Hokies Slay a Giant in Hawaii

Mike Young's team knocks off #3 Michigan State 71-66 in the first round of the Maui Invitational.

There's maybe nothing more repetitive in the entire world than the word Maui when you watch the Maui Invitational brought to you by Maui Jim sunglasses. Because when you host a basketball tournament in Maui you want people to know about it, and when you run a sunglasses company called Maui Jim it's only logical to spread the word about your product by sponsoring said tournament in Maui. Because not only do you pepper audiences with commercials for Maui Jim sunglasses, but every rejoin fans get the poetry of Dan Shulman welcoming them back to the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Because just in case you forgot, the tournament takes place in Maui.

Maui.

And as the Virginia Tech men's basketball team squared off against Michigan State in Hawaii's famous early-season tournament, there was only one thing that felt more repetitive than the name of the host island. It was the Hokies' ability to sink clutch shots when they needed it most.

Tech beat the third-ranked Spartans 71-66 in the first round of the invitational, a stunning win for a group expected to take their lumps against quality competition in November. Tom Izzo rolled out the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year in Cassius Winston and multiple NBA prospects (Rocket Watts, Xavier Tillman, Aaron Henry) yet the Hokies never blinked. Sparty had more size, more skill, and more pedigree, but Tech held their own from the opening tip.

Mike Young's squad did just about everything it takes to knock off a top ranked team. They drained almost half their threes (10-21, 47%), played tight perimeter defense, and did their best to not let a large rebounding discrepancy (43 for Michigan State, 27 for Tech) kill them. Landers Nolley II–a future pro in his own right–lead all players with 22 points, including two backbreaking triples late in the second half. One pushed the Hokies' lead to 10:

The other came when State cut the lead to one and his team needed a hero:

Just your average, nothing-to-see-here, cold-blooded dagger to pick up quite possibly the biggest non-conference win in program history. But the poise shown by the freshman in that moment could be seen in the eyes of every player in orange. Nolley, Wabissa Bede, P.J. Horne, Nahiem Alleyne, Hunter Cattoor, and the rest of the group were all killers out there, which reminded me of something I'd overlooked when thinking about this team.

Throughout the whole offseason the conversation was, rightly, focused on the coaching change. Buzz Williams resuscitated this program in a way very few people could. He took them to consistent heights which previously seemed unimaginable and when he left, it felt like the wins would leave with him.

And, though through no fault of his own, Young seemed like Whit Babcock's third fourth fifth choice. Even the biggest Young supporters were prepared for another rebuild. But the one factor many of us never considered?

They players.

Bede, Horne, Nolley, Tyrece Radford, and Isaiah Wilkins were all part of a team that went to the Sweet 16 last season. They've experienced big games and give a little seasoned leadership to a squad built for the future. Horne didn't blink when he pulled up for a crucial three with the Hokies down by two in the second half. Bede didn't just put the game away with free throws (yes he went 3-6, but it still counts), but also pulled down the final two crucial rebounds–skying his way to the glass through guys six inches taller.

Young's team knows how to win. They won't always do it–it took Winston sitting for most of the first half and a bounty of unforced Spartan turnovers to pull this one off–but they'll win their share.

And even if they fall to a good Dayton team in the next round, the Hokies should feel great about their trip to Maui They'll come home with a big win, an NBA-caliber scorer, and a warning to the rest of the ACC that they can't be taken lightly.

Comments

Damn you wrote this quick

Twitter me

He wrote it before the Pitt game.

M E T A
E
T
A

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

this one's for you

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

Dick. /s

I hate rude behavior in a man. Won't tolerate it.

I thought for sure we blew it when they started to come back. Luckily we have Big Dick Landers to save the day.

So Big Dick Landers and Mike Hung make quite the pair.

Using /s is for cowards.

Cattoor is going to be a good one.

Just me, or do others see flashes of Fletcher McGee (sp?) in the way Cattoor plays?

Virginian by Birth, Hokie by Choice

I see how Mike Young wants to play in Magee and Cattoor.

Massive early win by the Hokies.
What a treat.
The road win at clemson and this win (against ESPN's power rankings #1 mich. st.) is getting them confidence.
And attention:

(Click below for front page ESPN NCAAM article. )
Virginia Tech makes NCAA tournament case

Entering the week, we had the Hokies a dozen spots away from the NCAA tournament cut line. Today, they are at worst a solid bubble team (call it the Seth Greenberg slot ...), with a chance for so much more.

Ouch.

Click here to destroy wall.

Almost spit coffee on my keyboard at that one.

There's still Kansas, BYU, or UCLA on Wednesday. We could/should come away from this tournament with at least two quality wins

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

*chat room entrance alert: Bruce Smiff*

This is a huge win. Put it up there with the Ohio State win for non-conference wins. I know basketball is different but this is a blue blood!

