TWO DUKIES PICK THE ACC
Volume IX, Number XXXII Ė March 3, 2006
Welcome to this edition of the ninth (we truly wish just as much as you do that we were making that up), yes, ninth, season of Two Dukies Pick the ACC. Rob and Matt invite you to sit back, marvel at the continually novel parking spots uncovered by Duane Simpkinswonder what sort of hard-hitting proposals your state legislators have recently flushed out to get you on the hook, and, sir, I TOLD you to put the basketball away before driving to the hoop!! Keep it up, and we will stop all aircraft movement. And not whistle you for a travel. Speaking of stopping all movement(s), wait until you see *this* regular-season concluding effort, below.
The TWO DUKIES name and material are, for some ridiculous reason, affiliated with http://www.dukies.com, and for even more ludicrous motivations, copyright 2006 Rigel Enterprises, Ltd. All rights reserved, and even though you may have had reservations yourself, we'd like to seat you anyway.
Matt's comments in blue.
Rob Mac K's selections in green.
VIRGINIA TECH (14-14, 4-11) @ #12 BOSTON COLLEGE (23-6, 10-5)
Iím two ď24sĒ behind in my running commentary (and to those of you who inquired, yeah, I probably will keep commenting on the show in the basketball offseason, since some of you are apparently enjoying it, and thanks), and theyíve both been outstanding, but Iím going to need something to talk about on Expanded Les Robinson Thursday (ďELRTĒ) next week, so Iíll . . . oh, sweet Jesus. Now Iím really reconsidering. Oh, Iíll soldier on with the original plan. As usual, I didnít see a single film that was nominated for an Academy Award (other than ďBatman BeginsĒ and Episode III - - I just didnít go see ďSyrianaĒ or ďMunichĒ for SOME STRANGE REASON - - WONDER WHAT TAKES UP LARGE PORTIONS OF MY TIME AT THIS JUNCTURE OF THE CALENDAR YEAR???), so you donít want or need my Oscar picks, either. Wait, is this really the first nomination for Reese? I didnít realize that. Sheís got to be a lock even though I didnít see ďWalk the LineĒ - - I guess I just thought ďLegally BlondeĒ or ďElectionĒ would have drawn her a nod before now. Iím sure more intelligent entertainment commentators than me, especially since Iím a lawyer with a college basketball blog that isnít currently discussing basketball, have noted that she and Kate Winslet share a lot of similarities - - theyíre less than six months apart in age and tend to win a lot of critical acclaim, but they donít have any Oscars, which in Winsletís case, really is pretty stupid. Well, Witherspoon is almost certainly going to go one up in that category on Sunday night. I wonder if the AMPAS has some kind of bias against young actresses? Hmmm.
Okay, you know you just skipped down to the Tools writeup and are merely scanning this at best, so letís just say that the ACC is weird, as always. One win for VPI in the last five, and it was against that same Florida State team that just won the national championship this week. Huh? Ugh. Meanwhile, the Iggles are failing to impress me lately, beating laughable State and ridiculous Wake to lock up a hall pass from the ELRT festivities. However, VPI has no one to guard Dudley or thug Sean Marshall, so even if Coleman Collins can contain Smith, the Nutcracker has the matchups on his side. And then, get this - - have I ever mentioned the roadtrip? Itís a killer!
Boston College 72, Virginia Tech 64.
Boston College 70, Virginia Tech 62.
GEORGIA TECH (11-15, 4-11) @ CLEMSON (17-11, 6-9)
That decision to save ď24Ē commentary for the tourney is looking dumber by the second. Who scheduled this mess? Well, I guess this is the gripping rivalry between mortal enemies the Georgia Institute of Technology and Clemson University, so I should show some respect. Coming right up - - hey, other than Mark Price, Lethal Weapon 3, and Matt Harpring, what have the BugThugs ever really brought to this conference? Forget that f-ing title run two years ago - - that was one of the biggest strings of meritless luck in recent NCAA history. And Clemson. Clemson!! Any school that has been in a league for over five decades and has *never* won on one of its conference opponentsí home floors has to be pointedly interrogated. Did Clemson make more sense in the ACC when South Carolina was around? Probably, and forgive me - - Iím even less amusing than usual as I write this on Friday night, and in one of those moods where you question everything. Well, at least the Ambercoats and Pickens County Polytechnic are close to one another. And boy, have they both been horrid this season.
