Virginia Tech's Selection Sunday Celebration

Recap of the Hokies' dance party.

[Michael Shroyer]

The vibe inside Cassell Coliseum Sunday evening was quite different from the building where ACC Tournament champion Duke had the devil beat out of them, and Virginia watched its hopes of a win die on the rim. The unknowns and anxiety of competition were replaced with celebration and elation. The Hokies were going dancing, and everyone knew it.

Well before Cassell's gate was set to open at 4:30 PM, there was a line stretching down the sidewalk, around the corner, and down Beamer Way almost to Lane Stadium. Even outside the buzz was palpable. There was a tailgate across the street, because Blacksburg, and honks from cars riding by blasted through the chilly air.

Outside, I asked several people how they felt about Tech's looming NCAA Tournament bid.

"I haven't been following Virginia Tech basketball for super long, but it's been a while hasn't it?," said 2019 undergrad Linh Huynh about Tech's 10-year drought. "I guess I felt like I should come be a part of this just because of how long it's been."

2020 undergrad Kimberly Trotter wanted to take in the rare moment too.

"I doubt this will be something we do every year, just because I think it's something we'll be expecting. But it's nice to recognize this accomplishment," Trotter said.

Once inside Cassell, the concourse was flooded as the Hokie faithful surged towards the promotions desk in hopes of snagging one of a thousand commemorative t-shirts.

And yet being crammed together like sardines could not deter the upbeat and happy crowd. As we all spilled into the seats, Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop MC'ed the half-an-hour-or-so before CBS' selection show actually started.

Tech began the pre-show festivities with a great montage of season highlights which noted the different achievements and records set by the Hokies this season. Tech's second straight 20-plus win season. A program-tying seven conference wins at home. Ty Outlaw's school-record eight three-point buckets against Miami. All that good stuff.

Next, Tech's seniors were interviewed by Laaser and Burnop. Former USF transfer Zach LeDay addressed the journey the he and the team had gone through.

"It's going to be just crazy," LeDay said. "It's going to be so much excitement. All the blood sweat and tears that goes into this. A lot of people don't get to see it. All the behind the scenes and all the craziness and stuff like that, but once we see that name, we'll be ready to play. Do everything it takes to win and get to this Final Four."

Buzz Williams spoke last and recognized all the people involved with the program. He first asked the parents of the players to stand up, followed by the wives of staff members. After them, he asked President Sands, Whit Babcock, and administrators to rise. Following them were the players and his staff. Finally, he recognized to the crowd.

"If I haven't called your name, it doesn't necessarily mean that I don't know your name, but you're just as important as all of the people that are standing up, so please stand up," Williams said to applause.

Throughout his remarks it was apparent how proud Williams was to have guided the program from the ACC's cellar to the brink of its first tournament appearance since 2007.

And then it happened. The selection show started, and the crowd didn't have to wait long to learn the Hokies' fate. It was the loudest sigh of relief I have ever heard.

I've been in Cassell too many times to remember. I've heard it at its loudest and its quietest. And while this might not have been the most raucous environment, it was certainly the happiest.

Moving forward on Williams' watch, the Hokies may make the NCAA tournament more often than not. After all, winning appears to be a byproduct of the culture Williams has cultivated in Blacksburg. However, this was a unique event. After experiencing years of losses mixed with the disappointment of popped bubbles, those in Cassell were rewarded a memory ten years in the making — the jubilation of watching Virginia Tech punch its dance ticket.

Comments

They FB lived this. Really cool to see the player interviews (I joined after LeDay's) and Buzz's speech.

I doubt this will be something we do every year, just because I think it's something we'll be expecting.

Kimberly knows.

Another white bronco? The first one didn't go too far.

Awesome stuff for those of us who couldn't be there, thanks Henry!

Awesome write-up! Love that there were so many fans on hand to watch this. I really hope the hype of basketball season continues to grow on campus every year going forward.
Zach LeDay actually surprised me here, but I love it.

