Virginia Tech Basketball is Turning its Program Around
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Prior to the 2014-2015 season Virginia Tech’s Athletic Department announced the hiring of Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. The hire surprised most as Williams had just led Marquette to the NCAA tournament four out of the five years that he coached there. This was perceived as a great hire by the program and one that could help deliver Virginia Tech’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. Now in his second season it appears as if William’s players have bought into the system and could be headed for more future success.
Currently in a stretch of four straight years of finishing dead last in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Virginia Tech men’s basketball team is finally showing signs of life. After being beaten by the University of North Carolina and Louisville by 15 and Notre Dame by 25 last season, they have lost to those three teams by a combined 15 points. This is a forty-point difference and the team has shown improvement in almost all of the statistical categories and also in some things that can not be measured in simply numbers.
Coming into the 2015-2016 season the Hokies had recently retooled their roster in what included over half the roster consisting of new players. However, these new players did not necessarily mean inexperience as two of the players were transfers from Maryland and the University of South Florida. These two would emerge as two of Virginia Tech’s major contributors this year. This experience would prove to be even more important as the dynamic sophomore Ahmed Hill suffered a leg injury which has sidelined him for the entire season. After the opening game which was a very disappointing loss to Alabama State, the Hokies went on to win eight of their next ten games and were already showing improvement from the that opening loss. Although, after a loss to Saint Joseph’s, it was revealed that standout freshman Chris Clarke had broke his foot and would be injured for a lengthy amount of time.
After a beatdown where they were blown out by West Virginia, the team seemed to reach a turning point after Buzz Williams kept his team in the locker room for an hour and forty five minutes. This turning point occurred in the team’s ACC opener which was played against North Carolina State. After being as much as 16 points behind their opponents the Hokies battled back and grinded their way to a win in overtime. This was the first game of a four win and one loss start to ACC games which included an upset win over the University of Virginia who at the time were the number four team in the nation.
Now after a four game losing streak that is a lot worse on paper as out of those four losses only one of them has been a defeat by double digits. Buzz Williams should strive to continue to make his team play hard and not give up even when the outcome of games seem bleak. If he can do that the future of the team this year and beyond will be capable of returning to its former status and quite possibly beyond.