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What’s the ceiling for the best offense in the ACC?

On its way to a 9-2 start this season, Virginia Tech has emerged as the most potent offense in the entire ACC. The Hokies lead the league with a scoring average of 95.3 points per game. VT also leads the ACC in shooting percentage (55.5 percent) and 3-point shooting percentage (46.7 percent). They’re also doing well from the free throw line, ranking fourth in the ACC with a 74.5 pecent conversion rate from the stripe. All put together, the Hokies rank first nationally in the NCAA in offensive efficiency.

Four Hokies – Ahmed Hill, Justin Bibbs, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Kerry Blackshear – are all averaging at least 13.5 points per game. A fifth Hokie starter, Justin Robinson, is also averaging in double figures at 10.7 ppg. VT’s sixth man is also approaching double figures, as Chris Clarke is averaging nine points per outing. Five Hokies – Hill, Bibbs, Blackshear, Clarke, and P.J. Horne – are all shooting better than 57.5 percent from the floor. Each of the Hokies’ top six scorers are all shooting at least 44.8 percent from 3-point range.

 

Pace and space

Pace has not been a problem for the Hokies, as they’ve been piling up the points in transition. VT ranks first in the ACC in offensive possessions in transition. But unlike teams like UNC, which thrive more on beating opposing teams downcourt and scoring in high-percentage opportunities, Virginia Tech is thriving in run-and-gun settings where the Hokies scorers are being set up for wide-open 3-pointer attempts.

The biggest key for Virginia Tech to maintain its solid offensive start will be continuing to shoot at a high level from long range. With 113 3-pointers in 11 games, the Hokies are leading the ACC in 3-point conversions by a wide margin. They will also need to continue being efficient, as the Hokies currently possess a 1.46 assists-to-turnovers ratio.

Virginia Tech’s scoring totals are a little skewed with the team’s 111-point effort against Detroit Mercy, as well as 132 points scored against The Citadel in the Hokies’ second contest. Since that time, Virginia Tech has only broken 100 points once – 103 points in a win over Washington Nov. 17. But they’ve scored 90-plus points against four opponents – Houston Baptist, Morehead State, Radford, and Maryland-Eastern Shore.

 

Offense undeterred by elite competition

VT got a chance to take on a much higher-quality opponent in Kentucky on Dec. 16. And while the Hokies came up short in Rupp Arena, they played the Wildcats tough while continuing their excellent offensive effort. The Hokies outplayed the Wildcats for a half, taking a 47-41 lead into halftime. Williams’ club slipped in the second half, however, as they went from a 62.1 percent shooting clip in the first half to 53.8 percent in the second half. But it wasn’t offense that killed VT’s chances of upsetting Kentucky, as the Hokies’ defense allowed UK to shot 11-of-22 from 3-point land in a 93-86 Wildcats victory.

Virginia Tech would be well-served to improve its shot blocking and steals numbers in order to maximize its offensive potential. VT ranks dead-last in the ACC in blocked shots, and near the bottom in steals. With the way the Hokies are scoring quickly – ranking in the top ten nationally in average time of possession, this team could become even more dangerous offensively if they can start forcing more turnovers.