Tech Talk Live Notes: Buzz Williams Recaps Loss to Kentucky

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Virginia Tech Talk Live

Virginia Tech men’s basketball dominated the coverage on Monday night’s Tech Talk Live, as Justin Bibbs and head coach Buzz Williams both made appearances. Bibbs talked about his journey at Virginia Tech, while Williams expanded on his postgame thoughts following Virginia Tech’s loss to Kentucky on Dec. 16. 

Here are the highlights.

Justin Bibbs

How the program has evolved since Bibbs started as a freshman

“It’s a journey. The first year, that was the longest year ever. Yeah, just losing every game just about, it was a sour feeling. Just being a part of this turnaround has been huge. I’ll think about this probably for the rest of my life. But that’s not enough. We’ve got to get back to the tournament.”

Role parents have played in Bibbs’ life and basketball career

“Yeah, they mean a lot. They’re just happy people. Every time you see them, they’re smiling. I’m extremely blessed. They come to my games. Five hours, nine hours to Ole Miss or whatever, I’m just blessed and happy for them. They’re just the best parents.”

Mileage that family has racked up while traveling to Bibbs’ games

“Man, millions, billions. It goes all the way from when I was a little kid. We had tournaments in Florida, he’ll drive to Florida. Just millions of miles.”

How season is going so far

“I think I’m doing good. Both team-wise, off the court, individually, I think it’s going nicely. No complaints. Just got to get some more (wins).”

Bond developed with teammates

“Yeah, they’re like my brothers. You live with them, we’re always with them. We have a group chat on our phone and we’re always talking to each other. We just know everything about each other. It’s almost like a brotherhood. It’s real easy to play with them too.”

Buzz Williams

Takeaways from loss to Kentucky on Dec. 16

“Not good enough to win, against a good team. For sure not enough to win against a good team on the road. They shot 13 more field goal attempts than we did and seven more free throws than we did. Those are normally our types of numbers. In essence, they shot 50 percent from the field on those extra 13 attempts, and 70 percent from the free throw line. So, it’s just bad math. You can’t overcome that. Those field goal attempts and free throw attempts, in large part, were the extra possessions they got from the offensive glass and from our turnovers. If you shoot 57 percent from the field on the road, if you shoot 47 percent from three on the road, if you shoot 75 percent from the free throw line on the road, there has to be something that’s very glaring if you don’t win that game. Twenty-five percent of the time, we gave them the ball, and that’s just mathematically, you can’t overcome that.”

Buzz Williams is hoping the Hokies rebound from the loss at Kentucky. (Ivan Morozov)

Reasons for 19 turnovers vs. Kentucky

“I don’t know if I could categorize all 19 turnovers as one reason, but your reasoning for sure would be one of the categories. We were not mature in how we handled their zone pressure, their length. Their environment sped us up to do things that are atypical. You would expect that we would try to make ‘home run’ passes in that type of environment. I don’t think that would be a category. I thought once we got to the half court, we played very sound. I thought in transition, we played very sound. I think we shot 55 balls, had 19 turnovers, and it’s just disappointing. So, it was not (Justin Robinson), he had three of them. Well, if you play 38 minutes and you’re the quarterback, if you’re being realistic, you want two. But there were too many guys who had two. Nickeil (Alexander-Walker) had four. So Nickeil and (Robinson) has seven of the 19. Well Chris (Clarke) handled the ball a lot. He’s our secondary ball handler. So it’s not one person, it’s the Hokies, collectively, and the Hokies collectively giving the opponent way too many extra possessions. Too many extra possessions that over the period of the game is just really, really hard to overcome. If we don’t shoot 57 percent and 47 percent and 75 percent, in truth, it’s an 18-22-point game.”

Kerry Blackshear’s performance vs. Kentucky (18 points, five rebounds in 22 minutes), and keeping him on the floor