Closer examination, though, reveals that the Buzzers have actually (and it doesnít please me to admit this) almost been playing nearly good basketball of late. In their last nine, since January 29, they have (a) lost by two in a village of Newton and Brookline; (b) lost by one in a loud arena in the middle of nowhere (sorry, J.J.; I still love ya) filled with screaming hicks you wouldnít expect to meet at a gas station; (c) suffered a blowout home loss to Miami (FL); (d) lost by one in TeeHee - - hey, wow, thatís amazing!!! Attendance that night was probably about four grand below capacity, if that; (e) beaten an itinerant band of lupine mercenaries receiving advice from an idiot; (f) lost to the Greatest Program in Recorded History by just! Seven! Points (!!!); (g) lost at Shillcast by only three; (h) given away a game to listless Duke; and (i) beaten Wake easily. Thatís not a bad run, actually.
To add more confusion, Clemson has won three of four, including an annihilation of RoadVirginia, and the lone loss was to . . . Weak? Yes. It was Weak. And it was weak.
Itís Senior Day for Robinson, Akingbala (whoís the reverse of one of those tenth-year juniors Iím always talking about; didnít this guy just show up?? Heís not even a juco, since no one takes jucos anymore - - have you noticed that?), and funnyman Steve Allen. Whether or not that has any bearing on the potential crowd behavior of the typical individuals who attend Clemson University home basketball games is beyond my comprehension and/or ability to discuss intelligently.
Look, I have no idea, folks. Sorry. Iím going with the Tiggers because theyíre at home and blew out Virginia, although I have a feeling that the latter entry will soon be populating a few other curricula vitae near you.
Clemson 67, Georgia Tech 61.
Clemson 65, Georgia Tech 59.
#22 NORTH CAROLINA STATE (21-7, 10-5) @ WAKE FOREST (14-15, 2-13)
Since we just had a Duke loss, many existential ponderings about the trials of being a Blue Devil fan are floating around. Mine are mostly limited to the fact that we should have six (1998, 1999, 2004) or at least five (1999, 2004 - - okay, maybe Stanford would have beaten us, although Utah sure as heck wasnít going to) national titles instead of three, and that everyone plays out of their minds against us but lies down for the Tools, no matter how good the Tools are in any given season. The lack of a bench is just a given at this point. So, all in all, thatís not really too much to complain about. Being a Duke fan is really rather fun.
To drive home this point, imagine that you are a North Carolina State fan. Your paid consultant is a personality-free, weird-looking dope who canít adjust anything other than his tie during a game to save his life and absolutely cannot engineer a win over your teamís archrival for love or money. Your best player in the last ten years was a complete fluke recruit (and remember, I liked Julie - - he was semi-dirty in an amusing, mostly harmless, Dahntay Jones kind of way). This season, youíre relying on this bizarre system that everyone has figured out - - but youíre, um, still relying on it. And itís been a week since you last played, which, for purposes of this Subordinated Loan Agreement and Promissory Note (whoops - - cut and paste error - - sorry!), shall mean ďhad UNC-CH and BC politely and safely escort you to school.Ē
Now *that* has got to be frustrating.
