Buzzketball's win in Atlanta highlights both their worst and best

The Hokies avoid near disaster on the road in their 52-49 win over Georgia Tech.

[Mark Umansky]

What a bucket of garbage.

Like, a literal bucket of garbage.

My grandparents used to have a bucket they kept by the sink where they threw things like fruit pits and vegetable peels together to get funky, so they could use it as fertilizer. It stunk. It was gross inside and out. It was something no one wanted to go near, not to mention catch a whiff of.

The Virginia Tech men's basketball team's 52-49 win over Georgia Tech was that kind of bucket of garbage.

Sure, all you people in the comments will hit me with "well a win's a win!" while moving on about your merry day, but I think it's important to consider at what cost a bucket of garbage comes.

At my grandparents' house, they got great fertilizer for their vegetables, but it came at the cost of my nose.

The Hokies won the basketball game, but it came at the cost of our eyes.

Their 52-49 victory in Atlanta was what we can call an outlier(let's hedge our bets here and say "probable outlier). The Hokies shot 17-57 from the field (29.8%), 5-27 from three (18.5%), and 13-19 from the line (68.4%). They missed open shots and contested shots. Shots from near and shots from far. Shots from right and shots from left. You could write a damn Dr. Seuss book about the number and type of ways they missed.

But luckily for them? The Yellow Jackets were even worse. Georgia Tech hit at a decent clip, but took 20 fewer attempts than the Hokies, due to their 18 turnovers and 50% rate from the free throw line.

If ESPN had a sense of humor, they'd set this entire game to Yakety Sax and put it behind their paywall.

The Hokies won for two reasons. Kerry Blackshear Jr was everywhere in the first half. Justin Robinson and Nickeil Alexander-Walker couldn't buy a basket (4-23 combined), but their big man bailed them out, taking Yellow Jacket defenders down low with glee.

The post player had 12 of his 14 in the first 20 minutes, keeping what was otherwise an atrocious team offensive performance afloat. But even when he stopped scoring, Blackshear crashed the glass, was a force inside, and drew so much attention that the Hokies collected 13 offensive rebounds.

They may not have been able to make many shots, but because of the rebounding effort they were able to take (and make) enough of them to win.

Secondly, their defense was impenetrable, and forced the Jackets into uncomfortable positions all night. They were physical, and caused chaos to the point where it was surprising any time Georgia Tech did something positive. With Paul Johnson in the building, you could say it was reminiscent of a Bud Foster-led performance. At least, any one before the 2018 season (if you can't laugh about it now, when can you? Right?)

Even when Josh Pastner's club had the chance to tie or take the lead, the Hokie defense never faltered. In fact, their intensity grew.

Everyone is on a string. They communicate through every pick (both off and on ball), and Wabissa Bede won't let the ball get within five feet of primary option Jose Alvarado.

Bede's defense is so good there, it's unreal. Alvarado ran through two picks to set up a one-on-one situation with the defense overloaded to one side (with the possibility to run a two man game with Abdoulaye Gueye, who's to his left).

Should Alvarado simply catch the ball, Pastner has what he wants (his best player, away from much of the defense with a chance to win). But Bede simply doesn't let it happen. Chaos ensues, and the Yellow Jackets don't know where to go with the ball. Hokies win one that they would have lost in seasons past.

It may have been an awful game, but it was an incredible defensive performance from the Hokies. And with Virginia next on the schedule, hope to see that kind of play continue.

The Starting Five

Unlike last time, these are the five most concerning things I saw tonight.

5. The depth problem

I'm not concerned that Buzz only has eight guys to pull from. Eight players is a pretty normal rotation both collegiately and professionally, and barring anything catastrophic they should be fine against most teams.

But the worry did creep into my brain as I watched the full court sprint between UNC and NC State on Tuesday night. Both squads ran up and down, played nine dudes a piece, and made me tired watching from the couch.

How will the Hokies manage games not only against the Tar Heels (an obvious ACC contender), but against deep squads like the Wolfpack and Florida State (two teams on Tech's talent tier)? Duke/UVA/UNC were always going to be tough, but those other games have peaked my concern as well.

4.The top-10 talk-up

Virginia Tech being a top-10 basketball team is great. Amazing. Unheard of. Borderline unsettling.

But I forgot how annoying it is to go into an opposing arena with the fans going crazy and the announcers talking about how good the Hokies are, and then acting like it was an insane thing for them to come out ice cold. Announcers, by their nature, want to call an upset. It's just more fun to see an unranked underdog like the Jackets take down their big bad opponent, and I think we'd all want the same thing to happen if we were in that position.

But since this is the first time the Hokies have ever been on the receiving end of the old "insert ranked team here has to be careful! Things could get dangerous in insert literally any opposing arena tonight!", it makes games extra stressful. Especially close ones like this, and I hate it.

