The pressure from fans is rising.
Virginia Tech basketball is sitting at ninth place in the ACC with a 4-9 record. They are just 15-13 overall and nowhere close to where many experts projected them in preseason rankings.
Because of that, the expectations by fans have not been reached and in turn, head coach Seth Greenberg is facing a lot of criticism from the Hokie faithful.
The question is, however, how much of that criticism is deserved?
Sure, the Hokies have a 5-8 record in games decided by less than four points. Many fans believe that Tech could have been 9-4 or 10-3 in those games and instead looking at one of the top spots in the conference standings.
I’m not so sure though. If you look back at the bottom tier teams of any sport each year, the teams that struggle traditionally lose close games. Whether it is inexperience or just lack of execution, the teams that struggle to win those games are always at the bottom.
The Hokies are playing four freshmen at a level that wasn’t expected. The highly touted Dorian Finney-Smith came into the season as the starting small forward and went through an 0-25 stretch from the field that no one saw coming. Can we blame that on Seth Greenberg?
Robert Brown came in and surprised many early with his ability to score at a high volume and put up big numbers. He is explosive off the dribble and can get to the rim in a heartbeat. However, he went through some growing pains where he struggled with shot collection and saw his minutes decrease. Can we blame that on Seth Greenberg?
Marquis Rankin and C.J Barksdale have shown improvement in practices and after some injuries, are now playing starter-like minutes. That’s four guys who were playing against 16 year old awkward teenagers last season seeing significant minutes against the grown men of the ACC. Can we blame that on Seth Greenberg?
Dorenzo Hudson was apparently held at gun point and involved in a drug scandal at Virginia Tech back in December. His game struggled tremendously after the scandal as he struggled to find his shot and got sent to a role off the bench as a senior. Can we blame that on Seth Greenberg?
The expectation at Virginia Tech has gotten a bit ridiculous to me.
I came into this season expecting a mediocre year in the ACC and an NIT berth for these Hokies. However, I expected an NIT berth that would please fans of a team that is playing this many freshman. Instead, fans were hoping for an NCAA berth.
This is a team that while certainly not expected to be where they are at the moment, should not be expected to compete for an ACC title.
Before Seth Greenberg came to Virginia Tech, the Hokies basketball program was an absolute laughing stock. Ricky Stokes was the head coach and his teams went 9-38 in their first three years of Big East existence.
In 2003, Greenberg arrived from South Florida and began to build the Tech basketball program. The team went 7-9 in Big East play his first season and showed so much progress that fans knew good things were coming.
Entering this season, Tech has improved a remarkable amount. They unveiled a $21 million basketball practice facility in 2009 and the recruiting has gotten better each year. The class of 2011 was Top 15 in the country and ranked as the best in Virginia Tech history.
The team hasn’t been to the NCAA tournament since 2007. That was despite having one of the most successful classes in Virginia Tech history in Delaney, Allen, and Bell.
This year is a building year for the Hokies. We’ve seen this team grow up in games like Georgia Tech, Boston College, and UVa in Charlottesville. We’ve also seen this team go through some extremely tough growing pains in games like Duke, UNC, and Florida State.
The Hokies have talent. I get that argument.
But we can’t undervalue the importance of experience in a league as talented as the ACC.
With time, comes experience. With experience, will come success for the Hokies basketball team.
Sure, Coach Greenberg has had some questionable play calling at times this year. What coach hasn’t?
The fact that this team had had 13 games decided by less than four points is encouraging.
Next year, the Hokies will be one year older and one year wiser.
All those close losses and missed free throws will turn into wins and makes.
Seth Greenberg isn’t the problem right now. Give it time. The success is right around the corner.