Iím still looking for a definitive update on those ridiculous Tie Dye Contracts. Iím sure you heard the pantwettingly hysterical story that WFU has been quietly reselling seats in that section, many of which have been emptier than K-Fedís noggin for about the last month and a half, to Winston-Salem residents. And while we all wait breathlessly for confirmation on that, it reminds me of something goofy that I read recently, claiming that Winston is chock full of Tool fans. Well - - like, how? I mean, yeah, itís part of the State of North Carolina, so there are Tool fans around. But this article or whatever it was seemed to imply that Winston-Salem has more Tool fans than your average North Carolina community. Having lived there for nearly three years, Iím pretty sure thatís totally wrong. Now CHARLOTTE is absolutely lousy with Tool fans - - theyíre everywhere, mostly because itís the largest city in the state, and attracts a lot of UNC-CH grads who donít feel like living in the Triangle, but also because the Charlotte 49ers are not a huge draw, rightly or wrongly (wrongly, I think - - the arena is beautiful and theyíre well-coached, but C-USA left Mecklenburg County denizens cold). Fayetteville has Humveeloads of Tool fans. Goldsboro too, and Smithfield. All of the southern area of the state through which United States Highway 74 runs is also packed with Soiled Pedestrian partisans. Raleigh, unsurprisingly, and Orange County, even less surprisingly. Wilmington, mostly because of Jordan. Greensboro isnít really filled to the brim with Tool fans, and neither is Asheville, nor Boone. High Point is. New Bern is. Chatham, Randolph, Lee, and Moore Counties are. But Winston? I may be completely off base, but I donít think so - - Tim Duncan got a lot of locals interested in the home team.
So, to sum up, you have me digressing brazenly, and a daffy squad with no rudder meeting one of its Pre-Swoffie Big Four partners, itself having pretty much its worst season since Bob Staak ďpatrolledĒ the sidelines. Sounds like a fun weekend, or some mind-rending agony - - not sure which. I do know that a Wake Forest win here is not going to surprise me in the slightest. Remember, itís Senior Day for Colonial Viper Pilot, Williams, Strickland, Not Dale, John Buck, Skip Prosser, and Wakeís basketball program for the next five to six seasons. And never mind who John Buck is. If I signed a contract to wear a silly shirt that had nothing to do with my school and was required to attend games, and if I smelled blood in the Wade Avenue water (set your watches!), Iíd probably go to this one. And I am sorry, State fans.
Wake Forest 78, North Carolina State 77.
Wake Forest 75, North Carolina State 73.
#13 NORTH CAROLINA-CHAPEL HILL (20-6, 11-4) @ #1 DUKE (27-2, 14-1)
And first up, the officiating. Guess what? Iím not going to complain about it. Why would I? Thereís a business book out there, or so I was told at some strategy session, containing a concept entitled ďbeating the referees.Ē The idea, apparently, is a logical one, and uses an attention-grabbing, nut-punching (this was a Wake Forest menís basketball allusion that was added in) sports metaphor to drive home the point: namely, that in order to succeed, you have to be not just good enough to win, but also good enough to overcome anything that might be thrown at you by factors - - perhaps in the form of changes in the law or actions taken by regulatory agencies, but also your competitors, unexpected developments in your field, et cetera - - that are wholly outside of your control. In this way, you ensure your success, because youíre not just prepared to win, youíre prepared, if necessary, to ďbeat the refereesĒ as well. Now, let me just add that some people - - Enron, anyone? - - take this ďbeating the refereesĒ thing a little too far. But itís still a good concept, and itís useful, IN SOME CASES, to take it and apply it back to the milieu from which the metaphor originated.
At this point, in order to succeed, the players and coaches of the Duke University Blue Devils menís basketball team have to be prepared not just to win, but to beat the referees. They have to be good enough to win not just on their own merits, but also good enough to overcome the toilet-level officiating that defines the Atlantic Coast Conference. Every team in the ACC does, not just Duke - - but as far as a quick check of the sports world indicates, Duke is the only school that is now in the highly ironic position of (possibly) suffering a backlash by the officials because of the instantaneous, nationwide infestation of the ludicrous idea that the officials were favoring Duke in the first place. Which they werenít.
On Wednesday night, Duke wasnít good enough to beat Florida State, and they certainly werenít good enough to overcome the typically poor officiating found in any ACC game, not just those involving Duke. Did the officials call too many fouls on Duke and too few on Florida State? In my opinion, probably they did. I noted several times when Shelden, Nelson, and Melchionni committed the violation of illegal use of the breeze to stop a defender, and were promptly whistled for it. Fair? Not really. And if Doug Gottlieb, who is certainly no rabid pro-Duke commentator, given that Duke ended his collegiate career, says that Duke got homered, there might be something to that. Gottlieb *is* a very smart guy, without a doubt.