Could announcers just go back to loving Buzz Williams and calling his team a scrappy underdog again? Is that too much to ask?

3. The Penn State parallels

Road game against a trash power five team with a good defense. It wasn't a coincidence that we saw similar struggles against the Nittany Lions. Both squads are in the top 20 in defensive efficiency, and can give anyone problems on that end of the floor.

But it was disheartening to see both Alexander-Walker and Robinson no-show, but to their credit they were playing a great defense! It's not like they'll face something that stingey every night, right?

(Checks KenPom)

(Gasps)

They play a whopping seven games against teams with top-20 defensive efficiency (UVA twice, Duke, UNC, Syracuse, Florida State, and Georgia Tech again). Three of those are on the road.

Will Tech be able to do enough against some of the tougher defenses to eek out a win like they did tonight, when the Yellow Jackets basically wrapped it up and gave it to them with a gift receipt?

I think so. But it deserves some thought.

2. Ahmed Hill in ACC play

We all know the numbers don't look great, but let's check them out again.

Sophomore year: 45% pre-ACC, 34% post-ACC/NCAA Tournament

Junior year: 51% pre-ACC, 30% post-ACC/NCAA Tournament

Senior year: 49% pre-ACC, currently 5-17 (29%) in his first three ACC games.

I don't believe in curses or bad luck when it comes to this much data. Hill missing so many shots in conference play is an interesting trend, especially considering not only how well he's shot (even in specific moments against conference opponents) at times, but how deep he hits many of those shots.

Here's my theory: Hill has a hitch in his shooting form.

That pause he takes with the ball down by his torso as he gathers, then moves into his shooting motion, that's his comfort zone. When he can do that, he's a 48% shooter.

But here's the thing about the ACC. These coaches play you two or sometimes three times a year, and they know your scouting report. Close out quickly on Hill, and he rushes his shooting form, turning a 48% shooter into a 34% shooter. In order to defend Tech, opponents have to do that every time.

The one difference this season is that Hill isn't defined by his corner threes. Yes, he needs to hit them to keep the offense in its flow, but he's a pesky defender. He gets out in transition. He can dribble baseline, force a defensive rotation, and find the right teammate. He's still the best version of himself, even if the triples in conference play still don't fall.

1. When're we going to start talking about Justin Robinson?

I'm not sure if he's injured or just in a bit of a slump, but the senior point guard has played pretty poorly since the team came back from Christmas.

Yes, he wound up banking in the go-ahead triple with three minutes to go, and had a chance for a game-icing dagger moments later, but he hasn't looked right for a while. His scoring has been down since Purdue (the only time he broke 20), but that's due largely to his shifted role in the offense—he's a true floor general, his job is to get everyone involved and operating at a high capacity.

It's the other stuff, however, that concerns me. His turnovers don't reflect it, but he's been more careless with the ball. His passes aren't always putting his teammates in positions to succeed (a completed bounce pass to Blackshear's ankles, for instance), or are downright risky.

Against both BC and Georgia Tech, he seemed gassed at points in the second half (not great for a team without a pure backup point guard just three games into conference play), and just hasn't been particularly effective.

As much as I rave about Alexander-Walker, Tech needs Robinson more than anyone. He's vital to everything they do on both ends of the court, and if he's not playing well there's always a potential for disaster.

And considering their next opponent is Virginia, that's a problem.

Comments

Great Article Brian and I appreciate the analysis...

Joe, I dont have 84 for you right now, but I would like to donate something for this article? Is there a patreon link or something where people that aren't members can donate...i think that would be something good for this site..

You could always get something off shop.thekeyplay.com, or just save up until you can become a member. No shame in that, it took me a while to get financially stable enough to become a member.

"Hokie religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid." Han Solo

I appreciate you asking, but right now the only way to financially support TKP is via TKPC. That's basically for the same reasons as not having monthly payments, but then there's the overhead of integrating with a third-party system. Hope you're in a spot down the road to join, even if you decide not to.

For anyone on the fence, this is the type of quality coverage and insight TKP intends on providing for Buzzketball this season. Some articles will be for TKPC.

Great work, Brian.

Were you the person that wrote about Hill's shooting motion here last year? I know I remember reading someone mentioning it in the comments last year and it stuck with me because it does make a lot of sense. He's been more active all around this year though, not wallowing in sorrow when the shots are falling and finding other ways to affect the game whether its on defense, chasing down 50/50 balls, or simply getting shots closer to the rim.

