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Countdown to tipoff: Previewing VT and Louisville

A team at the top and a team at the bottom

NCAA Basketball: Georgia Tech at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Ed. Note: There were some weird things going on with the scheduling mechanism, so this was meant to be posted earlier this week.

Two more ACC teams that are on the opposite end the spectrum and trending in different directions. The Chris Mack era at Louisville got off to a strong start and looks to take another step in the right direction this season. With Buzz Williams off to Texas A&M, it’s time for the Mike Young era to begin at Virginia Tech, unfortunately, the cupboard is a bit bare and this job looks to be a rebuild.

Louisville

Chris Mack was a revelation in his first season at Louisville, building on the strong record he had built at Xavier. Mack took a team, that many picked to finish near the bottom of the ACC, to the NCAA tournament and looks to build on that with the new talent coming in as well as the returning talent.

New Faces

Samuell Williamson - Guard, 6-6 180, #19 ranked player in the class of 2019 - Williamson is the highest ranked incoming player for the Cardinals. He will look to step in and become an impact player.

Aiden Igiehon - Center, 6-10 235, #55 ranked player in the class of 2019 - Igiehon will step in as a strong post defender this season.

David Johnson - Guard, 6-5 170, #82 ranked player in the class on 2019 - Another talented back-court player, he will help to add depth to the rotation.

Lamar Kimble - Guard, 6-0 185, Graduate transfer from St. Joseph’s - Kimble averaged 15.6 points per game last season for the Hawks. It will be interesting to see how he transitions to the ACC.

Returning Players

Jordan Nwora - 6-7 225 Junior - One of the few returning All-ACC players from last season, Nwora looks to be the focal point for the Cardinals. He averaged 17 points per games last season and chipped in 7.6 rebounds.

Dwayne Sutton - 6-5 220 R-Senior - Sutton averaged 10 points and almost 7 rebounds last season. He will have to take a step up in production to help the Cardinals build on their success last season.

Malik Williams - 6-11 250 Junior - Williams will be the main option in the low post this season. He averaged 7.7 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

Conclusion

Louisville will look to build on an unexpectedly successful season last year. Chris Mack has shown he is one of the better coaches in the conference and expect to see the Cardinals near the top of the ACC at the end of the season.

Virginia Tech

Buzz Williams turned three straight NCAA tournament bids into a move to Texas A&M, and in steps former Wofford coach Mike Young. The coaching change led to the Hokies losing many of their important pieces off of last years Sweet Sixteen team.

New Faces

Jalen Cone - Guard, 5-11 163, #102 ranked player in the class of 2019 - The highest rated player in the incoming class, Cone will have a chance to make an immediate impact for the Hokies.

Landers Nolley - Wing, 6-7 195, #67 ranked player in the class on 2018 - The highest rated player in his class, Nolley took a red-shirt last season while dealing with eligibility issues. He will finally make his debut this season and looks to play an important role for the Hokies.

Brandon Johnson - Forward, 6-8 230, Graduate transfer from Alabama A&M - Johnson averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 rebounds last season. It will be interesting to see how he handles the step up to the ACC.

Returning Players

Isiah Wilkins - 6-3 230 Soph - Wilkins is the leading returning scorer for the Hokies, he averaged 4.7 points per game last season. He will be the top option in the back-court this coming season.

PJ Horne - 6-5 230 Junior - Horne is an undersized forward that looks to get minutes in the front court. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.2 rebounds per game last season.

Wabissa Bede - 6-1 195 Junior - Bede is the 2nd leading returning scorer for the Hokies, he averaged 3.8 points per game last season. Bede will pair with Wilkins to form the backbone of the Hokie back-court.

Conclusion

It looks to be a long and tough season in Blacksburg this year. The Hokies are replacing the majority of their production. I would expect to see them towards the bottom of the conference at the end of the season.