Saturday, January 31, 2009

game preview: DOOM

Virginia Cavaliers (7-9, 1-4) at Duke Blue Devils (18-2, 5-1)

Possible starters:


PG: Sammy Zeglinski (9.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.5 apg)
SG: Calvin Baker (8.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.7 apg)
SF: Sylven Landesberg (17.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 2.5 apg)
PF: Mike Scott (11.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 0.8 apg)
C: Assane Sene (3.3 ppg, 5.5 ppg, 0.5 apg)


PG: Nolan Smith (10.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SG: Jon Scheyer (13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.7 apg)
SF: Gerald Henderson (14.8 ppg, 5.1 apg, 2.1 apg)
PF: Kyle Singler (16.8 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.9 apg)
C: Brian Zoubek (6.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.7 apg)

Oh goody.

The only team in the conference with a losing record on the season takes three freshmen in the starting lineup to visit the #1 team in the nation in the loudest, nastiest arena in the country just after the host team loses a squeaker for their first conference loss of the season.

If that doesn't sound like the storyline for a game where the margin of victory would come as no surprise no matter how massive, then there will never be another blowout again in the history of basketball. 30? 40? 50? Would it surprise you if we lost 90-20? Me neither.

As much as we all like seeing Duke knocked down a peg by losing at Wake Forest this week, it probably only served to motivate them. Last time Duke lost, they had finals week to stew over it, then blasted UNC-Asheville by 43 points, their largest margin of victory all year. Yeah, OK, that was a mid-major team, and do you think that really matters? Lest you forget, the two guys who will handle the ball the most for us - Zeglinski and Landesberg - are playing their first game in front of the Cameron Crazies. None of this bodes well.

Here's what'll happen: someone for us will have a decent game. We'll get some points from somewhere - mostly in the second half when Duke lets off the gas. Problem is, you never know who's going to have a good game from one to the next. Maybe Zeglinski shoots 2 for 13 but Tucker gets 14 points. Maybe Zeglinski passes up the shots to Baker who misses all of them, but Farrakhan finds his range from three-land. A game following eight games of practice would normally be a great time to put it all together, but the scheduling gods decided what a funny joke it would be to have the least winnable game possible at the end of that stretch. If this was a home game against, say, Georgia Tech or NC State, I might be pretty confident about this. Instead we've spent this last week stewing over the blowouts at either end of it.

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