Thursday, February 19, 2009

unbridled optimism

OK, so that, last night, that was fun. A good time was had by all, unless you're a Turkie fan, in which case a good time was not had and you spent today complaining about one of two things: Jim Weaver's iron fist, or how that doesn't matter because the Hokies looked so bad they'd have lost with Jeff Allen on the court anyway.

I'm of the theory that that's bunk, by the way. I'd like to say we outplayed them so badly that Shaq himself wouldn't have made a difference on that court, but the fact is Allen is the only inside option they have. Oh sure, they have big guys. They're not exactly Maryland, which literally can't put so much as a 6'8"-er out on the court without it being useless-ass Braxton Dupree. Tech's Cheick Diakite tried valiantly and had probably his best game of the season, but our freakishly tall African centers are taller than their freakishly tall African center, and there are more of them, and by their powers combined they are better. Lewis Witcher and Victor Davila qualify as big, but Witcher is skinny and Seth Greenberg trusts them so much they each saw single-digit minutes and missed all their shots, which between them added up to three. After Allen, the interior cupboard is pretty much bare. Make no mistake - we were lucky to miss him.

I don't care, though. Beating Tech means the season is officially not a waste. Whatever happens the rest of the way, at least there's that. It feels goooooooooooood, and even better that it happened with some authority, and even better that this team has clearly not given up on this season, is enjoying itself on the court, and playing some damn ball instead of waiting out the season. Full marks to Dave Leitao for that, which I think is due in no small part at all to his stunt against Boston College which kept a select five players out on the court for the entire second half. It sent the message that if you aren't going to play aggressive and hard and hustle for the ball and all that jazz, you're not going to play, and if your personality is too laid-back to play aggressive, then you better adapt. The team responded.

The rest of the season looks very doable. Barring another upset of Clemson, or one of Wake Forest, the best-case scenario looks like 3-2 over the last five games. This makes it a real shame that we spent six consecutive first halves with heads up asses because even two more wins than we have now would give us an excellent shot at finishing .500 in the ACC. (It's funny how two wins is all it takes to change us from meltdown mode to playing the coulda-woulda-shoulda game, which counts as unbridled optimism this year.) Anyway, the last two games this month, NC State and Miami, give us a great shot at a proper winning streak. It turns out that it's really fun putting a giant dent in Tech's tournament hopes, so I'm hoping for the chance in the ACC tournament to do it again to someone else.

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