In the spirit of this election year, Virginia Tech has opted for change. Unfortunately, most of that change won't be positive.
Gone is the burnished pate of their self-promoting a-hole of a coach (replaced by Assistant James Johnson) who will probably not be missed. Gone are ACC All- Freshman Dorian Finney Smith and top flight recruit Montrezl Harrell (to Florida and Louisville ) who most assuredly will be.
Last year the fighting Turkey birds finished 16-17 and 4-12 in conference. In addition to the loss of Finney-Smith, who was the team's leading rebounder (7 rpg) , the Hokies lost second leading scorer Dorenzo Hudson (11ppg) and post player Victor Davila (7.5 ppg and 4 rpg) to graduation. Take a bad team, subtract a head coach, an impact frosh, and 33% of the minutes, scoring and rebounding and you are left with...a team that BC is really happy to have on the schedule.
Thankfully for the Pokies, 2011-12 breakout player and leading scorer Erick Green (In a fit of self-congratulatory pique, I here refer you to last year's ACC preview where I totally called that one) returns to add his second team All-ACC guard play to the mix. Sophomore dullshooter Robert Brown returns at SG where he will seek to improve on his 36% FG percentage. Jarell Eddie, who at 6'7" provides a potential matchup problem (shooting 44% from 3) returns at small forward and Cadarian Raines who averaged 11 points and 4.5 boards over VT's final seven games returns at center. That's a core group that, if DFS and Harrell had stuck around, could legitimately have made a little bit of noise in conference ; which should tell you exactly how done they were with Seth Greenberg. Unfortunately for Tech, after the 4 players just discussed things really drop off a cliff as far as depth, particularly in the frontcourt. Little used forward C.J. Barksdale will start at the 4 and 6'8" freshman Marshall Wood will get lots of minutes as the primary backup in the post. In the backcourt, Marquis Rankin and Tyrone Garland will do what they can.
The Hokies have 3 Southern Conference teams on their early season schedule, which is apropos given that it is one of the few conferences in which they would have a shot of finishing with more than 6 wins. The ACC ain't one of them.