The Virginia Tech Basketball Season Is Over

No one wanted it to, but it had to end.

[Mark Umansky]

I saw the train coming. I stood on the tracks, and let it run me over anyways. And I would do it again in a heartbeat. It was fun as hell. Buzz Williams was never long for Blacksburg. He was on his way out of town as soon as he arrived. That was the deal, everyone knew it, and would make it again.

(Feel free to caveat everything written here with the word 'reportedly' if that makes you feel any better. It won't.)

There were reported flirtations with Ohio State and rumored overtures with other programs. Hell, it was reported that the door was open at Texas A&M since last season. His brand was more 'Buzz' than 'Hokies', and that's all fine. Williams did two things really well:

  1. He won basketball games.
  2. He made Virginia Tech basketball fun.

Virginia Tech fans gravitated to the quirky Texan because he was authentic and transparent as hell. He engaged and embraced the fanbase through long-winded press conference answers that blew around and past the original question; a preacher in sneakers. Plus he has social media chops that would make any social maven envious. He knew how to tightly manage his program, but not shut out those in maroon and orange, a delicate dance for sure. He laid out a vision for the program, stuck to the narrative, and wrote the script in realtime. And the most impressive thing, as an outsider he got Virginia Tech's culture. The program was uniquely his own, but it was built with a blue-collar attitude and a sincere appreciation for its supporters. I have no doubt he could've been a lifer in Blacksburg, the 'Beamer of basketball'. That's why this all hurts the soul, but that train wasn't stopping, merely speeding through with a bang.

I sipped complementary Pappy Van Winkle out of a plastic cup in a bar within spitting distance of Capital One Arena. Oh, and the Hokies were there to play in the Sweet 16. Those are words I never envisioned writing. In five short seasons Williams elevated the program to reach a level of success unseen before. There is a foundation, at the very least in perception alone, for his successor to build on.

The game itself was everything that makes sports great. It was competitive, had you on the edge of your seat the entire 40 minutes, and went down to the wire. Tech had its chances to tie/win at the end, and the final inbounds play was a flex of Williams' Xs and Os acumen.

That should break your heart forever. (And sports should do that from time-to-time, because otherwise, what's the point.) Those are the final frames of the Williams era. And that sucks. Not because of how it ended, but because it's over. However, that image won't define this group, three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, marquee wins, and a Sweet 16 banner will.

That team was so damn fun to watch and it feels like the end of The Sandlot. You just want the games to go on forever, but piece by piece it's fading away. Justin Robinson, Ahmed Hill, and Ty Outlaw should never have to buy a drink in Blacksburg again. They came to Tech to build a program, and did just that.

I'm sure Whit Babcock will win the press conference with his hire. That's what he does. However, that doesn't guarantee success. The sure-thing, the one who won and made it fun, unfortunately, is headed home.

Comments

Shit.... that was fun.

I am glad that I this success and (ultimately) disappointment wasn't when I was a student, it would have ruined the semester for me... now it will just ruin the weekend.

Let's go

HOKIES!

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.
.and Whit puts on his batting gloves and steps up to the plate....

So what do I do now? This team is what I've cared most about for the past 5 months

Keep caring about it. Show the next coach the same level of support for the next few years, even if he hasn't proven that he "deserves" it yet. The players certainly have, at least those that choose to stick around through the transition.

Whit has proven time and time again that he is capable of making great coaching hires. He knocked it out of the park with Buzz, and while it's hard to make lightning strike twice in a row, if it happens again this time we'll be in pretty good shape for some sustained success for years to come.

Oh, I will and i'll be getting student season tickets for the 4th straight year next season. But it's just a looooooooong offseason 'til then

Baseball, softball, football, lacrosse

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I know but i'll personally never care about another sport as much as (college) basketball. I'll support all the other Hokies teams, especially football, but damn it's a depressing time of the year when March ends for me.

Everybody get your flow, or lax lettuce, ready for lacrosse season.

Did somebody say jazz cabbage?

I know its recency bias but I don't think I've been this bummed out about a sportsball loss before.

Finally a meaningful team banner in Cassell

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

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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

He did bring excitement and build a scrappy, competitive team, but he's leaving us with the cupboard almost completely bare. With the loose of Hill, JRob, Outlaw, and probably NAW and KBJ, we start almost completely from scratch. We care over NO momentum. That leaves us back to where we were when he arrived. No legacy, just a flash in the pan.

Sorry to be dumping on Buzz, but this is frustrating, even though it was fum....until now.

BTY, what does a contract mean any more?