Do everything it takes to win and get to this Final Four

I was actually wondering if the team would have such a relief making the tourney that they would lose a bit of that drive. Go get 'em!

I think Bibbs said in the presser after the watch party that around mid February Buzz started working on shifting the team's mindset from "Let's make the tournament" to "Let's make the tournament and win some games".

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Reminds me of the rally we had in Cassell for the football team in 2004 after the win over Miami to secure the ACC Title. That was just one fun party, and I assume it was a similar feel yesterday for the basketball program.

That being said, take a second to let it sink in on what yesterday actually means. 36 months ago we were were a 9-20 basketball program that finished the year on a 7 game losing streak, completing a 1-17 run and didn't have a prayer for any postseason play after our first round exit from the ACC Tournament at the hands of Miami, the only ACC program we beat on the season. If you had told me at that point in 3 years we would finish 7th and tied with UVa in arguably the most loaded ACC we've ever seen en route to a 9 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I'd have told you that you were insane. If you had told me we'd accomplish this with our starting center out for the entire season, and losing arguably our best player right before the stretch run for possibly 12 months, I wouldn't have even allowed the conversation to finish.

What Buzz Williams is doing for this program is truly unbelievable. As long as he is in Blacksburg, the roof is our ceiling for this program.

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

I see what you did there!

As long as he is in Blacksburg, the roof is our ceiling for this program.

via GIPHY

"Welcome to the Terror Dome." -- Corey Moore

Jesus Christ, what an awkward clap

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

The roof, the roof, the roof is our ceiling

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

We don't need no water, let the Badgers and Wildcats burn

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

One of my all time favorite movies!

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Such an underrated movie.

The Manchester United theme song is still sung in my household

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

To UVA basketball

Meanwhile, in Tony Bennett's office...

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

That is one big ass fan

"It might be dark outside, but it's LeDay in here." -Jay Bilas

Great write up. Not too exicted about Nova in round 2 but hey.....I'm a believer in upset city.

We are all 0-0 going into this tourney. Once we put Wiscy in its place, I think we are actually bigger than Nova.

Friendly reminder that if you enjoy success, join the Hokie Club. Otherwise, when our outstanding coaches leave because we can't support them financially, please only blame the guy in the mirror.

Go Hokies!

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

dem pajama pants doe?

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)..

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

That can leave one with some serious hand lacerations. - Personal Experience

You will see this game, this upset and this sign next on ESPN Sportscenter. Virginia Tech 31 Miami 7

Sort of a side thing, but interesting to note that both Seth and Buzz take us to the dance in their 3rd years as HC. Do we have a chance to duplicate (or surpass) '07??

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

It took Seth 4 years - 1st year in the Big East and then the 3rd year in the ACC.

Thx. It was so close together, I was off by a year. My bad.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

In the last video, the guy screaming sounds like he's dying of multiple 2nd and 3rd degree burns. I hope he survived.

"Yeah, it do." - Mike Vick

He was sitting 2 rows behind me (obviously), and was very enthusiastic. Was very entertaining to say the least.

Couldn't have been more entertaining than the guy in South Bend who said HUBBA HUBBA after everything he yelled towards the field.

Can't remember who on here was talking about that guy.

Found a video of the event in question

Don't let this comment take away from the fact that Arkansas blew a 24 point 2nd half lead in the Belk Bowl.
Don't let the Belk Bowl take away from the fact that Matt Ryan blew a 25 point 2nd half lead in the Super Bowl.

He said he wants to do it in Cassell every year, but I think they should limit that to big years like if we're going to be a top 3 seed. Other years I'd like to see it rotate around campus and downtown, not just stick to Cinebowl.
West End, D2, Squires, Burruss, Pamplin, Torg, Torg Bridge, the new engineering building, Moss Arts. Hokie House, TOTS, Taphouse, Sharkeys, Sycamore, The Cellar, and definitely The Lyric. Show off different non basketball parts of VT and Blacksburg.

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay