Buzzketball Season 4 Week 1: Detroit (Please Have) Mercy

Welcome to a new weekly series. Today we discuss exhibition games, Remember the Titans, spiritual gangsters, and the RPI.


Wanders in and taps mic.

Is this thing on?

Hi guys! I'm sure you've noticed me around TKP leaving witty comments and being annoying about Cole Beck. But now, it's time for me to be a real contributor β€” something I never thought I would be doing as a sophomore in college. Let me introduce myself, tell you what you can expect to read from me, and then we'll jump right in. Buzzketball is just around the corner!

To start off, I'm a lifelong Hokie. No, seriously. I was born in Montgomery Regional Hospital and I've lived in Blacksburg my entire life. I know no other college team besides Virginia Tech. I grew up playing any and all sports, including varsity basketball throughout all of high school. I just wasn't good enough to play in college (obviously, I'm just a discount Steph Curry and didn't even deserve an offer from Davidson), so I had to figure something else out to do for a career. I didn't want to give up my love for sports, so I turned to journalism, broadcasting, or just about anything that would let me be around sports. Virginia Tech has a growing sports journalism department, so it was a no-brainer. I've had the opportunity to learn and become friends with Bill Roth (the voice of my childhood), cover Virginia Tech football and basketball during my freshman year, and I'm even a Hokie Ambassador here on campus. I rep the TKP brand strong on my tours, by the way.

Okay that's great, cool life story Henry, why am I still reading it?

Fine. Let's move on.

Basketball has always been my strong suit. I wanted to expand my ability to cover it as a journalist, and Joe has given me a great platform to do just that! Every week, hopefully on a Tuesday if I can keep my schedule, you're going to read a recap of the previous week of Buzzketball games and a look ahead to the following week's slate of contests. I'll be attending as many games as I can (read: all home games and maybe a couple of the highly anticipated road games), so I can give you an in-depth read into how the basketball team looks in person.

I think I've stalled enough. Let's talk about the South Carolina exhibition game, and take a look at the season opener against Detroit Mercy, along with the Citadel game (spoiler: there will be a lot of points in that game).

Virginia Tech at South Carolina (86-67)

Alright, let's get this out of the way. Nickeil Alexander-Walker is the best player on this team, Kerry Blackshear Jr. is the best post player ever, and Virginia Tech is going to the Final Four.

Great. Now let's actually talk about the game. Exhibition? Game? Exhibition.

Here's the rundown β€” South Carolina was a Final Four team last season. Did they make a bit of an impressive run to get there? Absolutely. But they were there. And then the Hokies went out on the Gamecocks' home court on Sunday and won by 19. I know that it was an exhibition and that it doesn't count towards total wins and losses, but this was a win in my eyes.

True freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker looked phenomenal. His first shot in a Hokies jersey was a contested deep three pointer, and he DRAINED it. The next time down the court? He attacked the rim and made a tough layup in traffic. We've all heard the hype about this kid ever since he signed, but to actually see him on the court showing off his skill set, it's exciting. NAW finished the exhibition with a game-high 18 points, five rebounds and only one turnover.

Other high points from the exhibition included the return of Kerry Blackshear Jr., Devin Wilson, and Chris Clarke. All three of those players are crucial to this team being successful this season. To see them all out on the court competing on Sunday calmed a lot of my worries ahead of the season.

Blackshear Jr. is easily Tech's best post player. No argument. The Hokies desperately needed him last year at points to grab at least a couple offensive rebounds, and I will continue to believe the Hokies would've beaten Wisconsin had he been in the lineup for the NCAA tournament. Don't at me. He put up 12 points (including a three pointer?) and eight rebounds in 26 minutes of action.

Devin Wilson, while being approximately 37 years old, is a welcome sight on defense. He's the scrappy, annoying guard that will harass an opponent for an entire game if needs be. Sure, he's not a serious threat on offense (two points in 20 minutes of play), but he's disruptive on the defensive end. He snagged three steals, and committed four fouls β€” not that ideal, but come on, it was Ted Valentine reffing.

