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. 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 at several points in those three wins over Delaware State, Lehigh, and William & Mary.
The ACC championship banner hangs beside the 1979 Metro Conference championship banner and the 1996 Atlantic 10 West Division championship banner.
The Lehigh game saw the return of Justin Mutts, who missed the first 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 a one-game suspension.
Mutts recorded the 17th double-double of his career Thursday night, dropping in 16 points and yanking down 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.
A lot of optimism surrounds Cassell Coliseum.
- The Hokies are among the nation’s leaders in active NCAA Tournament appearances. With the program’s record fifth straight 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 gone to the NCAA tournament only once (2007) in 20 years.
- Wright State transfer and big-man Grant Basile has already shown he might be the answer to replacing 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 most points recorded in ACC play on opening night. His 30 points included six three-pointers.
The season has started out well for the Hokies. Now, the competition becomes a little stiffer, and the Hokies will have to step up their play if they hope to continue this streak.
This includes Old Dominion on Thursday.
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