Virginia Tech basketball NCAA preview Wisconsin

#32 R.P.I. Wisconsin vs. #47 R.P.I. Virginia Tech:

Virginia Tech basketball opens N.C.A.A. tournament round of 64 play in the 9/8 match-up vs. Wisconsin.

I for one could not be happier to dine upon crow tonight –as I likes my crow rare, yet warm.wiscky hoops logo

Props to Chris Coleman and all the rest of you who called this one spot-on pre-season as: “Oops I blew it, it’s a moth” ¦ James Douglas Morrison. That admission, ownership, and felicitations all rightful put to bed and henceforth bestowed; we have a NC2A (bleeping) basketball game to play! I have a preview to write and you have a preview to read. As we drew the no.8  seeded Wisconsin Badgers fresh off a 2nd place or silver medal runner-up performance from the fabled BIG-10 conference; as Wiscy checks in at 25 up and 9 down and 12-6 in conference play on the year. They are known to be a physical, tough-minded, internally grinding halfcourt offensively efficacious type team and that means this game is nobodies gimmie. Though who will win this N.C.A.A. opening round match-up  ~9:40pm Thursday night tip? Read on to find, out…

Badger Head Coach: Greg Gard: Age=46, 4o–17 (.7o2) overall and at Wisconsin. $1,750,00.oo

On December 15, 2015, (then) Assistant Coach Gard was announced as the new interim head coach after Bo Ryan announced his retirement following the Badgers win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Gard had been Ryan’s longest-serving assistant, having coached together for a whopping loyal 23 years at the time of the transition. They had coached together at Wisconsin–Platteville, Milwaukee, and Wisconsin U. In the process, Gard became one of the most respected assistant coaches in the college game.

Has a pretty brainy coaching rep'...
Has a pretty brainy coaching rep’…

Nonetheless, after Cobb Wisconsin homespun native Coach Gard took over the reins, Wisconsin stumbled, initially; winning just two of their first seven games with an overall record of 9-9 at that point. However the team’s turnaround started with an upset over #4 Michigan State as the Badgers won 11 of the next 13 games to finish out the regular season tied for third in the Big Ten with an overall record of 20–11 (12–6 in the Big Ten). Following the end of the regular season, Wisconsin University removed the interim tag and Coach Gard was promoted to full-time head coach of the Badgers. Wisconsin then received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they beat #10 seeded Pittsburgh in the first round. Wisconsin defeated #2 seeded Xavier by a 3-point buzzer beater from Bronson Koenig in the second round to advance to the Sweet 16 where their season ended at the hands of #6 seeded Notre Dame. After the season ended Gard was named the 2o16 Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year!

In November of 2o15, Gard was ranked as the fourth-best “X&O” assistant coach in college basketball by —that counts. In 2o12, Gard was named No. 3 on the list of top assistant coaches in college basketball according to Bleacher Report –that counts too. Coach Gard was also Wisconsin’s recruiting director for hoops and in his 15 years his 15 years in Madison, UW has boasted a total of 53 Academic all-Big Ten honors, third best during that time span.

Baller Gard apparently did not exist making this an extremely rare non-baller vs. non-baller opening round coaching match-up. Gard the student is a 1995 graduate of UW-Platteville with a degree in physical and health education. He received a master’s degree in counselor education from Platteville in 2oo7. Gard and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters Mackenzie and Peyton and a son, Isaac.

The Swing Offense 1o1:

Wiscy courts the so-called; “Swing Offense“, which is an O that is predicated upon just that: “swinging” the ball. Coach Ryan developed his Swing Offense at UW-Platteville and Coach Gard installed his version of it (mid) last year. The Swing offense is a 4-out patterned offense that emphasis continuity, i.e. four guys outside swinging the ball around one post. All five players are interchangeable, and spacing, screening, cutting and good passing are paramount. All five players learn to post up inside. The offense is deliberate, often with multiple passes and places value on each possession with high percentage inside shots, or free-throws. Unlike some of the recent, newer offenses that utilize the dribble-drive vector or simply bombing away from the outside, the Swing offense is truly a team oriented offense that places a premium on good passing, screening and cutting.

O’ Wisconsin at a glance:

  • 9th in scoring D (61.4 ppg allowed)!
  • 19th in rebounding margin (+6.3 rpg).
  • 33rd fewest total turnovers (358 ∑).
  • 41st in defensive FG percentage (41.o% allowed).
  • 44th in offensive rebounding (12.3 o-rpg).
  • 64 most steals for the year (23o ∑),
  • 3o2nd in 3-ponit defensive percentage (37.5% allowed)!
  • 334th in FT percentage (64.3%)!
  • 1 injury listed.