But guess what? Florida State drove to the basket. Duke didnít. That creates foul disparities. And whatís more, Duke had the game won anyway, and failed to convert down the stretch. The missed front ends of one-and-ones by Lee and DeMarcus were killers, and I didnít get some some of the playcalling or shot selection in the last four minutes, either. Look, FSU wanted this game, they needed this game, and Duke can be accused, really, of neither. They didnít need it and they didnít play like they much wanted it, they didnít shoot well, Josh McRoberts didnít accomplish a great deal, Greg Paulus played poorly, J.J. Redick shot the ball 28 times for whatever reason, Sean is playing with essentially one hand, the A/TO ratio was an abhorrent 12/17, and all of that adds up to a road loss in what is - - typically, for games against Duke only - - one of the toughest home courts in the ACC. Without considering one thing about the officiating.
Weirdly, over the last three games, the 2004-2005 team has returned. Remember these guys? The defense was pretty good, and hardly anyone ever scored 80 against them, but the offense didnít usually get to 80 itself, making for some interesting, hard-fought contests featuring a lot of masonry. Now, I said that this development is weird, but itís not really that surprising, given that K has effectively kept the 2004-2005 team around all season - - minus Daniel Ewing. McRoberts is just totally inconsistent, and I donít get why. Paulus should not be playing the minutes that heís getting, and heís obviously burned out from, yes, all of those minutes. Against FSU, neither of those guys really contributed much of anything, and given Dockeryís limitations, it was mostly the J.J. & Shelden show, with a pretty good game by Nelson and two treys in three attempts by Melchionni thrown in (he was otherwise stat-free, with the exception of four personals and that miss at the line mentioned above, in 14 minutes). In other words, it was 2004-2005, only without Ewing. You know, I thought we had moved on from last season? The calendar says we did, and I know that Ewing wouldnít have left unless his hand was forced, by something like graduation and exhaustion of eligibility. So, why the reversion?
Well, you know the story about Boykin, Boateng, and Pocius, of course. Itís beyond explanation at this point. Iím sure they loved being the ďavoid the sort-of forfeitĒ sacrificial lambs to the crazed crowd at the end, too - - hey, itís all about relationships, right? Let me clarify that statement by saying that I donít have a problem with K evacuating the starters from what was a despicably negligent lack of security by TLCCCCCCCC and local law enforcement officials. But, frankly, if he was going to do that, I think he probably should have pulled the whole team. Can you imagine how Marty, for example, must have felt? This was a complicated situation and K made his decision, which was certainly partially right, in a very short time without the opportunity to reflect, but if Iíd been in the same uncomfy circumstance, I think I might have sent all of the players off the court, while making sure they shook hands with Len & the Limitations, as K in fact had them do. Swoffie probably would have fined Duke or something, and you know there would have been some huge national media outcry about K being a baby and so forth, but in my humble opinion, it was wrong to use the players who remained on the court in a way that perhaps diminished their feelings. I will point out, though, in rebuttal to my own point, that K, who is no coward, stayed on the floor, as did the coaching staff. I just think I would have sent the whole team to the showers for the last 1.7 and stayed out there with my assistants. Some things transcend basketball. In sum, I think K got it mostly right, but I wish that he hadnít left those five guys on the court.
A few more words about the security - - if you didnít already think that Len Hamilton was an idiot, all you needed to hear were his thoughts on the crowd rushing the court when time clearly remained on the clock. Using Lenís Logic, since heís never heard of anyone getting hurt when fans rush the court, he really had no problem with it. Len, youíre a frigging moron. Congrats on the Super Bowl.
