Virginia Tech Basketball Postseason Thoughts, Part 1: The 21-22 Season

For the first time in school history, Virginia Tech men’s basketball won the ACC Tournament. (Liam Sment)

For the first time in school history, Virginia Tech men’s basketball won the ACC Tournament.

As special as that may be, however, that headline doesn’t fully characterize the 2021-22 Hokies, who finished 23-13 (11-9 ACC).

I had the pleasure to watch Tech play in-person for 27 of its 36 games, and the season was all over the place.

An 8-4 start morphed into 10-10 (2-7 ACC), which somehow turned into 19-12 (11-9) at the end of the regular season. The November win at Navy seems like ten years ago, as do the thrashing of St. Bonaventure in December and Justyn Mutts’s triple-double vs. Syracuse in February.

The expectations entering the year were for the team to make the NCAA Tournament. However, it didn’t look like Tech would get to the promised land mid-season. From Thanksgiving to late January, the Hokies had a 5-9 record and lost six games by five or fewer points.

Then they turned it around, and did so in style. A 10-10 overall record spiraled into 13 wins in 15 games and led to an ACC Tournament Championship, knocking off No. 2 seed Notre Dame, No. 3  seed North Carolina and No. 1 seed Duke in the process. For the first time ever, Virginia Tech earned the ACC’s automatic qualifier to the Big Dance, stopping all bubble talk.

Now the Hokies have five 20-win seasons in the last seven tries, and they’ve made the NCAA Tournament the last five times it was played.

Imagine how different everything would’ve been if Darius Maddox didn’t hit that shot vs. Clemson.

We’ll discuss some thoughts from the 2021-22 season in this article while part two next week will cover the roster and how it might change in the offseason.

Virginia Tech’s defense came alive down the stretch. (Liam Sment)

How Defense Impacted Tech’s Campaign

On Tuesday, Feb. 8 after waxing Pitt by 27 at home, Virginia Tech sat at No. 110 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating.

That win was the Hokies’ fourth straight, putting their record at 14-10 (6-7). But up to that point, their victories had come against Florida State, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh, all sub-100 KenPom teams. In each of those games, they shot the ball better than 52.5%.

Tech was on fire offensively, and that led to wins. But at the same time,