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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies open the NIT at Cincinnati

It wasn’t quite as an exciting night for the men’s team.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Second Round - NC State vs Virginia Tech Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It was a disappointing season for the Virginia Tech Hokies men’s basketball team. A 1-7 stretch that began with a Dec. 21 overtime loss at Boston College sank the Hokies.

At the time, Virginia Tech was 11-1, with a 1-0 mark in ACC play. That first ACC win came over preseason-No. 1 North Carolina in Blacksburg. The loss to BC was the first of seven in a row for the Hokies, who were all of a sudden 11-8 on the season and essentially finished in the race for the ACC.

To make matters worse, senior guard Hunter Cattoor was injured in the loss at Boston College and missed several games. Freshman Rodney Rice missed most of the season with multiple injuries but returned late and showed promise in the ACC Tournament.

There was also the mystery surrounding junior guard Darius Maddux. Maddux was a starter and was moved to the bench at one point and suddenly gone from the team. Head coach Mike Young cited a family matter for Maddux, and there’s no reason to dispute that publicly.

In that seven-game losing streak, the Hokies lost close games to N.C. State, Clemson [twice] and Wake Forest, among others. However, they rebounded with a win over Duke. So there was some hope that the Hokies could pull off a similar comeback as they did in 2022.

It just wasn’t meant to be, and Tech finished the season with a 19-14 record and an 8-12 record in ACC play. After a win over Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament, the Hokies were blown out by N.C. State in round two.

Instead of another NCAA Tournament appearance, the Hokies are now headed to the NIT and have a tough draw. Tech plays the Cincinnati Bearcats on Wednesday night. The Bearcats are led by the backcourt of Landers Nolley and David DeJulius. Nolley transferred from Virginia Tech after Young’s first season as head coach. He has since played at Memphis and Cincinnati. Nolley [16.6] and DeJulius [14.5] are Cincy’s leading scorers.

As for the Hokies, can they make a run in the NIT? It would be a great way to finish the Virginia Tech careers of Cattoor and Justyn Mutts.