2008-09 Basketball Season: Thoughts and Superlatives

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Basketball season ended on Saturday with Virginia Tech’s loss to Baylor. The
Hokies finished the season 19-15, and though it was a disappointing end to a
year in which many thought Tech would make the NCAA tournament, there were still
a lot of great moments. TSL’s 2008-09 basketball superlatives article covers
everything from Tech’s top win to the Hokies’ most improved players, and also
gives some thoughts on the season as a whole.

Best Win: at #1 Wake Forest

The January 21 win at #1 Wake Forest was Virginia Tech’s best win of the
season. The Demon Deacons were the last remaining undefeated team in college
basketball. They entered the game sporting a perfect 16-0 record, and they had
impressive wins over BYU, North Carolina and Clemson.

The Hokies had been getting better recently, winning three games in a row
against Virginia, Richmond and Boston College. However, they didn’t have the
look of a team that was capable of going on the road and beating three future
first round draft picks in Jeff Teague, James Johnson and Al-Farouq Aminu.

However, Tech got one of their top defensive performances of the season
against one of the nation’s best offensive teams. The Hokies held Wake Forest to
just 43.1% from the field. Demon Deacon starters James Johnson, Jeff Teage, Al-Farouq
Aminu and L.D. Williams combined for all but eight of Wake’s points.

The Hokies led Wake by 10 points at halftime, and by as many as 16 throughout
the game. Wake cut the lead to 71-69 in the second half, but Virginia Tech never
lost control. They were poised, they forced turnovers and they played excellent
defense. It was their best overall win of the season.

Team MVP: A.D. Vassallo

This was a tough choice between A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney. I went
with Vassallo because he finished the season stronger than Delaney, and his
numbers were better. He averaged a career-high 19.1 points per game, as well as
a career-high 6.2 rebounds per game. Vassallo also set career-high numbers for
blocks and steals.