Virginia Tech men’s basketball preview


New Virginia Tech college basketball coach James Johnson smiles during a news conference in Blacksburg, Va., Tuesday, May 1, 2012. (AP Photo/The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry) (Matt Gentry/ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Hokies at a glance

What we know: Point guard Erick Green will be one of the ACC top players and new Coach James Johnson is intent on the Hokies pushing the tempo. It seems to be a philosophy that also fits the skill sets of shooting guard Robert Brown, small forward Jarell Eddie and forward Cadarian Raines, who showed signs at the end of last season that he could become a legitimate threat in the post.

What we don’t know: Will Johnson’s new style backfire because Virginia Tech has only eight scholarship players and may need a couple walk-ons to contribute consistently? For that matter, how will Johnson adjust to being a head coach? He has never had the final say at any level of basketball and is the youngest coach in the ACC this year.

Prediction: The Hokies could surprise if they stay healthy, with enough returning talent to finish in the middle of the ACC standings. But Virginia Tech hasn’t had much luck with injuries in recent seasons and the lack of depth will make foul trouble a concern every game. This is ultimately a rebuilding season for Johnson to implement his system, and an above-.500 record would be considered progress.

— Mark Giannotto

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