Badger Returning Starters=4

Wisconsin Strengths:

  • Four senior starters returned along with 99% of the 2016 Wiscy points! Hence the Badgers were tabbed #1 in the BIG-10 by Lindy’s pre-season magazine, accordingly.
  • That starting final year quartet has only notched 15 -that’s fifteen- big N.C.A.A. wins between ’em thus far!
  • Nigel Hayes: merely the BIG-10 ‘s pre-season Player of the year and a 6’8”, 24o lb. bulky though deft Four (P/F) with 13.5 ppg, 6.4 rpg with 2.7 dimes (apg) and yet 58.5% on his FTA’s. As Nigel is a lotta things,including a campus athlete activist; as recall he was the guy carrying the sign in $upport of college ballers gettin’ paid!So this kid ain’t dull, and whether you agree/disagree with his fiscal policies, at least he has the cahones to get out there and take a stand. His hoops game stands a looksee as well, as Hayes is said to have improved his own abilities to create his won shots and to set-up others. And not many can expand individual and plural horizons at the very same time. Nigel was a back-to-the basket traditional Four as a rookie, a stretch-Four as a super soph’, and last year he slide over to the Three (per Happ’s arrival) as true over-match at the Three. that’s a versatile guy if there ever was one, and he’s a pretty decent defender and has 32% range on his three. Nigel also courts a propensity for getting to the free throw line, setting a UW record and leading the BIG-10 with 258 FTA’s a year ago —Z.Leday, be, warned. And I can only assure you, his 2oo FTA’s thus far this season is the most I’ve seen/written about; which makes sense when you see he had a shot at a football career as well. Nigel may not be great at any one thing, though he’s pretty damn good all-around for a guy with good though not epic high school numbers.

    Skillful big with handles who will defense.
    Skillful big with handles who will defense.
  • r-sophomore (pic) Ethan Happ was only named the top stop-unit guy or Defensive Player of the year pre-season by Lindy’s. Happ is a 6’10” 232 lb., P/F-C combo with 13.9 ppg and the team led at 9.1 rpg and at 1.9 swats and at 59.1% shooting from the floor. Recall that Happ just became the third N.C.A.A. freshman over the last 15 seasons to score 4oo points, have 6o steals and 3o blocks (joining Kevin Durant and DuJuan Blair). Yah; I’d have to say that counts as does Happ’s durability and ability(s) for having started every single game since he arrived on campus. The book on Happ says that he lead the freakin’ league in steals (last year), as a freak’, Center! A r-freshamn Five at that, and that he 63 steals and 38 blocks this season which is code for just at 1oo shots form the other side that just got, erased.  Yes, he is related as his 1st-cousin is none other than Toronto B.Jay’s pitcher A.J. Happ, eh. Happ has no 3-point range (0%) as he has taken zero three pointers in his Wiscy career thus far (pun intended); although that tells you just what a paint eater this kid is.
  • Leading scorer (14.o ppg) and third-team all-BIG-10 preseason Point-man Bronson Koenig is your clutch looking 6’4”, 19o lb. final year backcourt wizard. Koenig gets you a couple of assists and rebounds, on 38% from deep and a team leading 91% from the charity-stripe. He also rolls boy-next-door gone Jersey Shore blow-out good looks as you’d have to think this kid draws a lotta (opposing) fan-base and prolly campus girl, attention. That being fairly said, this narcissist can swim, as you’d better have a pretty clean breaststroke when you keeps the nickname: “Klutch Koenig” for yourself. Koenig also has a rep’ as a pinpoint passer with 20-20 court-vision, as Koenig leads the BIG-10 with a 3.o assist-to-turnover ratio; which is pretty dang stellar from such a starry eyed looker. Not half bad work from the former Wisconsin High School Basketball Player of the Year (2o13), as Bronson only picked up two homegrown state championships along the way. If you are wondering about his surname, Koenig is of Native American descent, and he is a proud member of the Ho-Chunk tribe. And he only went 43 straight games with at least one 3-point make earlier this year; these after leaning his body down a bit to play a quick Pt.Guard game.
  • 6’3”, 184 lb., Zak Showalter is the other multi’ year, red-shirt final year backcourt starter albeit as a fell-good likeable former walk-on off-Guard. the book on the somewhat overlooked 8.4 ppg, 39.1% from long-distance Showalter describes him as a: relentless and athletic Shooting-G that brings a defensive mentality with an ability to get to the rim (50% overall) and knock down shots. “Showy” is also a former Wisconsin scholastic state titlist, and he has learnt how to downshift from his former 100 mph style, at least at times, as this an all-BIG-10 first string defensive team member (2o17, w/ 1.6 spg) who is also all-Academic BIG-10 who has studied abroad in both Greece and Italy with a history of right-ankle rolls. That, and he is that very sharp-elbowed in-your-face kinda defender that made you cringe on the playground in pick-up ball as a kid.

