Just in case you need a breather from an otherwise dreary fall sports season, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball may be the antidote to all your ailments.
The hoopin’ Hokies start the 2022-23 campaign 5-1 after beating Old Dominion and Penn State in the Charleston Classic before falling to host school College of Charleston in a barnburner. They have beaten their low-major league with ease, winning their first three games by an average of 27 points. In a month that has seen many setbacks, let’s not forget the old adage: a win is a win, and in the beginning Tech cares a lot about wins.
While the Hokies certainly don’t make life easy for the foolishly challenged in their tendency to play close games, you can’t say they aren’t fun to watch. Virginia Tech has a top-20 offense in the country backed by a 6’9 forward in Grant Basile who shoots 46% from three. Silky smooth point guard Sean Pedulla has transitioned seamlessly into his role to full-time starter, shooting and distributing at a level high enough to earn him a label as one of the most efficient offensive players in the country.
Mind you, Darius Maddox still hasn’t found his three-point hit, and four-star recruit Rodney Rice has another minute to play. This team is good, folks.
If you haven’t been following Tech Basketball much this season, you’re in luck! Because I did, and today I’ll tell you about everything that’s going on in Mike Young’s fourth season in Blacksburg. The Hokies come from a polished team, but if there’s one thing we learned a season ago, it’s that they don’t hand out trophies in November. It’s been a long campaign, but early indications are that the Hokies – flawed as they are – have the pieces to compete with the best in the ACC.
Quality of appearance
While Virginia Tech’s offense didn’t work to its full potential this weekend, we need to remind ourselves of two things. First, the Hokies are in the middle of an unusually bad shooting game, hitting just 19.5% of their three-point attempts (9-of-46) against Penn State and Charleston. Second, this violation is still For real good. The Hokies rank 16th in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, roughly where they were last season.
However, looking at the games, I felt like Tech’s attack didn’t quite get the quality of look they normally do, and the advanced stats back that up. ShotQuality tracks the expected value for each shot a team makes, based on various factors such as shooting skill, defense, and distance. It’s a great way to gauge how well an offense generates quality looks – while a contested fading three-pointer at the end of the shot clock and a wide-open three on a set both count the same, one is much more durable than the other.
Virginia Tech is currently ranked 102nd in ShotQuality custom offense, which puts them 11th in the ACC. (Last year, the Hokies ranked 19th nationally, roughly in line with their KenPom rankings). It is a small sample and this number will almost certainly increase as the season progresses. But lately the offense has been much that Pedulla and Maddox played out the dribble and hit hard, contested shots, like this: