The ACC held their 2019 Operation Basketball event last week, and the assembled media picked Virginia Tech basketball to finish 14th out of 15 teams in 2019-2020.
The Hokies are coming off a program-record three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, including their first Sweet 16 in over 50 years. With the departure of coach Buzz Williams to Texas A&M, the graduation of a handful of key players, the early departure of Nickeil Alexander-Walker to the NBA, and the transfer of Kerry Blackshear to Florida, the team faces a major rebuilding job under new coach Mike Young.
Young is bolstered by the decisions of junior point guard Wabissa Bede and redshirt freshman wing Landers Nolley to return from the transfer portal, as well as a four-man 2019 recruiting class headlined by 4-star point guard Jalen Cone. Wings Isaiah Wilkins (So.) and P.J. Horne (Jr.) will also be back to help fill out the roster, which can be seen here.
Here are the overall projections, with first place votes in parenthesis.
For an idea of how close the Hokies were to the bottom of the poll, here’s a look at the bottom four teams’ point totals:
12. Georgia Tech, 437
13. Boston College, 382
14. Virginia Tech, 334
15. Wake Forest, 328
Last year, Virginia Tech was picked to finish 5th in the ACC and came in at exactly that spot with a 12-6 ACC record. This year, the ACC will play 20 conference games for the first time. The Hokies open play on November 5th with a trip to Clemson. Other highlights of the schedule include a trip to Hawaii to play in the Maui Jim Invitational (Nov. 25-27), and home games against Duke (Dec. 6), Syracuse (Jan. 18), UNC (Jan. 22), and reigning national champion Virginia (Feb. 26). The full Virginia Tech basketball schedule can be seen here.