Wisconsin Weaknesses:

  • This is not a deep post-bench team; and the whole club has been in a shooting funk from the floor and from 3-point-land for 2-3 weeks. Not to mention being in more than a funk from the charity-stripe all year.
  • Khalil Iverson, is a 6’5”, 2o5 lb. superb leaper and stopper as a freaky stud athlete at the Swing spot. Iverson (no relation) and his 3.7 ppg, 2 caroms and a block are all listed as: Probable, for Thursday night (sources say: death in the family) with what are being described as: “personal” i.e. reasons. God Bless on that, and that said, his high school numbers were that of a pure leaper, not necessarily a pure basketballer, although the metrics here are most willing indeed.
  • Wisconsin ended the year on a .4oo or 4-6 schneid’ and that’s not the way you wanna enter the Big Dance overall. Wiscy did win two BIG-10 tourney games before getting swept by 17 points by Michigan, though still, Wiscy was 21-3 prior to that deca’ closer for a {sic: good} reason(s) and yet they only won four more times after that for south of good reason(s) as well. As any team that courts 67% of their total L’s on the year in the last three weeks of play is not a team peaking at the right time; they ain’t butter, because they is not on a roll.

Badger Bench: (depth=3 to 4 deep)

  • The Badger pine squad has been pared down to basically D’Mitrik Trice and Jordan Hill of late during the BIG-10 tourney run; so we’ll (mostly) expect that to continue here. D’Mitrik Trice is a shortie back-up One at 5’1o” and 184 nugget or t-freshamn year lbs. who was a big-time recruit for coach Gard. Yes, his brother was the star at Michigan State ((Travis), and yes, he was a likewise big-time H.S. football recruit (one of the top Qb’s in-state). On the gridiron, D’Mitrik quarterbacked Wayne High School to the state championship game as a senior in 2o14. For which he was named Ohio Division I Offensive Player of the Year and finished with a career record of 25-3 as a two-year starter under center. With a paltry 7,231 career passing yards and 82 total TD’s as a two year starter at the Qb1 or Pivot spot. Trice also netted a state title in hoops the next year although quite honestly his gridiron numbers are north of his hardwood metrics. Nevertheless, Trice chooses hoops and he gives you 6 ppg with a couple of caroms and dimes alike in relief at a sparky looking 45% from range. Jordan Hill is a 6’4”, 172 lb. r-Jr. year combo-G who drops 1.5 ppg and who plays primarily as a defensive backcourt string-bean sized stopper; as he ain’t in there for his 35% from the floor or for his 25% from long.
  • Sophomoric Alex Illikainen is a 6’9”, 232 lb. stretch-4 who shoots .333% overall and 50% on this free-throws with 1.4 ppg and 1.6 rpg. Alex is down to spot-minutes to give the starting Badger frountcourters a quick 2-3 minute breather per half.

Wiscy match ups

R.A.T.T: $100 says what... here???

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Illation, conclusion (s) and OPT digits:

Number of Badgers who could start @Tech=3.

the takeaway:
The takeaway here is… unless you live under a rock, or have recently been hit in the head by a rock, you may not have heard… we made it, we are in, we are part of March Madness, we are in the freakin’ N.C.A.A. men’s D-1 basketball tournament!NCAA logo

WAR beer watching all hooping things O&M!!!
WAR coach Buzz and company!!!
WAR Whit for hiring buzz!!!

And this just in, rain is rumored to be wet —as this has been one helluva a turnaround from A.c.c. doormat to the N.I.T. to the N.C.A.A.’s, all in three years according to my 36 orphaned hours of calc’ and stats. Accordingly, and borrowing on the above preview header…

44 year old Brent LangdonBuzzWilliams is 205–132 (.6o8) overall and 53–46 (.531) @Virginia Tech. ($2,700,000, + $100,000.oo retention bonus)

Formerly, coach Buzz served as head men’s basketball coach at Marquette from 2oo8 to 2o14 and at New Orleans during the 2oo6–o7 season, and as an assistant coach at the Texas-Arlington, Texas A&M–Kingsville, Northwestern State, Colorado State, and Texas a&m. Coach Buzz has won one conference title: the 2o13 Big East and has been to the N.C.A.A.’s (now) six times and the N.I.T. once. Buzz is 8-5 lifetime in the NC2A’s and 9-6 in post-season tournament play overall; i.e. Buzz is a freakin’ winner!

Baller Buzz Williams -to the extent of my R&D- never much existed; which is highly unusual in modern era terms.

Buzz is #1. All fingers point to that!
Buzz is #1. All fingers point to that!

Buzz the person came up in Van Alstyne, Texas. earned a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Oklahoma City University in 1994 and a master’s degree in the same field at Texas A&M University in 1999. Williams married his wife, Corey Norman, in 2ooo. They have two daughters (Addyson and Zera) and two sons (Calvin and Mason). Referring to his boundless energy, his coaches at Navarro College nicknamed him: “Buzz“.