It might've been me. I've said for a while that the reason Hill disappears in ACC play is because he shoots from his chin, similar to Joel Berry. But where Berry jumped high to shoot, Med shoots like LeDay barely leaving the ground. His shot is accurate when open, and because we play a very weak OOC schedule he can get it off over smaller low/mid-major defenders and poor rotations. The ACC is the best conference in the country, with Hall of Fame coaches and blue-chippers who combine to make long and athletic defenses. Med can't get his set shot from his chin over Kyle Guy or Cam Johnson in good defensive schemes. And, like Brian said, scouting reports will show good closeouts force him to rush and alter his shot resulting in more misses.

The clip above showing him bringing the ball down to his waist is something I haven't actually seen before. The combination of that, the low start point, and having a set shot make me expect the same level of production from deep as the past 2 years.

Outside it's night time, but inside it's LeDay

bringing the ball to his waist is called a "dip" . Most effective shooters use it, it's a good thing.

Sigh... We need this guy's shooting form

Let's Go

HOKIES

Coulda, woulda, shoulda.


Btw, I'm there with you on JRob. What the heck's going on with that?? Thought he's supposed to be on the watchlists for one of the nation's top PGs, & aside maybe 2-3 games, doesn't really feel like it this season.

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I noticed him with his hands on his knees gasping for air on the court after a couple of fast plays in last weekend's game against BC. Almost like he has a respiratory cold or something. Watched him throw a few passes out of bounds in the past few games too. Not like him at all.
Blackshear seems to walk in his tippy toes with one foot (I think it's the left). My wife is concerned that could develop into something else...like a chain reaction, causing an injury somewhere else. I wonder if the trainers are working with him on that tip toe thing, or if no one thinks it's a problem.

JP

Blackshear has walked on his toes since he got to VT. I believe he had an extra bone in his foot and recently had it surgically removed, but continues to walk/run that way out of habit. It's really hurt his ability to set screens or take charges without fouling because officials usually look at a players heel to determine if they are planted.

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

Well, going to need a lot more from hill. Was hoping he would be better than his typical acc form this year. Good thing we have NAW to save the day as usual.

Chick Patty w/ Cheese

Did you watch the game? NAW didn't save the day. He had his worst game of the year.

We would've lost that game without Ahmed Hill.

Sarcasm based on a cold game from hill last week and everyone declaring hill was back to acc form in the game thread

Chick Patty w/ Cheese

I didn't pick up on the fact we were wearing all orange until I watched the clip above (despite watching the whole game live). Typically, I wouldn't believe anything that I'm about to type, but some of the TKP community may have made me a believer. I'm now convinced we should never wear all orange on the gridiron or even orange jerseys. Has the orange curse for making us play ugly football bleed into basketball? Is this the same as the horrible football off-season seemly affecting basketball (Clark, Nolley). How do we break this trend? Sincerely, a new superstitious and anti-orange TKP convert.

Edited to ask how we break the trend.

I agree with the Orange effect. I would burn my Orange shirt except it cost so damn much. I'm no expert, but JRob probably got an ass chewing from Buzz after losing to State Pen. He was not a starter in the next game and became a distributor and defender and not a scorer since. Defense was awesome last night and it sure helped when GT got in foul trouble. Lots of shots of Chin Balls in the stands.

foresthokie
US Navy Vet

Yeah I'll say a win is a win (that's how I felt immediately after the buzzer as my pulse went back down), but maybe more importantly:

ACC opponent less than 50 on the road.

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

Great article! Apart from having more guys that can step up when others aren't shooting well (Horne,Bede,hill), I think the biggest difference in us winning all these games this year is the defense. Man have we looked good in that end, even late in the game when guys get tired everyone is dropping back and playing HARD on defense. Can't say I remember seeing this last year and perhaps this is the biggest difference in outcomes for this year.

Also regarding hills shooting motion, I wish He would take advantage of these teams pursuing him fast with a pump and lean. Can't tell you how many times last night multiple guys on our team would have the defender airborne because of them closing out quick on the three, only to take the ball down and dribble around then or double clutch and try and pass the ball away. Conversely, every time our guys would do the same and even give the slightest contact GT was to the line for three. Seems like an easy way hill could still capitalize on teams sprinting to shut down his motion.

Also, if he started doing that and drawing fouls, it would slow those closeouts down and he might be able to take a little more time with his shot.

I kind of disagree with this. Don't count on what level of contact the referee is calling that night, especially outside the arc. If you can get them in the air, and get around them, a few quick passes should get you a legit open shot. You need to find and make the right passes, but counting on your own motion to open up passing lanes and shots is way more reliable than counting on the refs. Mid second half (I think?) NAW tried a pump, draw contact and heave from 3, he didn't get hard contact, air-ball/turnover.

That or shot fake and drive by the guy. He's plenty athletic (he can really rattle the rim). I don't understand why he doesn't take it to the paint. With NAW, JRob, and Ty, he's got options to kick it back out if he gets in trouble.