Itís too bad that J.J. took 28 shots to score 30 points, but itís not like anyone else, apart from Shelden, was really stepping up, so I sort of find it hard to blame J.J. And yes, heís tired. Everyone on the team is. Hereís the good news: since the ACC Tournament and Dukeís first two scheduled NCAA games are going to be in Greensboro, the team effectively doesnít have to do any real traveling for three weeks, and then, assuming, of course, that the Blue Devils make the Sweet Sixteen, itís only off to Atlanta or Washington, almost certainly. Very good news, and I bet weíll see a fresher Duke team tonight as a result of being at home for a few days now, and knowing full well that reduced travel awaits.
The Toolsí success this season is admirable and canít be denied, but, in all honesty, the schedule was very, very, very favorable - - remember that Duke took a three-game road trip, two two-game road trips, and played two consecutive ACC home games exactly once. The Twinks never took a three-game road trip, one of their two-game road trips, of two in all, involved driving to Winston-Salem and then playing in Raleigh, and they managed to get two consecutive ACC home games on two occasions. They also did not have to go to Boston, which is fairly significant given that the Dew Drop Fairies beat them in the DumpDome, 81-74. Iíd accuse someone of generating a schedule that favored UNC-CH, but then, Iíd sound like some wacky conspiracy theorist, also known these days as ďanyone who hates Duke.Ē By the way, before I forget, massive kudos to Mike Patrick and Vitale for saying that they were ďsickĒ of the Conspiracy and didnít ďwant to hearĒ about it anymore. I tease both of these guys, but I like Patrick because he tells it like it is far more often than most commentators these days. Heís not Sean McDonough in this respect, but he and Vitale made their welcome remarks very strongly, and it was nice to hear.
So, the Tools have really been coddled by that schedule of theirs. Add in the fact that NCSU is just totally inept when facing them, no matter what, Sweaty and his nonsense, Miamiís collapse, Virginiaís collapse, and Iím not sure how impressive the Dirty Footmenís streak of six straight wins really is. Georgia Tech gave them the best game in the string - - everyone else just waved the white flag.
Interestingly, I think this will lead to a bit of an overconfident bunch on Saturday night. Hey, no oneís come anywhere near them in almost a month; Iíd be pretty pumped up if I were them, and given how young they are, they might just take it too far. Iím pretty certain that some InsideCryolina posters, always ready to clamber up or down a few notches on the bandwagon ladder at a momentís notice, are viewing their team as the favorite tonight. Heh. And, again, can you blame them? (This is a trick question.)
I expected Hansbag to struggle against Shelden the first time around, and I expect it again, all the more so if Shelden can stay away from foul trouble. That flash out to the high post - - is it ever going to end? Guess not; oh well. David Noel, however, should have lit Duke up in the first meeting, and didnít, and honestly, given that heís playing in his hometown against a school that (wrongly) didnít give him the time of day in its recruiting efforts, I would not be shocked by a huge effort from him tonight.
One thing that militates heavily in Dukeís favor is the defense of the three, because North Carolina (hey - - common name usage alert!!) has been beating people, or running up the score very high, anyway, by making a lot of threes. Although Duke has not been at its best since the Miami game in Durham, defense of the three has remained strong, and the backcourt of the Tools just does not match up well with Dukeís. Contrary to my usual views, in this game I think a zone would probably be a mistake; better to stay in the faces of the Twinksí perimeter players, especially as regards Miller and, when they go outside, Terry and Noel. I didnít read Bilasí preview, but I bet he claimed that UNC-CH will use some purported size advantage inside, because Iíve heard this elsewhere. However, if Josh McRoberts has a good game, there is no such size advantage. Redick and/or DeMarcus are just going to have to guard Noel as best as they can manage - - and this was handled pretty well in Chapel Hill - - and someone, like McRoberts, is going to have to stay with Terry when he starts roaming. Heck, maybe some sort of ďjunkĒ defense is a good idea, because Noel and Terry are definitely going to try to beat defenders off the dribble up high. McRoberts was pretty amazing in that first game on both ends of the floor, although he racked up too many fouls, partly enabling the Toolsí comeback and lead assumption. Luckily, if Dockery can play more than the minutes that heís been seeing recently as he struggles with his sore wrist, Green and Frasor should be pretty well contained - - assuming also that Paulus can mount half of a defensive effort. Frasor and Miller had ten apiece, and Green six, in the first meeting. Dockery and DeMarcus are the keys to this one, folks - - although if J.J. bounces back into form, and/or Shelden has a monster game (remember, he was only 3-9 for 13 points in Artificial Noise Arena), the Tools may simply be overwhelmed by what I presume will be an absolutely excellent Cameron crowd. Thereís one more factor, too: Duke has really improved its rebounding of late, and without the ridiculous 2-to-1 (42 to 21, to be exact) rebounding margin that the Soiled Pedestrians enjoyed on their home wood, they would have been blown out. I donít think that rebounding disparity is going to show up again.
