From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
The ACC championship banner was unveiled before Sunday’s Virginia Tech game with William & Mary, and the team has started the season with three easy wins over Delaware State, Lehigh, and William & Mary.
While those wins have come against the lower competition of college basketball including Sunday, the Hokies have shown they are getting better every day.
Coach Mike Young has gone up and down the bench developing a lot of depth as the team was ahead by as many as 29 points several times during those three wins.
The ACC championship banner hangs from the rafters on the home bench side toward the south end of Cassell Coliseum. It hangs beside the 1979 Metro Conference championship banner and the 1996 Atlantic 10 West Division championship banner.
The Lehigh game also saw the return of Justin Mutts, who missed the Delaware State game because of a one-game suspension.
Mutts participated in a non-NCAA certified event earlier this year when going through the pre-NBA draft process, and the NCAA handed down that one-game suspension.
Mutts recorded the 17th double-double of his career Thursday night, dropping in 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
Mutts was the ACC’s Skip Prosser Award winner last season and is embarking on his 11th semester in college. He has already earned a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees. He is currently enrolled in human development, his second undergraduate program. He is also one of an elite group of players in the ACC who have recorded at least 100 career starts.
There is a lot of optimism oozing from Cassell Coliseum.
- The Hokies are among the nation’s leaders in active NCAA Tournament appearances. With the program’s record fifth straight appearance locked up in 2022, they own the eighth longest active streak. It’s the second longest among ACC programs. This is a pretty remarkable turnaround, thanks to information provided by VT Athletics, for a program that prior to 2017 had only gone to the NCAA tournament once (2007) in 20 years.
- Wright State transfer and big-man Grant Basile has already shown he might be the answer to replace two-time ACC selection Keve Aluma. The 6-9 forward is a threat inside and behind the three-point arc. He dialed up 30 points on 12 0f 16 shooting in his debut. The 30 points were the most recorded in ACC play on opening night. Those points included six three-pointers.
The season has started out well for the Hokies. Now the competition becomes a little stiffer, and Tech will have to step up their play if they hope to continue this streak.
The next game on the schedule is Old Dominion on Thursday. Nov. 17.