In Bud we trust

It's been 89 games since we last shot less than 30% from the field. The odds are much greater that this was our stinker of the year than a trend, and we managed to get out the win on the road in the ACC.

Sometimes you just have to be happy with the win, especially when everything that happened would cause lesser teams to lose.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Other than that not being how odds work, cool.

Waho's suck
Uva swallows

....Yeah, the 1.1% of the time that this has happened over the last 90 games is definitely the signaling of a trend....

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

The numbers always work out?

I found TKP after two rails from TOTS then walking back to my apartment and re-watching the 2012 Sugar Bowl. I woke up the next day with this username.

Yep, that's tte end of the #analysis.

We shot awful, historically awful for a Buzz team, and we won.

Not so worried about fatigue- we are actually in the 300's in KenPom pace of play (UVA is last). We're just really efficient. If we don't turn it over we should be able to slow down NCSU, Duke etc.

'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'

Now take this with the standard press conference "grain of salt" but JRob did say this week on TTL that he's going through a slump right now and seemed pretty disappointed about it. That could be shaking his overall confidence.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Listened to some of the game (it was just as hard to listen to poor play as I imagine it was to watch) since the ESPN on my Roku had the game "blacked out" in my area which is Southeast VA......What the heck? I'm an old dog trying to learn a new trick of possibly cutting out cable TV. Didn't expect this to happen. Someone educate me, please.

It took me forever to find the game too. When the schedule shows "RSN" for TV, that stands for regional sports network. AKA "screw you cable cutters, this one's on one of those cable channels you got rid of."

In the 757, the game was shown on "NBC Sports Washington Plus" which was a little difficult for me to find at first on SlingTV. They decided to throw the "Plus" channel at the bottom of the channel guide instead of next to NBC Sports Washington or any of the other sports channels.

FWIW, I subscribe to the SlingTV Orange+Blue package with the Sports extra, though I'm not entirely sure how much of that was actually necessary to watch the game. Probably just the blue package.

I was able to get it through my subscription to ncaabball streams on redit.

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)..

I have Sling and got it on the ACC Network Extra channel (part of the orange package). I am in the Midwest, so no idea if it would have been blacked out locally for some reason.

The problem is I haven't cut cable yet, and it still wasn't on TV.

So this whole Blackout thing is an issue. Who do we complain to? If ACC member schools think they are getting x amount of broadcast coverage through the ACC Network but some moron over at the mothership can't program the blackouts correctly then I would think the schools would have an issue with this? There were a lot of upset Hokies last night who could not get the game through the ESPN app. No. 9 team in the country in a crucial early conference road test..... Why would you want to upset your fan base in that way...I don't get it. You would think Whit would be on the phone screaming...Am I wrong???

"Don't go to, go through"

I agree that blacked out games are an issue. However, unless someone was blacked out outside of a blackout area, I don't think there is anything to complain about. IMO, The ACC and member schools (at least VT) do a decent enough job at providing the information to let us viewers know how we can watch the game.

I think the biggest cause for confusion is that ESPN seems to have a blanket agreement with the ACC to broadcast all of the (non-Raycom) games when they aren't blacked out. I'm sure I'm not the only one to simply click on the notification that ESPN gives me to watch my Hokies play, only to find out that the game is blacked out in my area. I don't blame ESPN for not advertising the fact that the game is actually on a local broadcast channel (in cases where the game is a Raycom broadcast), or on some obscure regional sports network that is probably owned by one of ESPN's direct competitors (ie. Fox or NBC Sports).

The ACC website has two pretty convenient links for figuring out when a game is going to be problematic:
Raycom Broadcasts
RSN Broadcasts

Hopefully this won't be so much of an issue next year when The ACC Network becomes a real thing.

The issue is that most of our basketball games are going to be RSN not ACCN Extra. And instead of being on broadcast channels like CW or MyDC20 like with football, the Raycom Sports Network basketball games are on the regional cable sports channels along the east coast.. the channels like Comcast Sports South East / NBC Sports Washington and in for our game last night, the Wizards game bumped us to NBC Sports Washington+ in the DC area.

Cord cutters / streaming TV subscribers (and often even Cable TV subscribers) frequently don't have access to those channels, making it a pain in the ass to watch our ACC games. Even worse with the game gets bumped down the totem pole like last night, although fans with SlingTV Blue+Orange+Sports pack were able to watch.

I just ended up watching it on my computer using one of the free re-streams posted here, great quality, no hassle.

I only have the Sling Blue+Orange package (not the sports package) and I was able to stream it on the ACC Network Extra channel. Again, I am in the midwest, so no idea if that has anything to do with it.

FWIW, I subscribe to the SlingTV Orange+Blue package with the Sports extra, though I'm not entirely sure how much of that was actually necessary to watch the game. Probably just the blue package.