Someone commented this week (donít you love how I just donít bother with attribution lately - - itís rude!) that every game between UNC-CH and Duke is different in some brand-new way. I agree. In this one, by all rights, the brand-new twist ought to be Duke making some adjustments, some people stepping up, maybe a little zone, maybe a little bench, maybe a little rebounding and shooting, and if Duke fans get all of that, on Senior Night for J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Sean Dockery, Lee Melchionni, Patrick Johnson, and Ross Perkins, the outcome of this one should please all of us. Thank you, seniors!! And how. Let's see.
Duke 85, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 79.
Duke 89, North Carolina-Chapel Hill 83.
FLORIDA STATE (18-8, 8-7) @ MIAMI (FL) (15-13, 7-8)
Florida State obviously improved their NCAA resume with that win on Wednesday night, of course, while the HurryClowns have dropped five of six and have no NCAA shot unless they win this game and two in Greensboro. As before when these two teams played in TeeHee, I must admit that I like the Florida rivalry. It rounds out the conference nicely to have Miami involved, not only because the Clowns, despite their late struggles, seem to be on the right track for building a program, but because it legitimizes FSU as an ACC basketball school to have a natural rival. For those reasons, I have no problem with the CandyCaners being in the league, while I wish the Hokies would sink into the La Brea Tar Pits, and have honestly had enough of the Sugar Plum Fairies after less than one season.
Back to Florida State. Too bad they, like everyone else, treat Duke games as their Super Bowl - - without that idiotic loss to Virginia Tech immediately preceding the Duke ďupset,Ē which was a mild upset at best, theyíd be 9-6 and coming very close to an NCAA lock. Nevertheless, theyíre still in pretty good shape, although I think they probably have to win this game to make certain. There will be heavy pressure on the Spetsnaz to take five ACC teams, and if thereís one silver lining about the oh-so-predictable loss suffered by the Blue Devils at Dandy Don Coliseum, itís that UMCP probably saw its NCAA chances go out the window - - no way that *six* ACC teams get in this season. Right? I donít see it.
So, this is Senior Day for Hite, spare part Gary Hamilton, and three lesser lights. Tough game to call; since Len has no control over his team, the crowd, his bladder, his whining, or anything else, FSU could very well show up at the Convo and lay a huge egg while allowing Diazhiteis to score about 65 to 70 points, and, well, lose. Itís the reverse of looking past an opponent - - thatís what Iím sensing here. However, since Miami has been so terrible lately, you canít predict that. And by ďyou,Ē I mean me. You can do whatever you want. Itís (checking the online news stories quickly to make sure - - ummmmm, yes!) a free country.
Florida State 80, Miami (FL) 78.
Florida State 77, Miami (FL) 69.
MARYLAND, COLLEGE PARK (17-11, 7-8) @ VIRGINIA (14-12, 7-8)
Sweaty just had to stick it to me, I guess - - whenever I write off this sickening clown, he comes right back with an improbable win, keeping his fleeting NCAA hopes flickering. On Senior Night for No One Can Beat Me, Not Even You, You Maine Cops, Felonis Garrison, and Bedwetter, the Perspiroids turned in an arresting performance and defeated Frank Haithís ludicrously reeling Miami squad. Uh, Frank? The NIT on line three. I knew it was over when the Hurryclowns lost to the Tools, but I thought they would beat Scaryland, at least. Not so fast!