And to finish off this recap, remember when Clarke tore his ACL in the UVA game and everybody started saying that he might be able to be back for ACC play next season? Yeah, no. He's on a minutes restriction β€” 15 minutes in the exhibition game β€” but he's more back than Miami's football team. Too soon? Yes? Oh well.

Five points, four rebounds, and three assists in 15 minutes while still wearing a knee brace just once again shows why he's the most valuable player for Virginia Tech.

November 10: Detroit Mercy

The good: I'm pretty sure Tech's going to win this game.

The bad: It's not a resume builder.

Detroit Mercy lost to a D2 school last week. So.... take that as you will. The Titans are 289th in the RPI right now, and I really question why Tech's playing teams with such a terrible ranking in that precious metric. Win? Congrats, you were supposed to and honestly it probably hurts Tech's strength of schedule. Lose? Kiss the dance goodbye. That might be a little dramatic, but I think you get my point.

The Hokies have no business losing this game, and I don't expect them to. I'm looking forward to seeing what type of rotation Buzz uses early in the season. Justin Bibbs sat out the South Carolina game due to being in Buzz's dreaded doghouse.

I'm curious to see if he plays or whether it's a more lengthy benching.

Hopefully, next Tuesday, I did not write about how Tech should remember the Titans moving forward.

November 12: The Citadel

The good: The Hokies scored 73 points in a half against them last season.

The bad: The Citadel is only marginally better than Detroit Mercy.

Here's another head scratcher of a matchup. After a 113-71 blowout win last season, Buzz mentioned that he didn't like scheduling the Bulldogs. Partly because the Hokies don't match up well for such a different style of play (fast, faster, and fastest), and partly because it won't help RPI.

The Citadel is sitting pretty at 283rd in the RPI, a mere six spots ahead of Detroit Mercy. No offense to the Bulldogs, but the only reason I'm looking forward to this game is because I think it's fun to see a lot of points scored. Again, there's no point in playing these types of game. It's frustrating that Tech's always having to justify its strength of schedule, but schedules two really meager contests, and I will die on this hill.

That's all for this week! I look forward to talking with TKP every week until the middle of April.


Thanks for the heads up on Buzzketball being right around the corner, it always seems like Basketball shouldn't start until the football regular season is finished, but every year there it is!

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

I need Buzz's shirt.

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Ok they are expensive

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

Sounds like you need the Spiritual Millionaire shirt instead.

Macklemore said it best:
I'm like, "Yo, that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt."
Limited edition, let's do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt - that's just some ignorant bitch. Shit

Great first article! I look forward to reading these every week.

"For those who have passed, for those to come, reach for excellence."

I was surprised to see the Citadel on the schedule again too. I'm sure Buzz wanted a couple of real basement dwellers to blast to get the team's feet wet, but we really couldn't play some other SoCon team?

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

Isn't the Detroit Mercy game part of that preseason "Tourney" we're in this year? I don't know if we had any influence in scheduling it.

It is indeed a part of the 2K Classic. Which just makes it even more confusing in my opinion.

Why does a early season tournament include such bad teams?

Eh, it is probably two good teams and two bad teams. Each good team plays a bad team, then each other. The bad teams then play for third place and at least one of the teams will have a win!

This game and the game against Houston Baptist are both technically part of the 2k Classic, but just part of the "Blacksburg Regional"

It's weird, but the tournament is already set up with just 4 decent teams.

Saint Louis (who we'll play 11/16), Providence and Washington. With the winners of those two games playing 11/17 after the losers play each other also on 11/17.

We actually play Houston Baptist after the tournament (11/21), but it's still considered part of the event.

2k Classic Schedule Link

Apologies for all the edits

I don't play 2K sports games. Are they as buggy as this tourney schedule?

This tournament doesn't even have good teams. Both VT and Providence need to pray the other wins, otherwise the winner will face a RPI 190 Washington or an RPI 220 Saint Louis.

Let's wait and see how the season turns out on RPI.

Always choose joy.

Thanks for the intro and in advance for your contributions, Henry. We'll have to come up with a cool way to tie your last name into the column titles - like 'Henry Skuttles the Opponent.'