“We’ve got to figure that out. I don’t know what the answer is, and probably shouldn’t speak to it if I did know. I’ll take Justin Bibbs over any big guard we’ve played. I’ll take (Robinson) at the point over any point guard we’ve played. I’ll take (Blackshear) inside over any big guy we’ve played. I’ll take Chris Clarke as ‘I can do whatever you need me to do’ over anybody we’ve played. I’ll take Ahmed Hill as the counterpart to Justin Bibbs over any guy we’ve played. And you know, I don’t handle it right. This is my only time in public each week, and I try to cover up any bad body language or any silly talk. Man, I like our guys. I don’t mind the stage of Cassell or the stage of Rupp, or it’s not on TV, or Coach (Mack) McCarthy is calling the game, none of that impacts me because that’s not how I grew up in this business. But I like our group, and I think time will tell and winning has to be the separator, and I tell our guys that. I told our guys that today, and we didn’t even really practice today. The kids didn’t even sweat today, because I spent the whole time hollering that winning has to be out separator. Not what the tweeters say, not what the Instagram stories say, not what Laaser and Burnop say, not what the newspapers say, not what your parents say, not what your other people say. You can’t give the ball away 19 times. You have to win that game. Then, when you win that game, they talk about how good you are. And some of that hype stuff, all gone, because the separator is winning. And thus far, we have won the games we were supposed to win and we have lost the games we were supposed to have lost, except one. So through 11 games, even though the numbers don’t say it, we’re 0-1. And the real game of life is winning every now and then when you’re not supposed to, and the real game of life is not losing when you’re not supposed to lose. The hardest part of that equation is you have to do it every single day, and we’ve got a core group of ‘every single day’ guys, and we cannot miss the lessons that God was teaching us on the way to Lexington. It’s my responsibility to make sure they comprehend those lessons, and those lessons are more important than who we play tomorrow, and it’s more important than what our practice was scheduled to be today. Because if we don’t learn the lessons, that’s why God doesn’t wear a watch, the time is as far from the east as it is the west, you keep getting the same test over and over until you learn the lesson, and we have to learn the lesson. And that lesson was Saturday, and it’s Monday night, and we’re going to get the same lesson tomorrow night. They’re wearing the same colors, they just have a different name on their jersey. Kentucky beat us, straight up. Kentucky beat us. A portion of the loss would be subscribed or ascribed to the Hokies, in my opinion, and that’s what we have to be responsible for. When we grow up and accept that, and then improve from that, then we’ll be ready for what’s next. And if we’re not ready for what’s next, you’ll come to postgame, you’ll ask me the same questions you always ask, I’ll give the same answers I always give, because we’re going to keep losing the same way.”

Note: Tech Talk Live will take a break for the next two weeks. The show will take the next to Mondays off, due to Christmas and New Year’s Day. Jon Laaser and Mike Burnop will host a special two-hour edition of Tech Talk Live on Dec. 27 from the Virginia Tech team hotel in Orlando, and the regular edition of Tech Talk Live will resume on Jan. 8. 

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14 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I don’t understand Buzz. I never met him, so I can’t really say much. I just hope his players understand him a whole lot better than I do. I was hoping to hear something like “it was my bad for not coaching them better regarding beating the press. We will work hard on that because we will see it again and again, and we will get killed in the ACC unless we fix it. We have good players, and we will make teams pay for the press in the future by getting easy baskets.”

  2. Buzz is a teacher and that is more than half of taking teenagers and making them winners. I hope he retires a Hokie as well. You build players and you build a program. The reason I love college basketball way more than pro is Buzz Williams and the kids that become Hokies!

  3. “. . . and the real game of life is winning every now and then when you’re not supposed to, and the real game of life is not losing when you’re not supposed to lose. The hardest part of that equation is you have to do it every single day, . . . and we cannot miss the lessons that God was teaching us . . . . Because if we don’t learn the lessons, that’s why God doesn’t wear a watch, the time is as far from the east as it is the west, you keep getting the same test over and over until you learn the lesson, and we have to learn the lesson.” – Buzz

    Lots to ponder (for everyone) in those words.

  4. You have to like what Buzz is saying and what he believes about this team. You can hear the frustration and disappointment in his voice because he believes he has a team that can compete and they let one get away Saturday that they could have won.

  5. Buzz is right…didn’t handle pressure well enough. And in several cases it wasn’t just length or athleticism, it was clear lack of concentration and composure by a few, particularly NAW. Amazing to shoot that well from the floor and lose vs any team. And it all came down to extra possessions, points of TO’s, and rebounding. Rebounding we will have to live with somewhat due to size, but TO’s and struggling against pressure is unacceptable especially when fielding a small lineup of ballhandlers. That said, I’m thrilled with the progress VT basketball has made and look forward to each game like I did in the mid 80’s. Go Hokies! Keep grinding and getting better.

  6. This team is for real. Didn’t play their best yet were in it all game. I like that Buzz likes his players. I hope he retires as a Hokie many years and championships from now.

    1. Until Buzz (CJF also!) can recruit 5 star athletes to Blacksburg he (they) will never become a real threat to compete for a Nat championship. Just follow the recruiting ball and that will tell you all you need to know……just like vs Kentucky you can’t “coach up” players enough to win against the elite, at least not consistently.

      1. NAW is a five star player. Buzz is starting to get those types of recruits already. Just give him time.

  7. Buzz may not be satisfied … and that’s OK … but most of us are thrilled to be competing at a high level.
    Lots of credit to this team.

  8. We were down 2 with a minute left on the court of the number 8 team in the country. It’s been said all of their starting 5 will play in the NBA.
    I’ll take that. We will be just fine.
    Love the fire in Buzz to improve.

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