It is also proper to raise a question about the number of free throws shot in this game. As we have all learned over the past six weeks or so, a massive conspiracy exists to shower Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke Blue Devils with favorable personal foul calls, in a conference administrated by the might-as-well-still-be UNC-CH athletic director.
Hereís what I donít get. Want to know why Maryland won this game, in case you were watching some contemporaneous litigation on another network? To quote from the Associated Press recap, ď[t]he Terrapins made only nine baskets in the second half but went 16-for-20 at the foul line and finished 23-for-28. Miami, in contrast, made only eight free throws in 13 attempts.Ē Hey, thatís weird. So, wait - - does this shadowy network of operatives with the power to cloud the minds of stalwarts like Les Jones, swarthy runt Mike Wood, and feral nightbeast Duke Edsall ALSO favor UMCP???? If so, I am abashed!! I mean, that aspect of The Conspiracy hasnít worked out real well this season. If not, maybe some teams just get more aggressive toward the basket in certain games, generating free throw attempt disparities.
I wonder. Quite thought-provoking! Iím sure Swoffie will order an immediate investigation of this situation. Or down a donut.
You have to hand it to Virginia, because they sure canít catch it. After all, there is nothing that impresses the Selectostiffs like dropping back-to-back stretch run games by 26 and 45 points, while mustering a robust scoring average of 59.0 ppg. I think it is safe to say that the Hos have hit the wall - - if you pull out their depeckering of Longwood, the Cravs have lost four of six. But, on an even weirder note, one of those wins was that semi-thrashing of the Nutcracker - - which led me to believe that Virginia was possibly headed to the NCAAs, despite a lack of OOC credentials. Never mind any of that noise, eh?
Remember the last time that Sweatyís Squadron needed a win over Virginia to cement its NCAA Tournament credentials? I do - - I was there, covertly infiltrating Marylandís Unnecessary New Arena, sort of like Gandalf checking out the Necromancerís hideout in Dol Guldur, for you Tolkien fans who read the books as well as watched the movies. (Did you ever wonder how Gandalf slipped in unnoticed, and how he learned who the Necromancer really was? Too bad, quite understandably, that there wasnít room for that sort of thing in the movies.) Ay, but hereís the rub - - and thatís not a Longwood joke - - this game is at UFO Hall, and itís the last game there ever!! Before the NIT. Hmmm. Senior Day, too, eh? Yeah - - for Billy Campbell. How did this sneering, Andrew Shue-ďactedĒ Melrose Place tenant get on to UVaís roster? I donít know, but Iím guessing that Who fans wonít be showering him with a huge outpouring of affection. However, Leitforameeting should probably start him, because Virginiaís lack of depth is catching up with it quite rapidly. T.J. Bannister should have shirted - - his junior year is reminding me of Chris Collinsí, in that both of them admirably, yet unwisely, came back and played through crippling injuries. (Imagine Dukeís 1996-1997 team with Collins on it. Itís a fun thought.) Diane Lane and Mikalauskas have shown themselves to be totally limited offensively, Soroye is execrable, and with Cain apparently wearing down, thereís only so much that J.R. Singlejoseph can do.
I donít know - - I imagine that Sweaty thinks he can sneak into the NCAAs with a win here, and given that his team has the rap sheet-sporting veterans, and UVa has the tired underclassmen recently showing up on the business end of embarrassing blowouts, I bet the Drops get it. Then we can all enjoy the Sweaty BubbleWatch in Greensboro, where UMCP partisans (a scarce group this season) will make the lame case that a win over Arkansas and a win over Boston College, and thatís it, nothing else, gets you into the NCAAs at 8-8 in the ACC. It doesnít. Or it shouldnít.
Maryland, College Park 78, Virginia 74.
Maryland, College Park 75, Virginia 68.
Last Edition: Rob 2-3 (0.400) Matt 3-2 (0.600) Guest 0-0 (0.000) This Season: Rob 80-31 (0.721) Matt 77-34 (0.694) Guests 25-19 (0.568) TD in Guest Editions 52-34 (0.605)