Apparently, only the Blue package was helpful to you there. I have Sling Orange and the Sports Extra package and the game was blacked out for me too. I was so pissed about that, until I kept checking for game updates and saw how ugly the game was. Kinda glad I didn't get to watch it now.

“You got one guy going boom, one guy going whack, and one guy not getting in the endzone.”
― John Madden (describing VT's offense?)

Hulu Live in Richmond carries the NBC Sports Washington network which has had a couple of our games now.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

I'm in Christiansburg and was able to watch with Hulu Live also.

When you're in DC though, they have showed the PITT game on that channel over the VT game now two times in a row.

And I still got the Tech game in Pittsburgh on the local sports channel.

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

The game was blacked out on my Apple TV in the Richmond area as well. Very frustrating.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, TKPC#490, One of us!

Also blacked out in Greensboro market. Streamed through reddit from FSN through Minnesota. Irked it was good enough for FS to air in Minnesota but not in ACC markets.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I'm so happy to not have this problem anymore after moving from RVA to Dallas.

HokieSpider

It was a terribly ugly game but I believe it will be an outlier, we couldn't buy a bucket. NAW was ice cold even on drives, J Rob isn't attacking as much and settling for jumpers it seems like. This is a game we would have lost any other season but we found a way. The defense stayed strong, forced some tough shots and turnovers. This game wouldn't have been close if their one player (name slipped my mind) didn't score 15 of their first 19 or something crazy hitting every shot.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Robinson also had a pretty tough fall on his lower back/side in the game as well. Didn't seem quite right after that.

Also, Wabissa Bede is amazing in denying someone the ball. It's incredible how close he stick to Alvarado in that clip.

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

I'm blaming this poor performance on the orange uniforms. If we were in our true school color of maroon this wouldn't have happened.

Amen to this. Stick to the school colors: chicago maroon, cadet gray, and black. White uniforms are also acceptable, though not an official school color.

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)..

I actually dont mind the AOE look on the basketball team... it just drives me bonkers to see it on just about every other team we field at this university.

I'm taking the blame for this one. I was at the game and had 1st row seats behind the basket. After VT finished warming up, NAW saw my VT swag, came over and shook my hand as if to say thanks for coming out.

And then he has the worst game of his life.

This one's on me. I will never touch another VT player before a game ever again.

I will never touch another VT player before a game ever again.

Can you show me on the doll where VPI97 touched you?

Secondly, their defense was impenetrable

You mean after that freebie they gave GT 14 seconds after the tip?

Man to hear the let's go Hokie chants at 4:04 in this video, knowing chinballs was in the stands, Glorious!

Didn't get to watch the game, but seeing our wing players create their own shot, and hit jumpers off the dribble is a beautiful sight to see. I think it's a dynamic we've been missing in past seasons where if a team would clog the lane they could stop the drives/slashing foul line trips. And if a team could guard the arc too, we were toast. Seeing NAW, Hill, and even Outlaw hit jumpers off the dribble shows the development of this squad. I feel like we would've lost this game the last few seasons, we would've wilted under the road lights. So glad to pull this out. On to the Boos.

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]

The Let's Go Hokies chant was a thing of beauty. For those in attendance, giant turkey leg to you!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

With what seemed like the majority of the GT players in foul trouble, I was surprised VT settled for so many outside shots and didn't try to drive the ball to pick up fouls. However if you can win and shoot less than 30% you have to take it and move on.

Any one else have audio issues? Horrible echos through most of the game? I am up in the northeast and the broadcast was on NESN, which usually has the red sox and bruins.

The women in my house were all caught up in watching some lifetime documentary about R.Kelly, I had to stream on the NESN Go app for most of the game. When i finally usurped the remote, I didn't notice issue with the cable feed, but the app stream i was using earlier was miserable to listen to.

The audio on my stream was about 4 seconds behind the video, which was a major problem on inbound plays as there was always a whistle a few seconds after the ball was in play. Otherwise I could watch the game on mute and not miss much from the announcers.

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

Yeah i had the volume really low, just loud enough that I could make out the crowd noise and whistles.

One point that I should have made in the column: the intro is obviously in jest. It's hard to win on the road, no matter who you are or where you're playing. Just look at the other top 25 teams from Wednesday night:
#4 UVA smacked BC on the road, but #11 Auburn lost by 15 at Ole Miss, #16 Ohio State lost at freaking Rutgers, #17 Houston lost on the road to a temple, and #21 Marquette needed OT to squeak by a down Creighton team on the road. Life's hard for any top-25 team.

You see that charge call to end the Houston v Temple game?

Sure looked like a charge to me. Can't remember the last time i saw the game end with an offensive foul though, took some balls to call that IMO, think 95/100 swallow the whistle there and let that go to OT.

