Buzzketball Falls At Miami 74-68

Turnovers haunt the Hokies in Coral Gables, as the team drops their second straight game.

[Mark Umansky]

It's been a week since the Virginia Tech men's basketball team's drubbing at the hands of Virginia, and head coach Buzz Williams emphasized a desire to ramp up his squad's competitiveness. They had fallen flat against the Wahoos, and had to turn things around as they headed into Coral Gables to play Miami.

And while the Hokies certainly looked improved, it was far from enough. They fell 74-68 to the Hurricanes, a scoreline which seems much closer than the game itself.

Tech came out running, and showed flashes of the fast-paced explosion that enticed fans for the first few months of the season. And for much of the first half, they played like a team who heard their coach's message loud and clear.

But with the game tied at 34 with just over a minute before halftime, the wheels started to come off. A series of sloppy possessions lead to a quick 9-0 Hurricane run to close things out, and instead of being tied at half, Miami lead by six.

The Hokies could never quite get their mojo back after that, and trailed for all but 25 seconds after intermission.

"I thought that we played much harder than we have over the last two weeks," Williams said in his postgame press conference. "I thought we were much more connected. I thought our togetherness, our body language, how hard we competed, was back to the way it has to be for us to have a chance to compete.

"I just thought we made too many mistakes. You can't play a mistake-filled game, on the road against anybody in this league. But I don't know if you can have 15 turnovers at home either. 22 percent of the time that we had possession of the ball we gave it to (Miami). That's a hard number mathematically to overcome."

The giveaways not only piled up, but seemed to come at the most inopportune times. A bad Justin Robinson pass lead to a three point play at the end of the half (stretching the deficit from three to six).

When the Hokies clawed their way back to a tie at the 13 minute mark, Zach LeDay was immediately hit with an offensive foul. It was just the way the night went. All of a sudden, the Miami lead had ballooned to 17 and any chance for a comeback was deflated.

Buzz's bunch now heads home to await an even tougher test. Twelfth ranked UVA heads to Blacksburg on Sunday with nearly a week's worth of rest on their legs, after destroying Louisville 71-55 on Monday.

A few quick thoughts

Everyone's concerned about Virginia Tech's NCAA Tournament chances, which makes sense. After a blistering start, the team's fallen back to earth a bit. They've suffered a few brutal losses, and even the wins they've picked up only bring up more questions (BC's three point bonanza, Clemson's offensive onslaught).

So will Tech go dancing?

Probably, but it won't be easy. The ACC has a glut of tournament caliber members, and all of the bracketologists know it. ESPN's Joe Lunardi and CBS Sports' Jerry Palm each have 10 ACC teams currently in their projections, and many other predictors have at least nine.

The respect the league gets both helps and hurts Hokies' chances immensely. Obviously from a competition standpoint, it makes things tough night in and night out, regardless of the opponent.

But on the other hand, a 9-9 conference record would all but assure their spot. It means going 4-3 over the final seven games of the year.

Can they do it? Well let's look at who's left on the docket:

vs Virginia: If their prior meeting in Charlottesville is any indication, a win over the Hoos would be a tall order, even in Blacksburg. But to be fair, Buzz and company have kept things close against UVA at home. The squad won last year, and rode Adam Smith to a near-upset in 2015. Still, I wouldn't hold my breath for a W.

@ Pitt: This game's tricky. The Panthers have been terrible (only two conference wins), but have shown signs of life since their 50 point demolition against Louisville. They took UNC to the wire in the Dean Dome (something Tech couldn't do), and battled both Duke and Clemson in losses. The Hokies almost have to pick up a win on the road here, but it'll be a tougher task than your usual trip to an ACC basement dweller.

@ Louisville: This is the toughest remaining stop on the schedule. The Cardinals are fourth in the AP top-25, fifth in RPI, third in KenPom, and first in dorm room stripper parties. I'd assume a loss.

vs Clemson: Another near must-win. The Tigers are somehow considered Tech's second best victory via RPI, and that was on the road. The Hokies can add another solid resume builder if they beat Brad Brownell's squad again.

