appropriately asks the question “Where do the Hokies go from here?”
So you’ve seen the headlines – Virginia Tech men’s basketball starts 0-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and no quality non-conference wins – we’ve seen this movie for five years now – and let me tell you, I can’t find a lot of wins on the ACC schedule for the first half of the ACC season – we might be looking at an 0-8 ACC start. Where do we go from here? @HokieGuru has answers for you.
What is the short-term goal?
It sounds cliché, but the young Hokies just need to play a little smarter. For example, the Hokies had 17 turnovers against a Boston College team that lost games to UMass, Holy Cross, Boston University, and Harvard. You can’t win games when you make mistakes like that. This isn’t the only game where unforced errors have cost the Hokies. It’s been a pattern this year and will cause several massive problems if not corrected as we progress through the ACC schedule.
The Hokies have also been outrebounded in multiple games – and this sort of thing needs to stop. When we play teams that are bigger, we might have to use a line up of CJ Barksdale, Victor Davila, and Cadarian Raines – meaning Jarell Eddie might have to come off the bench. We saw Barksdale, Davila, and Raines on the floor at the same time vs. Boston College and that worked well. Many of you that follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been a proponent of starting Raines, Barksdale, Robert Brown, Erick Green, and Jarell Eddie. But Seth Greenberg will start the seniors, Davila and Dorenzo Hudson, the rest of the year. They will not be coming off the bench (he is too stubborn to bring them off the bench).
The Hokies need to get tougher. Toughness is a major issue here. I look on the team for a Terrell Bell type of basketball player – and I can’t find one. Bell always did the dirty work – went out there and played defense on the opposing team’s best offensive player – and went hard for rebounds every time on the offensive and defensive side of the court. Bell (who’s birthday is today), in short, never took a play off. Duke, North Carolina, Virginia, and Florida State fans are well aware of Terrell Bell. Who is the 2011-2012 Terrell Bell? We don’t have that answer. If you recall, that was Question #3 in my 2011–2012 Virginia Tech men’s basketball preview at All Sports Discussion.
What is the long-term goal?
Look, with four new freshmen in our men’s hoops 2011-2012 rotation (albeit, talented freshmen – ESPNU’s 12th ranked recruiting class), this wasn’t going to be an NCAA tournament team (and an NIT appearance might actually be looking slim). Therefore, I think we can rule out Question 8. This is a young team. It might not be an NCAA tournament team in the 2012-2013 season. Realistically, Hokies fans should expect their men’s hoops team to be in contention for an NCAA bid every 3-4 years – we are not Duke, North Carolina, or Kentucky and the freshmen will not just come in and take the team to an NCAA tournament (it was a miracle that we were listed in any brackets this year).
What is Seth Greenberg’s status?
Unless we go 0-16 in the ACC, Seth Greenberg is safe (and quite frankly, I still think he would be safe). Greenberg will not be fired this year and his four-year contract extension (at $1.2 million a year) kicks in next year. As long as Jim Weaver (who has health problems) is the Virginia Tech Athletic Director, Greenberg will not be fired. Weaver’s contract runs through 2015. A new athletic director could mean a new coach, but that doesn’t always mean that could be a good choice – it took Maryland and North Carolina State several attempts to get their coach – but, at the same time, it could also be a good choice – you never know how that is going to work out. But we do know that, unless the bottom drops out of the ACC schedule, Greenberg is safe.
So why are some Hokies fans bothered with Greenberg’s antics?
To be fair, Greenberg cannot be totally blamed for the unforced errors, the turnovers, the shot selection, and some of our rebounding troubles – some (or much) of that is on the players. At the same time, Greenberg doesn’t take personal accountability for the losses. He always says — “We got jobbed!” ”They are certifiably insane!” “Clearly they have something against VT!” “We need more guys to step up!” “We need more guys contributing!” “We need more from our upperclassmen!” These are the kinds of things I’ve listened to the last five years as a season ticket holder. Not once have I seen him take personal accountability for any coaching mistakes. Surely, there better coaching decisions that Greenberg thinks he could have made. Surely, Greenberg wishes he could take some things back. Many fans don’t see any remorse on Greenberg’s part, though, and this is what causes immense frustration in HokieNation.
What is the forecast for the rest of 2012?
The NCAA road map I posted at All Sports Discussion before the ACC season is out the window now.
Realistically, I think you could look at the 2011-2012 Hokies as a 6-10 or even a 4‑12 ACC team (North Carolina is going to be an angry team when they visit Blacksburg this week – the Tar Heels losing to Florida State was the worst possible outcome for Hokies fans – and North Carolina didn’t just lose – they got drilled hard – and the are going to want to make up for that.). As I said above, there’s a very real possibility that we start out winless in eight ACC games. However, there are no expectations now and the Hokies can just have fun on the court and improve as a team – which means we might even see a few feel-good upsets – and this could lead to sort of a semi-run – maybe winning a game or two in the ACC tournament and a possible NIT appearance.
Stay strong HokieNation!! Courage!!