Wednesday, February 25, 2009

game preview: Miami

So the lax team went out and did its thing again last night. After peppering Stony Brook with 62 shots, Mt. St. Mary's got the same treatment as the team racked up another 60. Garrett Billings, fresh off a record-tying goal-scoring performance at Stony Brook, didn't score at all and took only four shots. Chad Gaudet won 11 of 16 faceoffs, which is pretty excellent stuff, but like I said earlier, I'll get excited after I see how we do at Syracuse. That should be a great game and I'm looking forward to watching it and....oh. Right - it's not televised. Well, that's awesome. When I turn my TV to channel 134 on Friday night, Siena vs. Niagara will be on. I know its basketball season, and it's great to give a little exposure to a team like Siena which is quietly having a fine season, but what does ESPNU exist for if not to broadcast the marquee matchup of the year of the #1 and #2 teams in what is arguably the East Coast's most popular non-revenue sport?

Preview time, anyway. Basketball, that is.

Virginia Cavaliers (9-14, 3-9) vs. Miami Hurricanes (16-10, 5-8)

Possible starting lineups:


PG: Sammy Zeglinski (9.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.5 apg)
SG: Calvin Baker (7.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.6 apg)
SF: Sylven Landesberg (18.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F: Solomon Tat (0.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 0.3 apg - but mad hustle, yo)
C: Assane Sene (2.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg)


G: Jack McClinton (20.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)
G: James Dews (8.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F: Brian Asbury (7.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.3 apg)
F: Dwayne Collins (11.0 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.5 apg)
C: Jimmy Graham (3.7 ppg, 6.1 apg, 0.6 apg)

Hope we like the number 11, because we're just about locked into that seed for the ACC tournament. Georgia Tech isn't going to run the table, and we're not bloody likely to overtake Miami or NC State, even with a win tomorrow night. For now, that means an opening-round game against Boston College.

Anyway, you and I both know about Dave Leitao's wackity rotations, with rhyme and reason not always clear. If he wants to continue baffling UVA fans and changing things up, this would be a great time to reinsert Jerome Meyinsse. You remember him - he got minutes all the way up until the BC game (the no-subs-in-the-second-half one) and inexplicably played 20+ in a few games without much indication as to why. Since then he hasn't sniffed the court.

Miami, however, has a whole bunch of guys that measure up between 6'7" and 6'9" and weigh 230 pounds or more. More so than most teams, and certainly more than us. Lord only knows how many minutes Mike Scott is going to get from game to game - he hasn't been in the starting lineup lately - and Jamil Tucker is 6'8" 240 and plays like he's 6'3" 215. We tried the small-and-quick thing against NC State's bigger guys and it failed miserably. We're gonna get run over by Miami's bigs - Graham, McGowan, Collins, Thomas, Asbury - if we can't run out some size of our own. Given the matchups, Meyinsse would be a good candidate to get some of these minutes that have been going to Solomon Tat lately.

The other problem we're going to have is Jack McClinton, who leads the league in threes made and shoots them at almost 48%. Of late we've done a good job at limiting our own three attempts, which is nice because we suck at shooting them. What concerns me is that when you combine a hot hand for the opponent, and a bunch of big guys defending that don't let you into the lane, the temptation is to launch away and hope for the best. Bottom line: I don't like the way we match up with these guys, and I think the best chance we have is to press, turn defense into transition offense, and generally run the floor and try to do everything faster than they do. Because we're going to get killed if it turns into a halfcourt game.

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