What Happened?

The Virginia Tech men's basketball team is bound for the NIT. I take an in-depth look into why the defending ACC champs fell far short of expectations in 2022-23.

[Virginia Tech Athletics]

The Virginia Tech men's basketball season was unceremoniously put to rest on Wednesday.

A 97-77 beatdown at the hands of NC State in the second round of the ACC Tournament sealed the Hokies' fate. It's not technically the end of the year — Virginia Tech has accepted an NIT bid and will play Cincinnati in their first round matchup — but we know what Tech's goal was: to make the NCAA Tournament.

They failed.

Mike Young's troops finished 19-14 in a rather underwhelming ACC. Coming off the high of the school's first-ever ACC championship, 2023 was like a scooter to the ankle. It brough Tech fans back down to earth and served as a potent reminder that while getting to the top is not so easy, staying at the top is exponentially harder.

Over the past few days, I sifted through all the relevant statistical data, combining the numbers with what my eyes told me. I have condensed my thoughts into this piece — all for you, the lovely denizens of The Key Play, in an attempt to answer the question: what happened to the 2023 Hokies?

Ain't Got the Dudes

I would like to begin with the offense.

When I was doing my preliminary research for this article, I stumbled upon an interesting nugget from ShotQuality. Last year, Virginia Tech led the country in halfcourt offensive efficiency. Yes — the entire country. There was not a single team better at generating quality looks when running halfcourt sets than the Hokies, nor was there any team better at scoring on post-up opportunities.

It's stats like these that make me cringe whenever I see someone criticize Young's scheme. There is nothing wrong with the scheme in general. I have a few minor quibbles (mainly the lack of a slashing element which leads to low free throw attempts), but there is no doubt that Young is an offensive connoisseur. His offenses at both Wofford and Virginia Tech punched significantly above their weight class, especially when you consider that he has done all this without any NBA prospects to carry the load.

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