@ BC: If they don't win in Chestnut Hill, something went terribly wrong.

vs Miami:

vs Wake Forest:

Wake is in a nearly identical place as the Hurricanes. They're tough, can challenge anyone, and have been improving for the last month. You'd like to think the Hokies can pick up one of these final two in Cassell. But if the two squads are also playing for a potential tournament berth, these are much closer to toss ups.

So in review, winning on the road against Pittsburgh and Boston College, and at home against Clemson and one of Wake/Miami is Tech's best chance to hit 9-9. It could be worse (UNC still has to play both Duke and UVA twice), but it won't be easy.


Starting to think depth is an issue. I know a lot of teams play 8 guys, but we have to play incredibly hard to be competitive combined with the size disadvantage we have every night I wonder if its taken its toll. The energy is manifesting itself with the really poor D being played. Its hard to believe that this is the same team than totally handled Duke (yeah no Grayson Allen but that game was not close from mid first half on) in late December but that team was fresh.
I actually think we'll be a much better team next year. We will go 10-11 deep with talent. Will have to get used to not having Seth and Zach but we will be able to give max effort without flaming out mid-season.

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

Good points, sad but true. Is Buzz not seeing it, not willing to accept it, or in denial. Don't get me wrong, I think Buzz is a great coach and is building a team, but somewhere the wheels are coming off in tbe2nd half of the season . We do have other guys on scholarship, right? play them or turn them loose and get contributors ... sorry that sounds callous and cold. What an I missing?

We do have other guys on scholarship, right?

not really...we have 15 players on the roster, 5 either can't play because they are injured/transfers/redshirts (redshirts i suppose can play but pulling the shirt makes no sense now)...outside of the 8 that play every night there are 2 guys who i believe were walk-ons in donlon and galloway. i'm sure these guys work very hard, but only donlon could realistically help simply by being 6'8" but other than that this what we have

Galloway is now on scholarship

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

and he's got a wicket backwards half court shot. We should totally tap that potential...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Out of ignorance, what's the limit to number of bball scholarship are allowed, roster size? It seems like Duke and UNC have at least 2 full (1st team) of players plus more.

13 Scholarships, Roster size is at the discretion of the coach.

That one hurts because I believe that it was a winnable game.

No time to cry over it, though. Time to get up, dust yourself off, and prep for the next one.

we are tough to watch sometimes. there are mental lapses that cost us the game over and over. we play hard as all get up most of the time but mentally we make 5 or 6 bone head plays a game that cost of the game and this wasn't the first time this year. (left the best shooter on the floor wide open on an inbounds play, a horribly lazy pass that lead to the 9-0 run to close the first half, another one from leday when we were trying to make a come back in the 2nd that lead to a dunk) everytime I see one of these turnovers it brings me back to the ND game and the roll the ball down the court to save time TO. if we don't make the tournament that is the moment that I will pinpoint as to why. I know one play doesn't make or break a season but that's a defining moment in my opinion.

these guys are so lackadaisical with the basketball sometimes it drives me crazy I couldn't imagine being buzz I would lose my shhhhh.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

It seems we play similar offense to ND often... where the ball does the work. Less traditional PG play. Only our guys don't have the greatest PG / ball handling skills not to mention decision making skills. Comes with time unfortunately. I think these guys are getting better every game. All I can ask, all I really expected from this squad and I don't mean that in a bad way. Several guys I think have a shot at the NBA, not to mention overseas. But they gotta keep working hard improving to get there. No short paths to glory here.

I take back my comments on Outlaw. he looked lost last night,

I see the talent there and recognize his potential, but I just haven't seen him play as well as everyone around here seems to have expected him to this year. He looks lost more often than not, imo

He's just a guy. He's a backup who can do about everything okay.

But it reminds me to pump the brakes on Tyree Jackson, who people say is unstoppable in practices now. Last year, it was Outlaw who was the "best player on the floor in practices."

Really now? Im probably wrong but thought I read that Outlaw had taken close to a year off from playing at all.

Yeah he had a heart thing no?