Virginia Tech and Buzz Williams have agreed to a contract extension through the 2o22-23 season (3.3 mil’ final year). Buzz has also established a new endowment and scholarship for the university. The Buzz’s Bunch Scholarship Endowment will be awarded annually to an undergraduate student at Virginia Tech in any field of study who is registered at the school with a disability. Also, “The Buzz and Corey Williams Family Student-Athlete Scholarship – In Memory of T. Marshall Hahn” will be awarded annually to an undergraduate female student-athlete at Virginia Tech.


the skinny
There are two (whole) things I know about post-season basketball in NC2A Tourney time terms… I look for teams in the Top-40 in rebounding margin and defense, and I pick them. As those two effort driven metrics should never ever go cold, even if shooting could go cold for either (or both) of any two given teams in an unfamiliar opening round gym.

Wisconsin does field two useful bigs (Nigel Hayes & Ethan Happ) and one lowercase backcourt alpha (Bronson Koenig). And at least 67% of that is a real live match-up problem for coach Buzz. Nonetheless, this Wiscy 3-point defense may prove to be disagreeable for coach Gard and the Badgers if Tech gets it going beyond the arc, early on.

the game...
Making its 19th straight appearance in the N.C.A.A. Tournament, Wisconsin will square off with Virginia Tech, which is dancing for the first time since 2oo7. The teams will face off in Buffalo, N.Y., on Thursday in the first round of the East Region with the winner likely taking on top-seeded #1 Villanova in the Round of 32 on Saturday. This from two teams and two fan bases who feel their respective club deserved better; i.e. as a seeding and probable 2nd-round match-up goes.

the metrics

  • VT is +3 in rest. EDGE=VT.
  • Remaining scholarship ballers: Wiscy=13, VT=8. EDGE=Wiscy.
  • Overall, Wiscy is +3 in scoring margin, VT is +1% from the floor, VT is +6% from deep, VT is 9% better on FTA’s and Wiscy is +9 in rebounding margin. EDGE=tie.
  • On neutral courts, VT is +1 in scoring, +2% overall, +13% from range, tho’ Wisy is +13 on rebounding margin. EDGE=VT modest.
  • In their most recent five contests, Wiscy is +4 in scoring margin, VT is +1% on FGA’s, Wiscy is +1% on three’s and +6 on the glass. Small EDGE=Wiscy.

the call...
As of Sunday night, I’m semi close to fenced here; although here depends entirely upon coach Buzz and companies outside shooting. If our beloved Hokies splash the nets from outside -checking in at 13th best in D-1 @40.4%- Virginia Tech is a very live dog in this one. However, if our Hokies are chilling from range and/or Wiscy pickpockets the pace and beats us up on the inside, this one could be a long one, indeed.

Further, one could also say this one depends entirely upon which Wisconsin bothers to show, up. The 21-3 one, looking every bit the part of the BIG-10 alpha Wiscy shows up and we/Virginia Tech basketball are in some measure of trouble. As Wisconsin is deeper, probably better, and obviously more experienced than we are, in very particular on the big dance stage. Wiscy did rally just a scosche to finish 3-1 in their last four contests. However, Wiscy shot 51.6% on their FTA’s in their last five, they scored between 56 and 7o in four of their last five games and tallied 50-somethings in four of their last ten games, all, L’s.

So, in other words, I have this game pretty dang close to even whereas Vegas says the Hokies are a 5 or 6 point underdog. As these Badgers sure are a squirrelly bunch; to be sure; and quite frankly, I’m not sure we can take their A-game punch; although I’m not sure we catch their A-game punch, either. I am sure that I like the fact that we’ve been up in B’lo (Buffalo) since Monday and that practice was, quiet. Or focused; as this is a business trip sports fans, this ain’t hedonism or some freak-o-thon Spring Break.

Nevertheless, Vegas and I can not be clinically correct at the same time and if I am right, I’ve got a lotta writing to do Thursday night and St.Patrick’s Day afternoon. Here’s hoping, I’m… write.

(56% confidence interval)
Virginia Tech=74,




V.A.D.A. approved

snoopy Saint Patrick

5 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. In my best Dickie V imitation:
    Hey B-Street let me save you the time of watching the tape. These Hokies are Hungrier than the Badgers. Nothing works with the Big Ten +2 runners up but when you see the 3 point shooting and desire to win close games, it’s a no brained for this prediction,,,,, Virginia Tech blows out Wisconsin by 16. 86 to 70 for Wisconsin baby. Ole my they’ll be celebrating in Blacksburg as LaDay & Allen have Senior tournament moments to remember.

    It’s must see TV this Thursday night!!!!

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!!
    Beat Wisky!!!

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