What we've seen so far this season is what I thought we'd see next season. Mike Young has these guys playing and executing his style of basketball out of the gate. And it's a beautiful style of basketball.

Tough one vs. Dayton tomorrow night. Really hoping for a win there. It would be great experience to play Kansas in the final.

I don't know if anyone caught it but during the time out right at the end they showed the huddle and Nolley was leading the huddle and Mike Young was just sitting there watching him and getting a word in every now and again. Pretty cool to think of how good Nolley is and how he's already leading the team in his first year playing.

Listening to TTL with Burnop and Laaser, that is CMY's preferred style. Let the team motivate and play for each other. He's there to guide and support.

Click here to destroy wall.

Love his attitude and demeanor on the sideline as well this teams gonna be fun to watch

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

Saw several instances of Disappointed Dad Face.

___

-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.

Only thing worse than that is Disappointed Grandma Face.

Click here to destroy wall.

Humbleness is one of the most underrated qualities in true leadership. That and checking one's ego at the door, are two major factors in empowering a person(s). Young is clearly this type of leader

Yeah, Nolley's a stud. I know it's water under the bridge, but can you imagine how far we might have gone last year if he would have been eligible? Maybe Final Four?

Well, regardless of that, I think we have a lot to look forward to watching this team this year and beyond!

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"You boys in there smokin' rope?"-Johnny Unitas (circa 1973) to his San Diego Chargers teammates

I have been wondering the same thing.....but.....

If he had played this well last year, he would have likely followed Buzz to aTm or moved on like Blackshear.....it's almost like all of this was meant to be. He had less options since he wasn't able to show his skills last year. But I think in the end this is better for him too as he is not shadowed by other great players......

Its crazy how everything has turned out......just crazy.

Clearly I offered up some similar thoughts below, but you do have to remember that the recruits who followed Buzz didn't lose any eligibility and Blackshear was able to grad transfer. Nolley almost certainly would have had to sit a year if he transferred after his true freshman season. I can't imagine that's particularly appealing for a player demonstrating NBA potential since you want to get to the league as soon as possible. But I do agree that his ineligibility last season made staying in Blacksburg the logical decision, assuming he got along with the incoming staff.

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

Another thing to note, and I assume this was part of CMY's pitch, is that he was going to be the absolute star of this team. That may have been the case down the road on another team, but staying put and playing with guys he had practiced with and already built a rapport with would play a part in how well he did. I would have to think he is happy with is decision at this point.

I wonder what he thinks of the Nolley bombing Clemson/MSU twitters? Personally if it was me I would love it, but you never know, he may not like that kind of attention.

I would argue we had Final Four potential as it was last season since we had knocked off Duke once and it came down to the wire in the Sweet 16. I'd say we could have been a serious championship contender with Nolley (obviously it takes some luck but essentially the odds of us knocking off multiple top 16 teams would get a bump).

Then again, it's less certain if Nolley would be in Blacksburg this season if he has been eligible last season. Maybe it would be a stretch for him to enter the draft and maybe he wouldn't be inclined to sit a year with a transfer so we'd be in the same place, but having to sit last year pretty well solidified his return.

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

Led.

Ok this kind of bugs me. MSU had 16 turnovers, that's a lot, but half of them were steals. Credit some really good defense with active hands by the Hokies. That's no accident, it's the way CMY teaches the game. This team is playing great overall basketball right now. It's like they are so young they don't even know how bad they are supposed to be.

"Don't go to, go through"

They played really tough defense, but also steals aren't necessarily an indicator of forced/unforced turnovers. If you're standing on the baseline and the opposing PG whips a pass directly to you, that's both a steal and an unforced turnover.

They were not prepared for our defensive intensity. We came out and kind of punched them in the gut to start and it kind of knocked them off their center for the rest of the game. A lot of those mistakes in the second half were because we got in their heads in the first half and it started paying off.

King Alum of the House Hokie, the First of His Name, Khal of the Turkey Legs, The rightful Heir to the Big Board, the Unbanned, Breaker of Trolls and Father of Gritty

Looking at the score graph vs the win probability cracks me up. We are winning or close the whole game but the win probability stayed on MSU until about 10 minutes remaining. It's like ESPN was there with all of us thinking "sure the Hokies are keeping up for now, but it's only a matter of time before the higher ranked team makes a run and puts this away."

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)..

... or to put it another way:

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

I wouldn't think too much about it. MSU managed a come from behind win against Seton Hall a couple of days ago. Seems natural that the #3 team in the country would manage to come back against an unranked opponent.

First big win of the MY era, congrats to him and the team for believing in each other. Nolly is the real deal!

1-0 every week

The bad news is if Nolley continues to play like this, he won't be here next year. He'll be playing for money.

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

The good news is if Nolley plays for money next year, more big time croots will come play for CMY so they can get their money too.

That's never bad news to me. NAW can serve as an example that you can go to the NBA from VT. If Nolley goes in the 1st, that would be two first round picks on two years, something very good to sell the recruits on.

Not, the NBA will take people from anywhere, but the NBA has taken these specific people, recently!

Young isn't shy about it in his interviews...good shooters love to play for him. With the exposure of playing in the ACC, the more recruits will see it and the more they'll want to be a part of it.

As much as I'd hate to see him go, our players going to the NBA is good for everybody.

This was the first game I had a chance to watch. This team switches everything and plays a very active defense. I wonder if bigger teams are going to exploit us inside, but can't you say that about every Hokie team the last decade? This is a fun brand of offense with the shoot, shoot, shoot mentality.

Overall a fun team to watch and a great win to open the Young Era.

Team nickname: Young guns?

The Dude Abides

The Young and the Heightless

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Now that's funny.....

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

MSU definitely tried, we did a really good job denying the easy pass inside. When they got it there, we had problems. Obviously people will figure out a way to make more of those passes with more film, but this was a team that had height on us everywhere, and we did a pretty good job negating it.

The big play: 65-64 Tech with 50 seconds left. MSU has already orchestrated a ferocious comeback and are now within a point with plenty of time left. And then ... Nolley drains a three. Even the announcers said he has ice water in his veins. What a clutch shot. That sealed it.

The guts to even take it. He wanted all the touches down the stretch and scored.

Bebe's rebounding from the help defense positions was huge. The man can really get up.

The Dude Abides

Football School, Wrestling School, Soccer school and now Basketball school...If I'm missing any other sports, please feel free to add...Go Hokies Go CMY

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

bass fishing fam

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

Track & Field. We have won a bunch of ACC Championships in indoor & outdoor track since joining the Conference.

I'm pretty sure Wabissa Bede could run through a brick wall.

"Dick to Hyman? DICK TO HYMAN!" - Guy in Lane Stadium crowd when Richard Johnson hit Josh Hyman on reverse pass in 2004.

CMY's response to Nolley's ICE COLD three:

"I got nothing to do with it come on, he's being kind, he's a nice kid, that's a really good player making a big league play..."

Love the humility of coach, and humility that this team shows. That's one thing I loved about Buzz, even though Brent has gotten a lot of flack on this site about leaving VT, he got character guys on this team. I'm so thankful we got a coach that is continuing that tradition, and is showing these young guys, how to make themselves into a character guy, through being an example. Freaking love this team, even if they don't do anything else for the rest of the season. Looking forward to the ride.

Compared to Coach Izzo's notable sore loser responses:

"I publicly want to apologize to maybe the greatest fan group that was here,"

My response: No need to apologize to us coach 🤣

"Well, I've said this for 20 years. Upsets happen," Izzo said. "And that's no insult to them, but it is an upset. Upsets happen."

My response: Oh it's an insult alright 🙄, but take this spoonful of salt, and enjoy that last day in Maui. Check out is at 11, chump.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #YNWA

it didnt sound like Izzo was overly salty. I mean he did just get embarrassed, but this is nowhere near Pat Nardouche levels of salt. I think apologizing to his fans is actually a very stand up thing to do and requires a lot of humility.

I went with a spoonful for a reason. /s

There aren't many who can reach Narcouche levels of salt, I didn't feel slighted, I just felt like his words after the game might've mirrored the lack of respect that we might've been shown going into the game. We punched them in their mouth to open the game, and I don't think they really recovered, even amidst the frequent lead changes.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #YNWA

Crap

well seeing as how Landers is still around this year, i'm skeptical

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

If there's one person you can trust, it's a disgruntled transfer.

Ha I don't think kumah is digruntled at all. Our fans on the other hand....

"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 have now seen positive things from Kumah and Trevon Hill this week. Trevon was participating in Hate Week.

The first rule of Fight Club is we don't talk about turkey leg votes

I wouldn't trust anything Kumah says

Lonnnnnng way to go, but having two first round picks two years in a row would be an insanely good look.

In Sam Rogers we trust.

Hopefully he won't leave if he isn't a guaranteed first rounder (aka guaranteed money). If he needs another year or more to become a first rounder, I hope he stays and leads a great Hokies team next year. I'm pretty sure he has a daughter though, so he'll want that money as soon as he can get it.

Hokies just raining 3's on the Spartans.

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

Am I the only one that thinks Winston had a bad day BECAUSE of Bede? I haven't seen him get much credit for shutting him down for most of the game.

All two of my MSU fan friends gave him a lot of credit for shutting down Winston. Both said "you're PG is really good"

Cassius Winston's got a ton of personal stuff going on right now too. never got in rhythm and it's understandable

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

To me, Bede's defense is much more impressive in-person than it comes across on television, too. He's extremely good on that side of the ball.

He really is one of the best defensive players in the country. Hopefully one of these days he will get credit for it instead of the other guy had a bad game.

Fuck UVa.

Leonard. Duh.