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

Right, but I believe he was cleared to practice at some point and there was quite a bit of hype (it might have been the summer before now that I really think about it, I can't really remember the timeline)

I am still waiting to hear if that referee has been censured for the technical on Robinson last night. He had zero business being in a huddle during a timeout, let alone calling a technical during the timeout because a player brushed his arm.

You're going to be waiting a long time, man. It's the ACC

Even the announcers last night were calling the technical bullshit.

I'm not denying that it was BS, just saying I would be less surprised (more angry) to see them suspend JRob for it than to see them come down on the ref.

My guess is Rob cursed about not getting the and-1 on the 3 pointer, the ref told him to knock it off and Rob said WTF Ref and pushed him away. Watch Jaime, the assistant coach. He was hot at Rob immediately, so he heard the whole thing and felt that Rob did something to provoke the ref.

22% of the time we turned it over? Yikes. Getting more and more nervous about being on the bubble yet again. Really hope they win vs Clemson and Pitt to take some of the pressure off of things. Can't imagine this team picking up a win against uva or louisville right now, but i'll always give them a shot every game.

On the bright side, at least they looked better in the first half?

Really hope they win vs LOLUVa to take some of the pressure off things...

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

well....yeah there's that too

Turnovers cost us in football. Turnovers cost us in basketball. Game was blacked out for me AGAIN so I was forced to check ESPN scores for their "Last Play" updates. After I read the fourth "VT Turnover" in like two minutes, I clicked out.

The same thing happened to me. I tried to watch it on ACC Network and WatchESPN and both said it was blacked out. The game wasn't on local channels so I have no idea why.

Regional (cable) Sports Networks (RSNs) apparently have deals with ESPN for exclusive broadcast rights within certain areas of the country, for certain games. If you have cable, chances are your cable subscription comes with the right channel, and if it doesn't then chances are good that you can stream it via WatchESPN. If you don't have cable, or subscribe to a basic tier that doesn't include the right RSN, then you're SOL. usually posts a list of affiliates for each game, and Wednesday's game was no exception. Here was the list:

FOX Sports South
FOX Sports Carolinas
FOX Sports Florida
FOX Sports Midwest
FOX Sports Indiana – DB – Thu, 2/9, 12noon ET/11am CT
Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic Plus
YES – DB – 2am
ROOT Sports Pittsburgh
SportsTime Ohio
FOX Sports Detroit Plus
FOX Sports North Plus
FOX Sports Wisconsin Plus
FOX Sports Southwest Plus
FOX Sports West
ROOT Sports Rocky Mtn. – DB – 11pm ET/9pm MT
ROOT Sports Northwest – DB – 11pm ET/8pm PT

I assume that "DB" stands for something equivalent to "Tape Delay".

Fox Sports was playing a different game for Shentel.

This happens almost weekly for the ACC Network. There's been at least 3 or 4 VT games this year that were supposed to be airing in Raleigh where the networks that the ACC's website said were airing the game decided to air something else. And because it was tabbed before the season to be airing in this market, the online stream was blacked out.

We seriously can't get to this new network fast enough. We need ESPN to take this over, because those who are tasked with handling it now are in way over their heads.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

I have a really bad feeling that the team is close to playing its way out of a NCAA Tournament bid. Lets call it for what it is, we haven't been a good team since the win over Duke. They're not playing with any quickness on offense, defensively they get caught flat footed more times than a team really should, and their lack of size combined with all of that is making for some ugly ball. I know its hard to win on the road in the ACC, but its damn near impossible to do so when you're a sloppy team that is addicted to turning the ball over nearly 1 out of every 4 possessions.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

J Rob, and Hill have been shells of who they were last year and the ACC has finally caught up to LeDay and figured out how to limit him.
This is still a good team, but when you're playing with basically a 6 man roster you can't afford to be inconsistent or make really any mistakes against good competition.

Don't want to be pessimistic, but we could really easily play ourselves out of tourney contention in the next 3-4 games. We need this UVA game badly.

Leday actually has almost identical numbers in terms of ACC play from last year to this season. He is playing 1.5 MPG less, shooting 8% better overall, but is terrible from outside at a -7% off an already bad number (20% vs 27%), His free throw shooting is down 4%, rebounds are down from 6.35 to 6, assists are down by 0.3, point differential is a negative 0.6 (15.35 vs 14.72). Much bigger differential is Bibbs, who is scoring 2.6 points per game less than last season in the ACC.

One other thing I did note looking at Seth Allen. He has been much more steady in his performance this season in ACC play compared to last year but his numbers are almost identical and his shooting percentages are off the charts better this season. (17% improvement in shooting percentage, 12% improvement in 3P%, even a 7% improvement at the line) The positive of this is that he has hit double figure scoring in all but one game he played in so far this year. Last year he failed to reach 10 points in four games. The negative though is that we havent had the Super Allen game. So far this ACC schedule he has not broken the 20 point barrier once, last year he went over 20 seven times.

Honestly though, if you go and look at our offensive numbers as a team, they are almost equal from last season against the ACC. We are actually scoring 3.5 more points per contest. None of that matters though compared to our drop off defensively.

We are allowing 7.1 more points per game than last season in ACC play. Currently the differential as a whole is 79.8 allowed versus 74.2 scored. Last season it was 72.7 allowed vs 70.7 scored. Our rebounding numbers are about the same on both sides of the ball surprisingly. Where does the big number lie? Where everyone would expect it to that has contributed on most of these posts.....3P% allowed. This number is up 9% from last season. Last year the Hokies held opponents to 30% from outside and so far are allowing 39.2% this season. The average attempts are actually almost the same with less than a 1 attempt increase per game by opponents but they are hitting 1.6 more threes per game against us or about 5 points per contest.

Caveat all these numbers with the fact that I am comparing our current 11 games to the entire 18 from last year and we still have games against Clemson, BC, Wake and Pitt who are all in the bottom five teams in the conference right now so there is a chance these numbers improve.

I know we have a short bench but I think that with the speed these guys need to play with to stay sharp, we would be better off going to the man to man defense again because I feel the 2-3 zone gets these guys playing sluggish which feeds into all the times on offense that we see them standing around, getting lackadaisical with the ball, which as noted above gave way to another night where we turned the ball over on more than 20% of our possessions. 7 of the 15 turnovers happened outside the arc too which is incredibly bad. I just want to see that fast paced offense for a few more spurts per game because I think thats what makes all the difference between winning and losing for this team.

The other piece that I know Buzz has his reasons for but it still makes me shake my head sometimes is Allen and Leday sitting to start both halves. I know it supposedly allows Leday to get a feel for the opponent before he goes in but does it have to be six minutes, can it just be to the under 16 timeout? Leday played 30 minutes, Allen played 23. Leday managed a double-double with 10 and 10.

Allen only managed 10 points, but was shooting very well (4-9 from the field and 2-3 at the line) so I dont understand him not being in the game for such long periods. I know he played the whole UVA game but its tough as a fan to see your top two scorers sitting down while Miami jumps further out in front. Having Allen in to drive into the lane I think could have made a huge difference early in the second half. Several of their bigs were already on the edge of foul trouble and Allen is great at drawing contact.

Up above someone talked about how we use an eight man rotation, but I really consider it more a six man rotation with minor plugs from Sy and Outlaw. Look at the minutes last night. Clarke had 36, Bibbs had 30, Hill had 32, Robinson had 29, Leday had 30, and Allen had 23. Sy and Outlaw had 10 minutes each. Combined stats for those two players was 2 points, 4 rebounds and 3 personal fouls. I still hold that I would like to see Leday and Sy on the floor together more. I think that having Leday underneath with him at times could help Sy be more productive since it prevents a team from focusing solely on Sy underneath.