Geez... UVa is looking pretty damn good right now. As much as I love to throw UMBC out there, the team seems to be wearing that chip on their shoulder very well.

Leonard. Duh.

I just hope UVa stumbles at home on Tuesday night.

Bennett just keeps getting better and better. They lost Hall and Wilkins and their offense is somehow considerably better and their D still salty.

Bottom line is that a BAD GT team actually played BAD, and we barely held on. It would be on thing if GT shot well, minimized turnovers, but nope. They played awful and we still barely won. Terrible performance by VT, but a W is a W. Glad we avoided what will be a Q3 or 4 loss.

Is there really any way for a ACC road loss to be a quadrant 4 loss? Even Pittsburgh finished as a Q3 team last season and they were dreadful, easily one of the worst ACC teams of all time.

Georgia Tech is Q2 in the NET rankings and a top 10 defensive efficiency team, so it wouldn't have been as big a disaster as it may seem at first glance. Any ACC road game is going to be a challenge. It is really refreshing to see us pull out an ugly one that nearly any previous VT team would have let slip away though.

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

Correction, the bottom line is that despite building a chimney of bricks the Hokies found a way to win on the road in a close ACC game - a big improvement over the @PSU game - ya know, the only loss we've suffered this season.

Bad?
Have you looked at their results?
Yes, upset by Gardner Webb
Lost by 13 in Knoxville to Tenn team that is REALLY good
Beat good Arkansas team @ Ark
6 pt loss at Northwestern
3 pt loss to #24 St. Johns

'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'

You seem to be unhappy on the regular.

Across a broad range of topics.

I hope you find your peace.

VT is 14-1, which ties VT basketball's best start ever in the history of the program.

Can we recognize that Ahmed Hill led the team in scoring and shooting last night?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

It's funny, because he was still 6-14, but I actually think that says a lot about how he's developed as an overall player. He wasn't hitting his outside shots, so what did he do? He got out in transition, made some pretty smart cuts, and generally used his athleticism to his advantage.

There are wolves and there are sheep, I am the sheep dog

That game scared me. I wish the Hokies would have shot 15% better than they did. It would have been a blow out if that happened

When in doubt. Nap it out

Yes, but in past seasons, shooting how we did last night would have resulted in a blow out loss for the Hokies.

I've been trying to be upset about how poorly we played on offense, but I cannot for the life of me get even a little upset.

Why? The team knew they weren't shooting well, but they never tried too hard to force anything. They overall stayed within their game plan. Limited turnovers, fought like Hell for enough Offensive boards to steal some possessions, and then leaned on excellent defense and intensity. This team has it all right now. Stay healthy and we are going to have a historical season.

I loved watching that game last night!

--
"It's time to go play Virginia Tech Football longer and harder than anybody else in America!!" -- Justin Fuente
"I put a brick in Sacksburg today." -- Cam Phillips

Notice in our other away game (a loss at Penn St), we shot OK, but turned the ball over 15 times, got out-rebounded, and the defense was just OK. This game was the total opposite. We did everything well except shoot. Don't know what this says other than there is no trend and we fixed what we did wrong at PSU. My glass is half full after this one.

In Bud we trust

Also, a lot of the shots in the first half that we missed were "good" shots. The second half, NAW and 5 started to force things a little bit. I think that is going to be the formula in ACC play. We're not going to shoot as well due to higher levels of competition, but if our D can be locked in and we can convert free throw attempts, we'll have a decent shot in every game.

Also, one of the reasons we won the rebounding battle is that they were so concerned with our transition game that they only had 1 player crash the boards and often had zero.

Along that note of the rebounding, the shooter was the only one down low for the entire game when GT shot free throws. I couldn't understand it, just ceding the ball and possible additional possessions. Think if they had tried and managed to score two baskets, game is much different.

I knew this was going to be a tough game to watch just because of the shade of weird yellow/greenish tint that GT painted it's court. It doesn't look that bad in real life, does it?

This is ACC basketball, guys. Almost every road game (and some home games) will feel like NCAA tournament games. THREE top 25 teams lost yesterday to inferior teams on the road. I'm just glad we held on to win.

Also as Hill's biggest defender, can I just encourage everyone to hold off on the criticism. He has been very good in 2 of our 3 ACC games and was our best player last night, yet got zero credit in the article because it doesn't fit the narrative.

What the hell are you talking about? I go into detail about Hill complimenting his growth as an overall player, and how his shooting woes shouldn't define him:

The one difference this season is that Hill isn't defined by his corner threes. Yes, he needs to hit them to keep the offense in its flow, but he's a pesky defender. He gets out in transition. He can dribble baseline, force a defensive rotation, and find the right teammate. He's still the best version of himself, even if the triples in conference play still don't fall.

