Buzz Williams Pleased With Hokies’ Preparation

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Buzz Williams
Buzz Williams has been pleased with the Hokies attitude and preparation for their first NCAA Tournament appearance (photo: Ivan Morozov)

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Buzz Williams has been trying to find the right balance this week.

The Virginia Tech head coach wants his players to enjoy every second of their first NCAA Tournament experience, while at the same time preparing the best way possible for what will be the biggest game of their lives Thursday night against Wisconsin.

“I think their concentration level has been superb,” Williams said Wednesday inside KeyBank Center, where the Hokies practiced. “I don’t want to be a task master as a coach, relative to not being satisfied, while at the same time, this is a memory of a lifetime for them.

“But I also think that it is part of my job, part of my role, to push them to be their absolute best. And that doesn’t mean that we’re going to win every game.”

Since finding out they’d be headed north, the Hokies have had to change their travel plans because of a snowstorm that hit much of the East Coast, western New York included.

“I thought they handled that well,” Williams said. “We’ve become the most diverse program ever, relative to altered travel plans, so they kind of thought it was normal. But our two practices here, and our three film sessions thus far have been outstanding. And I think that things change when you’re playing games after spring break, because guys understand the magnitude of what it is, even if they haven’t done it. As best they can, they understand that something about this is different, and I think our guys have been really good.”

Of course, that preparation won’t truly be put to the test until the ball goes up for the opening tip late Thursday night. When it does, the magnitude of playing in the NCAA Tournament will truly set in. The Hokies are new to this, while their opponents are as experienced as a tournament team can be.

“I don’t think it’s overblown at all,” Williams said of Wisconsin’s edge in experience. “Four of five starters in some capacity or another, have played in a Final Four, played in a national championship game, played in a Sweet 16. We have a roster full of guys who, tomorrow night, that will be their first time ever playing on a court that has an NCAA blue sticker on it.”

Williams has made tournament runs before at his previous stop at Marquette, so he knows what it takes to get hot in March. And in seniors Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, he’s got the type of players needed to carry a team at this time of year.

“Two red-shirt seniors, the two oldest kids on the team, you can argue the two most productive players on the team, the only guys that would be considered in some sort of stretch to get an All Conference vote of some sort, and they’re both coming off the bench,” Williams said. “I think it speaks to the fabric of what we want to be about.”

 

Zach LeDay
Zach LeDay hopes he and his teammates get to celebrate in Buffalo. (photo: Ivan Morozov)

LeDay, who leads the Hokies in scoring at 16.3 points per game, has definitely made some lasting memories so far.

“Everybody was very happy when we got in. We wanted to see where we were going,” he said. “We saw we was going to Buffalo and it was snowing and stuff. That was cool. I’m from Texas, so I don’t really see no snow like that.

“After we found out where we got in, everybody was all business then. Everybody’s been watching film. Even the young boys been watching film, just watching how Wisconsin plays. I think I watched six or seven other games. I watched the Michigan game, like, three times in, like, the past two days. So, I mean everybody is just watching film and just getting ready for the match up and just trying to get used to tendencies and stuff like that and trying to get an advantage.”

In addition to experience, the Hokies will give up an edge in size and depth to the Badgers. That, unlike their participation in the tournament, is nothing new.

So what would a win mean?

“I think it would be huge, just for everybody just to keep this run going,” LeDay said. “It’s been a special story. We don’t play that many guys. We’re small. All of this stuff that’s been rumored about us. It’s really special, and we just want to keep it going. We just want to play together as long as possible and play as hard as possible for each other, and just be there for one another.”

Related: Virginia Tech Confidential: Buzz in Blacksburg

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5 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. We will have to play with poise and 110% effort in order to win this game. We’ll be facing a veteran team that is unlikely to lose their poise. If we shoot well, limit turnovers, stay out of foul trouble, and don’t get out rebounded by a wide margin, then we have a good shot to win. I’ve watched Wisconsin a lot. I would get the ball inside to Zack at every opportunity early and let him use his quickness to attack Ethan Happ and get him in foul trouble. Similarly, Robinson and Alan have an edge in quickness over there Badger counterparts. They should not be afraid to drive to the rack. Defensively, we need to look out for Nigel Hayes, as he can score from anywhere and take over a game. We also cannot give Bronson Koenig open looks from deep. Go Hokies! Let’s get a W!

  2. i see in ‘Virginia Tech Confidential: Buzz in Blacksburg’ that there were two buses waiting on the tarmac in Buffalo for our team to deplane. guess “we” learned a little something from the recent BC trip up north.

    gotta love our “CEO”

    Go Hokies! bash some badgers

    1. Absolutely agree, Buzz obviously has our program trending in the right direction, and our first NCAA invite in a decade is further evidence of that fact. That said, I don’t think that our draw is as tough as many of the talking heads are indicating. We should play Wisconsin tight based on the matchups, all of the indicators, not to mention the +5.5 that we’re seeing in Vegas. If we get through that one, we get a date with the overall #1 with “shock the world” implications which isn’t out of the realm of possibility if we get hot from outside like we have for more than a few games this season. Either way, great season, and excited for the future. GO HOKIES!!,

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