20 Wins Again — Nothing to be Sneezed At

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Last night’s victory over Georgia Tech gave the Hokies another 20-win season under Seth Greenberg, the fourth time in the last five seasons the Hokies have won 20 games. In this short feature, I’ll break down that stat a little further, plus bring your attention to some Malcolm Delaney facts that you may not know.

Three years ago, when the Hokies reached 20 wins under Greenberg for the second season in a row, I blogged about what a significant accomplishment that was … at least, in terms of Virginia Tech basketball, which had seen just five winning seasons out of 17 from 1986-87 until 2002-03, including just two 20-win seasons.

Buried in that blog post is a stat that Charlie Moir’s Hokies won 20 games seven times in a stretch of eight seasons, from 1978-79 through 1985-86. (The only exception came in 1980-81, when the Hokies finished 15-13.)

Over those eight seasons, Tech’s average record was 20.6 wins and 10.4 losses — that’s 31 games a season.

In the last five seasons, the Hokies have averaged 21.4 wins and 12.0 losses per year — that’s 33.4 games a season.

The opportunity to get 20 wins is more prevalent, if you’re playing more games. In Moir’s day, the NCAA Tournament field and NIT field were both smaller than they are today, so postseason opportunities were reduced. Teams are also scheduling a few more regular season games today than they did back then.

But the 20-win plateau continues to be something that you shouldn’t trivialize if you’re a Tech fan, because the Hokies went a long time without reaching it very much, between the collapse of Moir’s empire and the start of Seth Greenberg’s tenure.

And the irony of the term “plateau” is not lost on me, because that’s what Tech fans are fretting about these days: the idea that Tech has plateaued under Greenberg. Only time will tell, and I don’t really want to go on about that right now. There’s an ACC tournament going on.

Delaney Owns the FT Record, and is Closing in on Another

Looking through old blogs made me encounter one I wrote last season about how Malcolm Delaney was on a VT record-setting free throw pace. As of this moment, Delaney easily owns the VT career record for free throws made with 697. Delaney blew past former leader Bimbo Coles (593) earlier this season.

Delaney has also passed Coles in number of free throws attempted. Bimbo finished with 793 attempts, and Delaney currently has 826, giving him that record, as well.

In recent weeks, Delaney has also gotten publicity for moving into #3 on the all-time scoring list at Virginia Tech. MD23 has 2,177 points, far behind #1 Coles (2,484) and Dell Curry (2,389). Delaney passed former #3 Dale Solomon (2,136) a few games ago, but is likely to be at #3 when his career comes to an end.

But did you know that Malcolm Delaney is currently #2 in VT’s career assists list? Delaney has 529 assists, just 18 behind Bimbo’s career record of 547. (Looking over stats really makes you appreciate what an offensive machine Bimbo was. #1 in points and #1 in assists is impressive. Bimbo’s also #4 all-time in steals.)

Delaney’s career figures in points (#3) and assists (#2) put him up there with Coles (#1 and #1) and Dell Curry (#2 and #4) in terms of ability to generate offense. Like Curry and Coles, Delaney has had the benefit of starting almost every game of his career, and he has put up big numbers doing it.

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