FOH with your "doesn't fit the narrative" straw man.

I also think calling him the "best player" last night is just wrong. Everyone was bad, but just because a guy scored more points than anyone else doesn't mean he was the best player in a game.

So who was our best player if it wasn't Hill? I thought he had a good game.

Sure you said he played good defense, but only after ridiculing his shooting (only a 3 game sample size in ACC). It seems Hill is only complimented in a backhanded kind of way (not just by you). Like after the Purdue game where he was very good, people were like "great game by Hill, hopefully he doesn't fall apart in ACC play this year." Just enjoy the good games from him

Bede was probably the guy that saved the game with his defense. Particularly that last GT possession as Brian pointed out. Bede was running daycare on that last check.

Leonard. Duh.

Bede played 14 scoreless minutes so it's tough to crown him player of the game, even if his defense was great as usual.

I think Brian's saying nobody deserves that crown in a game like that. Everybody looked bad, Hill just made enough plays for the good guys to win with those features of his game mentioned in the block quote in the reply above.

Hill had a complete stinker of an effort against Penn State 2 games after Purdue, I felt like his late minute decisions cost us that game... i think most of the avid buzzketball fans are used to his scoring dropping off the face of the earth come conference play and thus you see quotes like that... myself included, so i think its warranted.

He'll need more than an ugly road-win where the whole team looked atrocious to get his previous ACC-woes off the minds of Hokie fans.

i think most of the avid buzzketball fans are used to his scoring dropping off the face of the earth come conference play

Idk if you're implying that I'm not an avid fan or something but I've literally watched game the past three years except for one that I couldn't see due to family emergency. I care about VT basketball way more than VT football or any other sports, and i'm diehard for those too. I'm as avid as it gets for Hokies hoops. And I'll still defend Hill every day of the week. He is a streaky shooter who doesn't create his own shot very often. With those kinds of players you get good games (like Purdue and Notre Dame) and bad ones (like Penn State). And I would think anyone who has every watched or played basketball would understand that. If you're gonna tear him down after the bad ones, it's only fair to give him credit after the good ones.

I don't think anyone is tearing him down. His numbers have slumped in ACC play every year. That's would be a remarkable statistical oddity if there wasn't some correlation between ACC defenders/games/something and his shooting. Just saying he's a streaky player doesn't do anything to explain that, or respond to what other folks are saying.

No, sorry, that was not my intention.

I just mean that this is a very common gripe and point made among the folks who take part in these threads. Myself included. I think most people who willingly spend their time posting on internet message boards and discussing the team and individual games meet the 'avid' fan criteria. No slight meant in your direction.

If you're gonna tear him down after the bad ones, it's only fair to give him credit after the good ones.

With respect to Brian's initial article, I thought his assessment was quite fair, I think he gives credit where its due to Hill in this game. It's not overstating he struggled to shoot and has done so in ACC play, historically and thus far this season. His shot form certainly seems like a viable explanation, in addition to facing ACC talent and regular meetups leading to advanced scouting info. Tonight at least, Hill made up for missed shots in other ways and Brian calls a spade a spade, IMO.

KJ. Double-double (five offensive rebounds I believe), stayed out of foul trouble. Played strong defense.

And the reason people say that is because there's a pattern of it. I really like Med, I hope he continues having the season he's been having. Big fan of the new hair. But it's not like he was playing lights out last night. He took bad shots just like everybody else, forced some stuff. He was fine, he definitely wasn't the worst guy out there, but why pretend he played better than he did?

I think he was the only one who stood out in the game on offense. NAW was quiet, 5 was quiet, KJ had a good game but it was spaced out. Hill scored a couple buckets in a row and had the alley oop and also the breakaway where they missed the foul. Not that he had the best game, just he had the only flash for us so he is standing out when we think of the game.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

Blackshear by far because even the Homer announcers pointed out that anytime he was down low he essentially changed the way Georgia Tech approached the basket and he also managed to get up 14 points offensively along with 10 rebounds, 5 of which were offensive, allowing Tech five second chances on the offensive end from which Blackshear scored four of his points and Robinson got a trip to the free throw line but those combined possessions took an additional minute and seven seconds off the clock. Three of his five defensive rebounds came in the final 4 minutes of the game. Blackshear impacted or drew 7 of Georgia Tech's personal fouls as well, changing the momentum of the game in terms of having their bigs on the floor.

For me it was a toss up between Blackshear and Hill, they both made major contributions.

Even if Hill wasn't nailing them from outside, going 6-14 is still a solid % within the confines of one game, and certainly the best % of any of our players taking more than 2 shots in this game. Plus, switch 1 missed 3 to a make and he's shooting 50% overall and 38% from range, which are good #'s.