I am PUMPED that Blackshear is healthy again. I felt like when he went down last year, he was getting ready to explode. If him and Clarke both stay healthy and we continue great contributions from everyone else, I can't wait to see how good we can be this season.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Buzzketball Skuttlebutt

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Thanks, Henry! I look forward to your articles and insight. It's nice to get excited about VT basketball again.

Was there any mention after the exhibition of possibly starting up a yearly game against South Carolina? I know the coaches are friends and it would surely be a more entertaining OOC November/December game then what we are accustomed to. I am hoping that the start of the ACC Network will lead to more attractive OOC games.

That would be a welcome addition to our schedule.

VT and USCe have scrimmaged, as one of the "secret" scrimmages that the NCAA allows, for several years now. It just became a public one this year to help raise money. It would be nice to see it become a real game, for sure.

Every week you're going to read a recap of the previous week of Buzzketball games and a look ahead to the following week's slate of contests.

Nice! Really looking forward to seeing these all season!

Great write-up, Skutt. Looking forward to reading what you have for us the rest of the season.

I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed having something not about football to read this week. Buzzketball is getting started at just the right time

This is going to be an exciting year of Hokie Buzzketball

I feed off of nightmares

I'm so friggin excited that Chris Clarke should be good to go this season.

Using /s is for cowards.

He's my favorite player.

My expectations is that he's on minutes reduction through November. He will probably not regain full explosiveness this year and since that's such a big part of his game, he may have a less than great year. But there was scuttlebutt about him working hard on his jump shot game while recovering and him draining a long 3 vs. USCe was great to see. Hopefully he's picked up some of that game and contributes more away from the basket in half court sets. It may take a year before he's dunking balls of the backboard like he did vs. Duke last year, but he may end up a better player.

When Chris was coming off his injury last year early on he said that he wasn't 100% until the new year. He was playing full games and wasn't on much a restriction for some of the early season but said he couldn't rebound on jumps as fast and his cuts weren't as sharp.

The funny thing is, he still looked like the best athlete on the floor during that time haha. So I agree that it will take him some time (I've heard 100% recovery from acls is usually a full year) but if he even gets to the point where he can play a full game it will be awesome to have back. Becuase his 80% is still enough to embarrass defenders so hopefully he won't be minute restricted as we get into the meat of our schedule.

Looking forward to these write-ups!

Having watched the game exhibition on ESPNreplay last night, I have a few thoughts, comments, questions.

Anybody else notice the SEC scoreboard in the corner of the screen could not keep score, or the clock. It got so bad they pulled it down several times. We spent much of the fourth quarter up by 12 with no time on the clock.

it was Ted Valentine reffing

Thank you for such a succinct explanation of all the really screwy calls in the game. If it had a been real game I would have been losing it.

Looks like Blackshear, Clarke, Bibbs, Walker, Robinson should be the best line-up, but guessing Clarke comes in for Hill who starts, similar to last years subs. We have a few guys that are not quite ready for ACC play, so hopefully they have a chance to come along for stretches against the weaker opponents.

I know it was a scrimmage, but the three starters USCe lost must have been why they went to the final four.

How far ahead do we make our OOC basketball schedule? How do tournaments and tournament opponents fit into that?

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Yeah with all due respect to South Carolina, they are no where near the team they were last year. Thornwell was the heart and soul of that team. His play was a huge reason they made that tourney run.

"...When we step on that field, they bleed like we bleed and we're gonna show the world."
-Corey Marshall

Can't wait to see NAW in some actual legitimate game action. Have a feeling he's going to be an incredibly special player for us over the next few years. If he's as good as advertised, our ceiling is about to be raised.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

His first basket that Skutt mentioned was a moment of like: "damn, we actually have an All-American. This will be fun."

Always choose joy.

damn, we actually have an All-American

You mean Canadian?

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)..

Contrary to popular belief, Canada is, in fact, part of North America

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

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)..

If he's as good as advertised, there are no "next few years"

He's definitely getting a lot of hype, I haven't heard one and done talk for him. I think he's here with us at least 2 or 3 years before the possibility of going pro arises.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

Bleacher Report just put out a Mock Draft for 2018 with him going at #19.

