Monday, March 22, 2010

director's cup update

Well, not officially. Not til Thursday. But they finished up all the championships that go into this update, so I did some back-of-the-envelope type numbercrunchinating, and came up with the following projected standings at the top:

Stanford - 555.5
Florida - 548
Penn State - 521.5
Virginia - 515
North Carolina - 457
Oregon - 454
Florida State - 448

Just rough pinscratch figuring, mind you, but the standings should be just about right and the numbers probably not much more than, say, plus-or-minus eight. In any case three things are pretty clearly true:

- UVA's not falling further than 4th in this update.
- Despite that, UVA actually made up ground on first place.
- That's as good as it gets for the winter. We should stay in the top ten at the final winter update but won't look much better than that, and may drop further.

There's 25 more points coming this way - that's what you get for losing in the first round of basketball tournaments. It sucks gonzo that the women's team decided to be the 5/12 victim in their tournament - it cost at least 25 points in the standings. Plus, the men's swim team should probably be good for another 70 or so.

Winter sports are not usually our strong point, but there's a lot that went right so far, despite the lady hoopsters' Green Bay fiasco:

- The lady swimmers grabbed ninth place at nationals. Lauren Perdue grabbed three top-eight finishes, and the team would have ended up eighth but for a DQ'd relay. Not a big DC points difference, though.

- The wrestlers took 15th at nationals, their best finish ever.

- Robby Andrews' national championship earned a 20th-place finish for the Hoos.

All are among the top finishes ever for the program - in wrestling's case, best ever. So with a likely top-ten finish after the winter sports wrap up and the really strong stuff - the spring sports with baseball, lacrosse, and tennis - coming up, is this the year, somebody (us, natch) knocks Stanford out of the #1 spot?

Uh, no. Keep in mind Stanford owns at sports we don't even participate in, like water polo. You only get to count 20 sports toward your Director's Cup standings and because of that, Stanford always has to leave off points in some of their sports. But, if our powerhouse teams don't stumble at the wrong times, a top-five is definitely attainable.


So speaking of the powerhouse teams, what did they do this weekend? Powerhoused, of course.

- Baseball swept Boston College, and in superdominating fashion. Game 2 only looked close because Kevin Arico, brought in to close out Robert Morey's gem, decided to make it interesting. The rotation absolutely killed the Eagles. In 21 total innings, Hultzen/Morey/ Winiarski gave up 10 hits and 2 earned runs. TWO. RUNS. Hultzen pitched eight of those innings and is a frickin' machine, as usual. Morey pitched seven and is a machine in training. Winiarski went six and probably extended his stay in the rotation til at least next week (I'd say it was probably do or die this weekend for him; there's only one weekday game and Roberts or Kline would be ready to go on Sunday if they had to be) and gave us reason to believe he can do a pretty good impression of a machine at times. We'll go as far this year as our pitchers can take us.

And the bullpen, outside of Arico who I'm really not worried about, was similarly sparkling. Not that the starters gave them much chance to work, but Halley, Davis, Wilson, and Mayberry didn't allow any runs at all. Mayberry had to work himself out of a little jam, but the nice thing about ten-run leads is they give the manager a lot of confidence in deciding to give his freshman pitcher more than enough rope to hang himself. Mayberry responded nicely, grew up a little bit, and the bullpen just got better.

Speaking of getting better, Halley's separated shoulder has done just that, as you might notice, and the bullpen has just gone from thin-looking to pretty damn robust. Get Halley and a looking-better-all-the-time Mayberry in the mix and suddenly Brian O'Connor has options and lots of them. I'd like to have another lefty in the pen, but Scott Silverstein can't stop getting hurt, so we have Neal Davis and that's it. Still, picky picky.

- Lacrosse didn't quite dominate the way they have the ability to, but hey: win's a win. The defense looks like it could really use Ryan Nizolek back, and took a lot of blame for letting Towson get closer than they probably should have. I say, throw this game on the pile with every football and basketball game we lost - the one labeled "sucky offense leads to sucky-looking defense." My take on lacrosse is: look, sooner or later, the other guys are gonna score, so you better be scoring too. The faceoff men were absolutely murdering Towson's in the first half, but when you turn it over eight times in a quarter, of course you're going to be losing.

Granted, there were at least three Towson goals that I can remember where I said to myself, hey, you got any clothespins? Cause we're hanging Ghitelman out to dry here. Like that third quarter goal where Lovejoy got burned on the restart. I mean, pay attention, dude. Lovejoy actually looked really good at times, but his mistakes were exceedingly visible.

Oh well. Guess it was nice that we could give Towson native Harry Prevas a start in Nizolek's absence. And it certainly speaks to our offensive talent that we can get 15 goals in a not-real-impressive showing. Yup, just another day at the office.


I suppose it wouldn't be UVA if I didn't have the chance to crap on your parade route a little bit and mix in some bad news with all the sunshine. The football team will be short one more player for the upcoming season without Riko Smalls, and the basketball team is losing - yeah, you guessed - Tristan Spurlock. Both had played similarly miniscule roles with their respective teams - Smalls, in fact, never appeared in a game - so it's largely just a lot of potential being lost. In Spurlock's case that potential is probably a lot more real than with Smalls, who was heir to the Keith Payne mantle of "player most wildly and unrealistically overrated by overexcited Hoo fans."

And in Spurlock's case especially, you have to at least tip your hat and wish him well. I don't know what things were like behind the scenes any more than you do, but Spurlock made an effort not to be a public distraction when he clearly was chafing at the bit to get in the games. And he wasn't recruited to play this system, he was recruited to be J.R. Reynolds reincarnate. He gave it a shot anyway - I don't think you can ask for much more.

Once we get the official word that Landesberg is out as well - and believe me, I'd like nothing more than to be wrong about that - then you may commence random and almost totally useless speculation about what Bennett's rotation will look like next year. Useless because we pretty much have no way of knowing which of the six freshmen will adapt best to the system; did you honestly expect Will Sherrill to see more than 10 minutes of total floor time all year, let alone start a few games?

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