Meanwhile Blackshear was cleaning up a lot of those bricks we were laying with 5 offensive rebounds and putting together a nice double-double.

Like after the Purdue game where he was very good, people were like "great game by Hill, hopefully he doesn't fall apart in ACC play this year." Just enjoy the good games from him

People can root for Hill and still acknowledge negative aspects of his game. Based on the comments I've seen from you, I think you have a hard time recognizing the difference between criticism and "hating on" a player. Just because people point out and talk about the faults in Hill's game doesn't mean they are hating on him. Even cracking a joke about it like you see in the game threads isn't really hate (which happens to all kinds of players, basketball and football). It's just fans shooting the shit having a good time. What's different is if someone is like "Hill is a bum. He's trash" or the joke obviously has some kind malice behind it instead of just run of the mill internet sarcasm. That's actually hating on a dude. That's negative criticism. Maybe its happening elsewhere, but I don't see much of that here on TKP at least.

But Brian is being an analyst here. He's talking about all aspects of Hill's game so when he talks about some of the worse parts of Hill's game, he's not being negative towards him. He's talking about what's real. And it's similar for those fans that make the "don't fall apart in ACC games" comments. It's not malicious. It's just fans talking among themselves about the ups and downs of watching along, cheering, hoping for the best, dealing with the worst and everything that goes along with it.

Hill did score 15 so his contribution cannot be overlooked. Everyone played relatively poorly in my view. Hill went 3/5 from inside the arc and 2/8 from three point land. It was clear his three-point shot was miserable. His last two buckets were dunks. But I really would not say he focused on his inside game -- he missed some three's late.

He and Blackshear no doubt contributed the most. But I think the difference is this -- Blackshear made plays happen. He drew fouls. He was an initiator. While Hill did score, it was often the result of other players making the play, and Hill being the recipient of the assist. Hill just seemed to be following the team rather than leading. And going 2/8 from three point land has to improve.

Lets not also forget Hill had the extra motivation of having a large contingent of FAM and friends in the house for this game. Not taking away from what he did but I would also point out when he got the one dunk and then stood there pointing into the crowd, GT went down the court with numbers and proceeded to quickly drain a three in response to his dunk.

Absolutely. He stood there show-boating and they ran down and drilled a three.

This game and the UVA game are going to hurt our PPG stat.

"I'm too drunk to taste this chicken" - Colonel Sanders via Ricky Bobby

It's worth reiterating how far this program has come over the course of Buzz's tenure. I remember how awesome it was to win an ACC game, to being competitive in the conference, to contending for the tournament, dancing, and then dancing again. Williams has raised the bar significantly. The criticism for sloppy play is warranted, and that game was ugly as all get out, but it was a road ACC win nonetheless.

I thought PJ was assistant coaching with as much air time as he got last night.

I've never seen defenders getting flattened like our guards were by their bigs without a whistle.

Good on the guys for gutting it out and pulling out the W. It was good to see when things weren't going well offensively, they cranked up the D to offset it.

What happens when everybody goes cold from the outside, well we just saw it, but we won. Major improvement from years past. I still believe that our extremely weak out of conference scheduling hurts us in situations like this. I know the ACC schedule is brutal, but I have never subscribed to the John Thompson II art of scheduling to teach players how to win. Buzz has brought this program back to where it used to be in a galaxy far, far away but we need to start playing more of the competitive pre conference play tournaments. I know that we are scheduled to play in Maui next year so maybe it was all part of the greater plan. The bottom line, we won an ugly b-ball game. Great write up Brian. Spot on all the way around.

In terms of the Pre Conference tournaments, you have to earn your way to get into those. Buzz has improved our tournament every season so far, with next year being the ultimate tourney to be in if you were to rack and stack bball in season tournaments

So according to the latest bracketology - Lunardi's a troll. LOL

Bracketology

I'd love a shot at blasting Radford and potentially VCU in the same tournament. That whole bottom half would actually be a pretty favorable draw. Kansas' size took a shot with Azubuike out for the season.

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

Radford and then either VCU or Marquette would lead to awesome story lines for this fantasy sweet 16 or further run.

That would be a bracket set up for us to make an Elite 8 run. We would make quick work of Radford, and shouldn't have too much issue with either VCU or Marquette. Kansas, having lose A-something is a lot more beatable than the name would suggest.

that would be a great draw for us, if we're a 3. I am still holding out hope we can climb to a 2.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

I just want to see VT make it to the sweet 16 of March Madness. That would be a first ever accomplishment for the program if I am not mistaken.

VTCC '86 Delta Company, Hokie in Peru, TKPC#490, One of us!

VT was in the elite eight once (1967).

Still, any distance at all in the tournament is significant.

Sell the farm on that Texas Southern team in the first round!

Is it basketball season yet?