Virginia Tech students were getting a little salty Monday night, as will happen when a team is about to thump Duke. Fifth-ranked Duke. Perennial powerhouse Duke.
For Coach Buzz Williams, though, the kids in Cassell Coliseum were just a little too salty, and he grabbed the mic to tell everybody to cool it with a vulgar chant that could be heard on ESPN’s broadcast.
“Guys, quit cussin’. Quit cussin’,” he told the crowd, adding for good measure, “Don’t throw anything on the floor regardless of what’s happenin’.”
Smart move in a tight game that Virginia Tech won, 64-63, helping the Hokies cement a spot in the NCAA tournament. Williams was taking no chances that an outside force might tip the game in the Blue Devils’ favor.
This is also a good time to remind people of one of the great moments in college coaching history when Oklahoma’s Billy Tubbs was asked to calm an unruly crowd during a 1989 game against Missouri.
“The referees request,” he began, “that regardless of how terrible the officiating is, do not throw stuff on the floor.”
That got him a standing ovation — and his second technical in under a minute. It also seemed to work as the Sooners won the Big Eight game, 112-105.
So, you see, sometimes acting crazy is a good idea, not that Williams wasn’t sincere in keeping Tech fans from riling up Duke players Monday night. Still, there are moments when zaniness can be effective.
“He wants you to think he’s half-crazy,” Dale Layer, then the Liberty coach, told The Post’s Dave Sheinin in 2013. Layer hired Williams in 2000 when he was head coach at Colorado State. “He’s probably only about 19 percent crazy, but he wants you to think he’s 84 percent.”
Williams admitted then that there was a bit of method to his madness.
“If you only see me on game day,” Williams said, “probably what you think of me is — I don’t want to say diametrically opposed, but it’s distinctly different” than reality.
Read more from the D.C. Sports Bog: