Winner: Seth Greenberg

Winners and Losers column by Chris Graham

greenberg_s.jpgvatech_thumbnail.jpgRaise your hand if you thought Virginia Tech would win more than four ACC games this season.
C’mon. Seriously.
I didn’t know that the Hokies would win a single game. I mean, you lose guys like Zabian Dowdell, Jamon Gordon and Coleman Collins in one fell swoop, and replace them with freshmen that, and I hate to be mean about this, but you have to say that kids who end up playing basketball at Tech had to have fallen through the cracks to get there, well …
So what does Seth Greenberg do? He figures out a way to get these kids into ACC shape really fast, that’s what.

The Hokies are 7-6 in the mighty ACC, with season sweeps of Maryland and Virginia to show for their efforts to date. And with two home games among the three conference games that they have left, you have to think that the 9-7 record that could very well be in the offing will be NCAA Tournament material.

And, I dunno, doesn’t that make Greenberg coach of the decade? The guy’s playing a half-dozen freshmen around his two veterans, Deron Washington and A.D. Vassallo. And really, what were Washington and Vassallo on last year’s NCAA team but role players – Washington a highlight reel waiting to unwind, and Vassallo the occasional three-pointer from the wing and not much else?

And then consider not only the depths that the Hokies began at this year, but that disaster that was the Great Alaska Shootout – which saw Tech lose to Butler and Gonzaga on back-to-back nights, before losing on the road at Penn State (!) in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.

That loss, and losses to in-state rivals ODU and Richmond, could end up hurting the Hokies’ NCAA chances. But the selection committee is known to focus on how a team does down the stretch, and Virginia Tech’s stretch run is looking better and better each week.

Greenberg and his boys have some more heavy lifting still to do – beginning tonight at home against Boston College, and then finishing up next week at home against Wake Forest and then on the road at Clemson.

It won’t be easy, but I am not putting anything past Seth Greenberg, who I have to admit hadn’t impressed me yet despite his efforts in leading Hokie Nation to the Big Dance a year ago.

He did that with another guy’s players. What he’s doing this year with his own has me convinced.

Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

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