Agree wholeheartedly on the minutes issue. Buzz is doing the same thing I would kill Greenberg for; playing 5 to 6 guys heavy minutes while other useful players that could be used for others to catch a breath essentially are wasted. And the result so far for this team is looking like the same as those old teams; guys are just getting burned out coming down the stretch. I like Sy a lot. Imo, there's no excuse why he shouldn't be up around 15 minutes a game. He's active enough on defense to be a deterrent and on offense, he's actually almost always open the roll off picks but our guards rarely look for him. Point that out to them and he could contribute a lot more. He'll make mistakes due to his age, but its no worse than the mistakes a bunch of tired guys make. It's similar with Outlaw. If Buzz would adjust his rotations and give these guys more time, we'd be better off down the stretch. The starters wouldn't be so dead tired, which I personally think is where a lot of these mistakes are coming from. It's fatigue, not IQ or skill.

RE: Sy always being open on the roll. There's probably a reason why they don't throw him the ball, and I'm guessing it's not because they don't want him to score. Outlaw can't guard a houseplant or go by one on offense right now, there's a reason he doesn't play much.

Bottom line is that while this team is talented, we're three years removed from being a disaster. Need to get more guys who can really play into the program, Buzz is just playing the guys we have that give us a chance to win.

Leg for the positive outlook.

Sy is a touted recruit from a powerhouse program (Oak Hill). He can catch a basketball on a rim run. I've seen him do it both at Oak Hill and it games earlier this year. Just because he can't make his own shot like he's Olajuawon doesn't mean he's unplayable. There are ways to highlight what he (and Outlaw) can do to mask their deficiencies. And its not like I'm saying either should be playing like 25 minutes a game. All I'd like to see is around 15 minutes so the other guys can get a little extra rest in game to what appears to be a clear fatigue issue. Sy is already at roughly 12 minutes a game. You're telling me Buzz can't carve out 3 minutes across a 40 minute game? Those 3 extra minutes per game won't be the difference in a win/loss. Neither player is that big of a liability. But those 3 extra minutes over the course of multiple games throughout the season can definitely be the difference in players becoming fatigued.

Sy was the consensus 253 recruit last year. Just because he went to Oak Hill doesn't make him touted. And clearly the guys on the team don't think he's effective at catching the ball off the PnR. The coaches aren't coaching them to ignore a wide open Sy on the interior, so it's based off of them seeing him practice and realizing that's not a great play. I'm not saying he's unplayable, just that giving him a lot of minutes isn't a great way for us to win the game. 3 min in basketball can be a big run too.

Honestly I think Sy plays the perfect amount for what he gives us. Turns the ball over on 20% of his possessions on offense despite being the designated dunker, is a pretty mediocre rebounder on both ends of the floor, and misses rotations on defense. The only attraction is he blocks an above average number of shots. The coaches see the exact same thing we're seeing and Buzz isn't dumb, if he thought Sy could handle more minutes he'd get them. I could buy some more min for Outlaw since I don't think Bibbs is that huge of upgrade over him and our defense is already trash, maybe something with his medical condition limits him?

Not having Blackshear has been absolutely brutal for us this year. I think we're a completely different team if he plays 20-25 minutes a game...even Johnny Hamilton giving up 10 minutes a game would be a big deal, as it wouldn't force Buzz to play zone as often as he has this year.

Of course even better than Johnny Hamilton would be Johnny Hopkins. I smoked weed with Johnny Hopkins.

I 100% agree on the Blackshear point, but you dont know anybody named Johnny Hopkins

It was Johnny Hopkins and Sloan Kettering and they were blazin' that shit up everyday.


And this wedding is HORSESHIT!

"...sticks and stones may break my bones but I'm gonna kick you repeatedly in the balls Gardoki!"

I completely agree with this. We cannot play man defense because we have nobody healthy that can guard a mediocre 5 the entire game. With Blackshear and Hamilton healthy Clarke/Leday are matched up on a 4 and our guards are matching up 1-3. That is a much better situation for buzz to work with.

At around this time last year, Blackshear was starting to come into his own and playing better than you'd expect from a freshman big. I think the biggest difference is that Sy hasn't made that jump yet (one could argue his minutes haven't given him the chance to grow). Last year it seemed that we just took our chances and rolled with Blackshear and we were better off in the end for it.

