Three Big Things We Learned About The 2019 Virginia Tech Basketball Program After Upset Over No. 3 Michigan State

Sean Labar

Nobody outside of Wofford S.C. Knew much about Mike Young when he was hired to replace Buzz Williams as the Virginia Tech basketball coach. It didn’t feel like the splashy hire, but once again, Hokies’ Athletic Director’s uncanny ability to identify coaching talent is now on display for the masses. 

After toppling No. 3 Michigan State (the preseason No. 1 favorite in college hoops), it’s clear Young was the right man for the gig. 

Here are three big things we learned about Virginia Tech Basketball after its upset of Tom Izzo’s Spartans at the Maui Invitational Monday night: 

1. Hokies’ true freshman guard Landers Nolley II is a superstar in the making

Let’s get this out of the way. Landers — a 4-star prospect who  was recruited by Williams and the previous staff —is buying into Young’s vision and thriving. The tall, physical guard has proven himself as the Hokies’ go-to shooting threat, averaging 20.5 points after six contests. With the world watching, Nolley hit the clutch-contested three that would seal Sparty’s fate and put the rest of the ACC on notice. 

2. The Hokies aren’t rebuilding under Young and should be considered a NCAA Tournament contender in the ACC

Most national media outlets pegged Virginia Tech as a team that will finish in the bottom half of the ACC after Young’s first campaign. It’s still early, but it’s safe to say they were probably wrong. 

Virginia Tech opened with a solid road ACC road win at Clemson, steam-rolled a handful of smaller teams in games they should have won... and now upset the No. 3 team in the land. 

It appears the national hoops folks are now taking notice. 

3. The 2019-20 Hokies can score from everywhere against elite talent 

Nolley was the story and he deserves the hype, but the Hokies can strike from all over the hardwood. Five different Virginia Tech players hit double figures against Michigan State which bodes will for long-term success. Sure, the Hokies’ offense runs through Nolley but juniors P.J Horne and Wabissa Bede added 11 each. To join the contributions from freshmen,  Hunter Cattoor and Nahiem Alleyne closed out the night with 10 points a piece. 

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