Yesterday afternoon Virginia Tech released their 2013-2014 basketball schedule, though some of the times have yet to be announced. The Hokies will open the season with four straight home games beginning with USC Upstate to start the season November 9th. West Virginia will be coming to town three days later (Nov. 12) for the return trip of a home-and-home series. Western Carolina (Nov. 15) and VMI (Nov. 18) will each come to Cassell Coliseum in three day intervals after the West Virginia game.
Tech will then travel to the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn on Nov. 22nd to play in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. They have a tough first round draw in Michigan State, but are assured a second game against either Oklahoma or Seton Hall no matter the results.
After returning home, the Hokies will host Furman (Nov. 26), Radford (Nov. 29) and Winthrop (Dec. 3) before traveling to Miami to open up ACC play on December 8th. After an exam week break, the Hokies then travel to Richmond to play VCU in the Richmond Coliseum. It will mark the first time the Hokies play east of the fall line in Virginia since playing Richmond in the state capital on January 3, 2008. That game could have significant recruiting implications considering this will be the first time many Hampton's Roads and Richmond area recruits are seeing them play live.
After the one game in Richmond, Tech returns home for an even longer stay, hosting five opponents, UNCG (Dec. 28), Maryland-Eastern Shore (Dec. 31), Syracuse (Jan. 7), Boston College (Jan. 11) and Clemson (Jan. 15) before traveling to South Bend, Indiana on January 19th for their first match up with Notre Dame since February 22, 2003 as a member of the Big East.
Tech then returns home for one game against Wake Forest (Jan. 22) before making the short trip to Charlottesville to face UVA on January 25th. Tech then travels north to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to face Boston College on January 29th. After returning home for one game against Maryland, the last time the Hokies will host the Terrapins for the foreseeable future, they will embark on a two-game road trip to Florida State (Feb. 5) and Pittsburgh (Feb. 8).
A week later they return to action at home against Miami (Feb. 15) and then host Virginia (Feb. 18) and N.C. State (Feb. 22) before playing three of their final four regular season games on the road. Those dates are at Duke (Feb. 25), at Maryland (March 4) and at Georgia Tech for the Hokies only meeting of the year with the Yellow Jackets on March 8th. Sandwiched in between the Duke and Maryland games is North Carolina, who the Hokies will play at home on March 1st.
While the schedule has its difficult stretches (see Michigan State and the entire ACC slate), the Hokies will also be playing only nine true road games out of their 30-game schedule. They will have 18 at home and three "neutral site" (quotation marks for VCU) games. Despite a vastly harder ACC and what will likely be a less talented team without the likes of Erick Green, Tech does not draw any of the traditional powers more than once, doesn't play on short rest in any ACC game like in the past and the travel sets up pretty favorably for the Hokies.
Also, while it's hard to predict Tech to win ANY ACC game by looking at the match up, if they could play well in their non-conference portion of the season and pick up a couple of games in the ACC, it is possible Tech could better last year's record or even flirt with a .500 record. It's also highly unlikely that Tech would go 0-18 in conference no matter how much they could struggle in ACC play this year.
James Johnson was quoted as saying in the release on Hokiesports:
"We have a tough non-conference schedule that will test this inexperienced team and get us ready for the rigors of the best conference in the country, the ACC. We will have early season games with West Virginia, Michigan State and an always tough, always strong VCU team at the Richmond Coliseum, along with some very good non-conference teams coming into Blacksburg."
While Tech does have those three marquee out-of-conference games, they are about the only three games which could even be construed as being tough. The rest of the non-conference slate, regardless of how Tech performs, is about the weakest competition Tech has played over the last 10 years, making this non-conference schedule perhaps worse than the years in which Seth Greenberg's teams were denied tournament bids at least partly based on a low level of difficulty in non-conference action.
For more on the schedule as the details of game times and perhaps more television coverage is released, Gobbler Country will have all you need. Be sure to stick with us here for the best coverage of Virginia Tech basketball throughout the 2013-2014 season and beyond.