So, we didn't win the N.I.T. I know that I said we would be close, but we played our hearts out and I don't think that anyone is thinking otherwise. So, expectations were met. The Hokies played better than advertised. And this squad is ready to make the jump to winning games on the road and on neutral courts next season. Check, check, and double check. Where does that leave this season and this program? Both good questions that I hope to answer here.
This squad can make it to the NCAA Tournamnet next season. There is no doubt about that. They can score. They can defend. They can get the loose balls. They have experience. They have guard play. All of these things lead to a team that can play of 40 minutes and win games even if they are oversized.. This is important in the ACC more than most other conferences because there are more tall, good rebounding teams, that play in the ACC, where if you cannot get to the boards, you have no chance.
The Hokies can score in bunches. If you cannot score in bunches, you cannot win in the new NCAA. It is that simple. Look at the teams that are making it far in the Tournament. It's the teams that can score. Who would have thought that Hawaii would win their first round game? But they can score on anyone, and that's what gets you wins in the Tournament. The Hokies are never going to defend like Wisconsin, but they can score like UNC, and that ain't too bad,
The Hokies drive to the basket. With the way the rules are now, this may be the most important thing that this Tech squad does. Because they get to the basket, they get fouled, they score, or both on most of their possessions. That means that they play to the rules that are given to them, and nothing is smarter in the long-term than that.
Finally, they are coached by Buzz Willams. I know that there is a lot swirling around the coach right now. There is talk of him being the coach of a host of different institutions. All of it makes sense. He has taken a program with very limited credentials, and moved it to being something to recon with. There aren't many people who have this ability. He is special and he has made our program special in the process. But this isn't the time to leave. No NCAA bids. No chance at an ACC title. No Player Of The Year or Coach Of The Year titles yet. There is much to do in Blacksburg and only one man to do it. I'm not positive he stays, but I am hopeful.
So, there you have it. The Hokies can be an NCAA team next season. The recipe: Buzz Williams, being aggressive, and scoring in bunches.
At the end of the day, a big thank you to Buzz and his staff for all they have done thus far for our Hokies. They have made men out of boys, and there is no greater gift that he can give as a teacher than that.