The tourney is the furthest thing from my mind. I'd like this team to just PLAY BETTER. I think we're getting an ACC member boost more than we're playing like a tourney team.

Agree with this. We keep playing like we are now and NIT here we come (again...).

Pain is Temporary, Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever, Let's Go Hokies!!


"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

It's becoming more and more obvious to me that our strengths are also our biggest weaknesses. We can get up and down the floor as well as anyone in the country. We push the issue to make the other team uncomfortable. This works great for stretches of the game. It also backfires and seems to be the reason we give up the quick double digit runs. In this game, many of our fast breaks had me cringing because of the sloppyness. Our guys were off balanced when passing or receiving the ball and ended up in bad possessions.

In the half court, we seem to be lazy with the ball far too much. I would really love to see us try to have Chris Clarke get some more attention in the half court. He's a huge weapon that we only emphasize in fast breaks. There aren't many defenders that would be able to chase him through multiple screens. While that might not open him up for great shots because of the help defense, it should leave our spot up shooters wide open.

We can play with anyone in the country. Hopefully we can fix the consistency issue and finish strong.

Chris Clarke would be unguardable if he could develop a 10-12 ft jump shot. And he would be an All American if he could shoot a three.

Doesn't matter if it's cake or pie as long as it's chocolate.

I would like to Clarke just catch the ball and square up in the triple threat position. He is so quick and a pretty good passer. But when he catches the ball and stands straight up its too easy to guard him b/c he's not going to drive, he's not going to shoot and so the defender lays off and cuts off the passing lanes.

"Don't go to, go through"

Ah the triple threat position... I think we were in Morgan Wooten's basketball camp together at St John's :-)

'Its easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat,
but the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat'

Again, a reminder for everyone who is all doom and gloom about being on the wrong side of the bubble.

We need to win one road game (Pitt, Louisville, BC) and can afford to drop a home game (Looking at you, UVA) to finish 9-9 in the ACC. That would give us an on overall record of 20-10 which will comfortably have us in the tournament.

It is so so hard to win on the road this year in the ACC. I'm ok with this game because they showed what they were capable of in the first 19 minutes. It sucks that they weren't able to keep it up, but it's still a positive.

How much does the selection committee look at home and away records?

Us, GT, NCSU, and Pitt are the only ACC teams with only one ACC road win (Pitt only has 2 ACC wins), BC has 0 ACC road wins.

UNC is 7-0 at home, 3-2 on the road
FSU is 7-0 at home, 2-3 on the road
UVA is 4-1 at home, 4-2 on the road
Syr is 6-0 at home, 2-4 on the road
Lou is 4-1 at home, 3-3 on the road
Duke is 4-1 at home, 2-3 on the road
ND is 4-2 at home, 3-3 on the road
Mia is 4-2 at home, 2-3 on the road
VT is 4-1 at home, 1-5 on the road

Going to have to get accustomed to playing in places other than Cassell, IMO

Now finish up them taters; I'm gonna go fondle my sweaters.

They're a completely different team on the road. It's night and day.

"That kid you're talking to right there, I think he played his nuts off! And you can quote me on that shit!" -Bud Foster

This is an observation that I was going to make in a new thread, but perhaps it's more appropriate to drop in here.

When I look at this team, there are some things that just seem "off" from last year's run down the stretch. We have heart, hustle, and talent and are in a good spot, and much better overall than when Buzz started. But there's an important piece of the puzzle that moved on after last season - Assistant Coach Isaac Chew left for Texas A & M.

Most of the articles I've seen surrounding his role at VT focused on Chew's role in recruiting - but as with most assistants he was undoubtedly involved in all aspects of the program. He was with Buzz Williams for two years prior to joining VT, then both of the first two years here. I'm thinking this was a bigger hit than we may have realized. Will Gipe, one of Buzz's strong grad assistants involved in video/game prep, moved on to Richmond.

The coaching staff has to have chemistry, too - and there was some change at VT.

And no surprise there, it's Wally Lancaster with an airball that looked gorgeous on its way to nowhere...
2/15/89, VT vs. South Carolina...