And this is a tweet from his mother in response to an article titled "Don't Sleep on These Potential One-And-Done Freshmen"

I'm not saying it's a 100% sure thing, I'm just saying the likelihood of him leaving is greater than him staying if he performs up to expectations

Fair enough. As much as I'd love to have a kid of his quality around for 4 years, actually having a 1 and done player come through VT could ratchet up recruiting that much higher.

Which is pretty crazy when you consider the classes we have been getting the last couple years.

"I regret nothing. The end." - Ron Swanson

Agreed. I'm certainly not wishing him away. Assuming he plays up to everyone's expectations and the rest of the team plays on par/slightly improved from last year, I think this could be the best season in VT Basketball history.

I think he's here 2 years max. I could see it being a Dwayne Bacon situation where the NBA loves him but really wants him to work on one specific part of his game before he makes the jump. Once Dwayne came back sophomore year with a jumpshot everybody knew he was gone. I hope for his sake as well that he's gone after two so he can have a long and successful career at the next level.

The ceiling may even go beyond the roof.

Hey at least we have a few big boys on the noncon this year. Kentucky coming to town is a good look

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

(We go to Kentucky, they don't come to us)

Fun Fact: Kentucky doesn't play a true road game until 2018

we play @ Kentucky

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)..

Hey that just means Tech is going to beat them at their place on National television

I feed off of nightmares

Bourbon Run!!! As a tip, the distilleries are only allowed to sell 4 bottles per person, so plan to visit several, bring a non-drinking friend, and a change of clothes with a hat when touring. They also offer bus tours of the bourbon trail if you can come in a day early/stay a day late for the game.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

That would be awesome if I wasn't 19

I feed off of nightmares

Never let age interfere with misspent youth.

Edit-Before I'm blasted, I do not condone underage consumption of such fine spirits. You guys should def stick to O'douls.

I've had a little bit of alcohol in my life one thing I know is I don't like beer

I feed off of nightmares

Oh youll learn.

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!

A hat? Why a hat? What kind of hat?

BTW, Bibbs is more than in the doghouse, he's suspended for 3 games

Coincidence that that lines up with 10% of the games of the year, which ALSO matches up with a certain punishment guideline the school has?


Go Hokies

Go Falcons

CBS laying down a little Hokie love today... Linky

Where every college basketball team ranks in each state: Virginia

1. Virginia Tech Hokies

With Chris Clarke (pictured), Justin Robinson and Ahmed Hill back, Virginia Tech's likely to improve on a 22-win season from a year ago. And you read right: VPI is going to be better than Virginia, which hasn't been the case since Tony Bennett got to Charlottesville. Buzz Williams' best season yet in Blacksburg is set to start. Sleeper Sweet 16 team.

The rest
2. Virginia
3. VCU
4. Richmond
5. George Mason
6. Liberty
7. Old Dominion
8. Norfolk State
9. William & Mary
10. Radford
11. Hampton
12. James Madison
13. Longwood
14. VMI

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Sleeper Sweet 16 team

Just. Let. That. Sink. In.

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

And London "Never Gonna Graduate" Perrantes is gone! I swear that guy still isn't real - he somehow escaped from Cartoon Network.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I thought Chris Clarke was going to be out for awhile and even redshirt because Buzz would rather get a full season out of him than half. The fact that he's back this early means his recovery went awesome, and we shouldn't be seeing any lingering effects of the injury by the time ACC play rolls around if his minutes are handled properly.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

I'm even a Hokie Ambassador here on campus.

NO WAY I think you might have given me a tour last spring
small world

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

Sadly, I started in the summer, so I doubt it was me haha.

ah well. He gave a good tour tho
might want to change your comment for whoever runs Hokie Ambassadors ;)

You put those words together, those are my favorite words, Popeyes and bahama
- Mike Burnup

God damn young blood. Yall are the best. Imagine an entire generation of TKPers who haven't even experienced VT first hand. That's some inside shit there.

Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that's bad!

It was me it was me all along JK

I feed off of nightmares