I disagree with the no momentum part. KBJ is not gone for sure, and we still have Nolley. We can assume the next coach will bring in new recruits too. With Buzz's success has also come a increased respect, interest, and investment in basketball from both fans and the athletic dept. Buzz left this place way better than he found it.

what does a contract mean any more?

Part of that contract is a buyout. VT will be paid that buyout.

Twitter me

I am hoping you are right. I'll give you a leg for the optimism.

But the buy-out is only $500k, not much for trying to keep him from leaving of make it hard for the other school to wanting to pay it.

Buyout is $1.25M.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

Yea, we discussed this in another thread. The language in the amendment is written as if it's cumulative, but that was probably a mistake (the original contract was not written to be cumulative).

So, the intent was probably $500K and that's probably what was paid, despite the actual language saying something else.

πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ πŸ¦ƒ

I said it last night & I'll say it again today. The only word I can use to describe how I feel is "Defeated". Last night watching that lob go up from 5 to Hill I just knew he was going to slam it in & we were going to OT to fight/scratch/claw like we have done every game for the past 5 years. And then suddenly everything was over. It started to sink in I had just watched my last game ever with 5, Hill, Outlaw, & Buzz. And I was devastated.

You summed it up perfectly so I don't have much more to add other than the past 5 years have been extremely fun to watch & a hell of a journey. These guys came in with a vision & executed it tremendously. I just hope/pray Whit is able to find a successor to carry this momentum & we don't come crashing down.

Live I was pissed at Hill, but on replay the hard part was getting free and he did all he could on the layup. There wasn't much time on the clock and Zion was nearby so he had to move quickly. Maybe with another second on the clock he goes for a dunk. The play was perfect, the shot just didn't fall.

Couldn't have said it any better J, I expressed similar sentiments in the other thread; what a awesome ride it's been. Onto bigger and better hopefully.

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

This expresses my sentiments exactly.

I've always been able to compartmentalize sports fandom. I never get emotional, because at the end of the day it really is just... Sports.

However, I'm feeling kind of blue today because I just didn't want this season to end... not because of school pride or bragging rights for the team's accomplishments, I just sense that this group of Hokies is really close and love playing with each other. I wanted them to be able to keep doing it longer.

Off topic - For the Coach K haters... Did you see any of K's post game interview? the reporters wanted him to fawn over Zion, and he wouldn't have any of it. He went above and beyond to compliment the Hokie team. I think he knows this time, he REALLY did steal this win.

Leonard. Duh.

Yep K was very complimentary of our team. Just like Buzz was of theirs.

Sigh πŸ˜”

"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

I told my wife last night that I've never cared more about the result of a basketball game before last night.

It hurt deeply, but I was over it quickly knowing these guys balled out and gave us everything they had. They made this season so damn fun. It's sad that we won't see that group on the floor together again, but they showed us that they, and VT basketball, belonged on that court.

I trust Whit to keep us in the right track

I have never, I repeat never, lost sleep over the result of a basketball game until last night. It meant something more to me and that's a level of hurt I never expected.

Go Hokies!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

That's what its all about. The beauty of sports. Losing sleep and feeling like crying...i haven't ever felt this way about Hokie basketball.
Regroup, shuffle the deck, and come back strong.

Lets go Hokies.

VHokie

tell me about it. This was still me at 3am:

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)..

he has social media chops that would make any social maven envious. He knew how to tightly manage his program, but not shut out those in maroon and orange

Another key VT coach needs to take Buzz's social media class.

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

In response to that, Fu did post for the first time since September about how great a time he had hanging with Motu, Stro, Settle, Terell, and Isaiah yesterday at Pro Day as they supported Ricky. Even got a tweet for Corn from the first time in a year and a half about recruits in town this weekend. Still a long way to go to be Buzz level, but think we will see alot more tweets from them this year in attempt to connect with the fanbase like Buzz has.

Honestly I wish VT coaches when using social media were more about the university brand their there own. I loved Buzz in press conferences, in person and interviews didn't alwaays like it being about Buzz brand on social media.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Buzz is a phenom, and that's part of the deal with him.

Don't know if this has been stated. But if we win Everyone Is talking about Blackshear steppingout!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

He definitely came into his own at the end of the season, and showed it to the nation in the tournament.

Funny how that timing worked out

"They'd rather win football games, you'd rather be sophisticated. Go like baseball loser."
-Colin Cowherd

#ALLMAROONEVERYTHING

It was a good run.

VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin the Bakken.
β€œWhen life deals you lemons, pick β€˜em up and chuck β€˜em at Gritty.”

I haven't been on TKP since yesterday because it hurt so bad to watch OUR team lose. They embody what it means to be a Hokie. Ut Prosim. Knowing how Whit operates, the team will continue to thrive, however, it was a joy to watch this team play and it hurts to know we will never get to see all these special players on the court together again.

Exit Light, Enter Night....Go Hokies

Trying to think of good news.... I hope NAW gets drfated high, to a place that will let him prosper, and kills it at the next level.

I was seriously worried he'd have a concussion after his head bouncing off the hardwood like it did yesterday.

VB born, class of '14

Would not surprise me if he did not have a concussion. Actually kind of surprised basketball does not have a standard concussion protocol when your head does that.

I think this is the most difficult VT sports loss since football lost to Boise St in 2010; I still haven't been able to shake the disappoontment from this loss. There was nothing flukey about this game; We went blow for blow with one the best teams in the country, and we were in it til the end. It sucks to see Buzz and the seniors leave.

That team was so damn fun to watch and it feels like the end of The Sandlot. You just want the games to go on forever, but piece by piece it's fading away.

Man, so true, so well said.

Twitter me

I thought Tyrod had done it with that drive at the end, and then they drove right back down the field on us. Heartbreaker

This is the worst I have felt about a Virginia Tech loss since the damn 2012 Sugar Bowl.

GODDAMMIT, IT WAS A CATCH, JOE

I felt worse about the Sugar Bowl.

First, because I was there.

Second, because we were outright robbed by the replay official. So unnecessary.

Were you by any chance in a coma September 22, 2018?

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Memory block

That game was weird and fluky and a situation where our boys just weren't prepared to play. Completely different, and wayyyy less heartbreaking, than last night's game against Duke, where we proved we belong, had 3 chances, and just couldn't take home a program-record win. Add to that the fact that it was the last game for arguably the best senior class in VT basketball history.

TL;DR: ODU Football 2018 = frustrating, Duke Basketball 2019 = Heartbreaking

Twitter me

Was telling people worst since 07 BC.

Let's Go...

I hope Matt Ryan never encounters a warm toilet seat again

Or a dry one.

Take the shortest route to the ball and arrive in bad humor.

Man, this team was so fun to watch. I am going to miss the selflessness, the threes, the bench dancing. What a ride!

I'm so proud to be a Hokie today, everyday, but especially today. I was way more upset after last year's b-ball losses to Notre Dame and Alabama. We were the better team and played poorly. Last night, that wasn't the case. We went toe to toe with the nation's best, just came out a bit short.
I am sad however about he fact that we won't ever see that team on the floor together again. 5, Med, and Ty were the glue to this program for the past several years, true OKGs. I will miss them, and their effort, and their heart. But I will forever remember them and the joy they brought to Hokies everywhere. Thank you seniors, thank you Buzz, thank you Hokies Basketball! LET'S GO!!! πŸ¦ƒπŸ€

I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

Tyrod did it Mikey, Tyrod did it!!

I love Buzz. I love his personality, and I love his coaching badass-edness. He did a great job here, and I'm sure he'll win at Texas A&M.

But can we possibly tamp down a bit on the narrative that the program has never been at this level, and this is unquestionably the best team Virginia Tech has ever had?

Buzz Williams had a slightly better winning percentage than Seth Greenberg, and I would argue that the 1995-1996 team was probably every bit as good as this years' squad. Also, Charles Moir won 20+ games 7 out of 8 years and went to the NCAA tournament 4 times during that stretch.

All that being said, thank you Buzz for bringing VT basketball BACK to prominence. Now let's hire a great coach and keep it going!

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

C'mon. There's a rumor that he walks on water.

Hahah I do believe he might be able to skip across it briefly, or waltz across it like he did WVU's court. He's that good of a coach.

I do really like Buzz Williams, and I will root for him, even though I'm not quite as dismissive of his apparent use of VT as a springboard as I guess most VT fans are.

Honestly, the biggest head scratcher to me is why is isn't holding out for a better job than A&M.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

If he truly wants to coach in Texas, there's really only one other major candidate, and I'm not sure that Shaka is leaving Austin any time soon.

Really? Because I'd say there's a decent chance Shaka will be leaving Austin next year.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

The program has never been at this level before. That's a fact, not a narrative. It's the only time it's danced in three consecutive seasons, and it's the furtherst it's progressed in the modern era NCAAT.

Also only our second time finishing the season in the AP Top 25 (first and last time was 95-96, when we finished #22). Also our highest end-of-season AP ranking, at #16. Also broke the record for most wins in a season, which is doubly impressive because the previous record was set in 1995 when we won all 5 games to win the NIT championship after going 20-10 with a Metro Conference schedule, and then tied in 2010 in what was a down year for the ACC and we were sent to the NIT at 23-8.

I'd say that the fact we did all of that in a year where 3 teams in our conference were given 1-seeds in the NCAA Tournament is fairly good evidence that this is the best season we've ever had.

I will forever love Buzz and forever hate Texas A&M with every fiber of my being

Even if Buzz doesn't go, next year will be a major rebuild.

Is KBJ going pro or transfer with Buzz to TX?

this post was so therapeutic.
Thanks, seniors. It's been a wild ride.

At the game, as it ended, I was stunned and in disbelief. It stung, and I was sad the story had to end. However, in a way I'll be able to look back on this game and come to peace with it knowing that we gave ourselves the best opportunity to win. If you're going to go down, fire all your bullets and lose with your best. As Buzz said in his presser, we went down with Ty getting a 3 look, JRob throwing the inbound, and Med with the chance at the tying shot. What more could you really ask for? I'm thankful for these guys, how they represented the university, and the joy they brought us all this season.

@vtscottyb

Not sure why this makes me happy to see but JRob still being a college kid at Big Al's tonight. King of the bar for sure but definitely enjoying what's left of being a "college kid".

Oh, and Ryan Willis can't dance...

Finally, Blackshear is a tall mfer in person.

It's weird that the team arriving back in town wasn't mentioned anywhere on social media. This to me is as big a red flag as anything else.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Wait. What? Stop the presses! Something happened in the world that wasn't on "social media"? Incredible. What a world, what a world. Russian plot?

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Except the team account, the play by play guys or even the players usually say when they will be back so fans can welcome them back.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Geez Louise, Fireman, it was a joke. Simmer, lighten up, chill bruh, calm down, sir. I know how the world works these days, but find a lot of humor in some of it.
That said, I'd have loved to have been in that bar with those guys.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

If we replayed this season, add Nolley and Clarke to the rotation and take out Horne and Wilkins, what happens? IMHO, we're at least an elite 8 team.

That's hard to argue against, and I strongly agree. Good to get Wilkins out there, though. He's going to be a special player and we'll all likely be talking about him in the coming years with a lot of love. The woulda shoulda couldas of this year are many.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

This is going to hurt for a very long time. Easily the most likeable group of guys we have had on the court together in my lifetime. They worked hard, they had fun, and they always had an answer. How Buzz was able to assemble such a perfect group of players is beyond me. If this really is it for Buzz and his time at Virginia Tech, so be it. I knew from the start that he was probably leaving someday, and now just seems like the right time for him.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Why are they torturing that kid? ("Not just JRob, but Outlaw is leaving, too! And don't forget Blackshear!") WTF?

Prepping him for a life of VT fandom?

No joke, I halfway expected them to end it with "And guess what! Santa is a lie, and you're adopted!"

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

"And Buzz will be at Texas A&M!"

"BWAAAAAAAAAAAA"

Ran across this in my feed last night. JRob saw this guy's Tweet and is going to send the kid a memento. Class act.

Danny Coale Caught That Ball!!!

I share in that kid's sentiment

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

I sipped complementary Pappy Van Winkle out of a plastic cup

I know you aren't supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth, but a plastic cup! Which sacrilegious establishment would do such a thing. Next you will tell me it was served with a side of RC Cola for mixing.

I want to be happy about the run we have had with Buzz, but after hearing the recent rumblings, it feels like our girlfriend is leaving us for some loser her parents think is a better fit.

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

I'll admit that I thought the same thing about the Pappy, but then I also have to admit that I'd drink Pappy out of an old bean can if it was complementary. I also admit that I don't know anyone likely to offer me complementary Pappy, so what the hell, just pass me the bottle.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Awesome game...very proud of the guys, Buzz and the other coaches! As far as Buzz leaving, "sources @ Texas A&M" doesn't convince me of diddly-squat. Buzz has a chance to make a developing program at Va. Tech par with the Dukes, North Carolina's and Virginia's. The ACC is the BEST conference in the country. He's right on the edge, the cusp...but not there yet. I've never heard him crying or yearning to move back down to Texas, especially at this young age. He's staying....

Long live Rasche Hall

You're being way too logical.

Which is why this should have been shut down well before now, and A&M should have announced some other options.