Monday, May 10, 2010

weekend (p)review

It was a pretty silent weekend, at least at the traditional venues. Because of final exams, activity at Davenport and Klockner was limited to local wildlife. The church bells rang, and the selection committee buzzed with activity, but the weekend produced very little we didn't already know would happen. (Thank God.) So this weekend review is more of a preview of the future.

The lacrosse team can expect more of the same for the next week. We haven't heard a single word out of any of the players, and for that, cheers to the coaches and admin. I don't know how you'd concentrate on finals with all of this going on, let alone with a microphone in the face. The media will be at it anyway, though, and their reactions range from the classy to the moronic.**

As for the tournament bracket itself, well, it's mostly what I expected, except that I managed to get all of two out of eight matchups exactly right, and that's only if you count me hedging my bets on Mount St. Mary's beating Siena. (I did nail the top seven seeds, though - again if you count the alternate prediction in the Ivy championship game.)

I'm surprised as hell about Georgetown being left out, though - I did have 15 of the 16 teams right and only missed Notre Dame - and frankly it's stupid. I imagine the reason Notre Dame is in is because of their marquee win over Duke. But if that's the reason, then there's no excuse for Hopkins, who didn't manage to beat anyone. You have to apply two completely different sets of criteria to leave out Georgetown in favor of both Hopkins and Notre Dame.

But that is them, and this is us. The tournament draw means that barring upsets, UVA will have already played every tournament opponent this season. Rematches tend to favor the loser, but the #1 seed has its privileges: under normal circumstances, there should be nothing preventing a return trip to the Final Four, this time in Baltimore. The MSM game earlier this season was a relatively easy win in which Adam Ghitelman gave way to his backups in the fourth quarter. Get to Baltimore and a likely rematch with Duke or UNC awaits.

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The baseball team's future is plenty bright as well. For starters, they are the lockiest of locks to finish in the RPI's top 8. Thanks to a finishing schedule that includes RPI #29 UNC and #9 Miami, all it should take is one win in the next seven to finish in the RPI top 8; that is the best outlook in the country. RPI isn't the be-all, end-all of tournament seeding - if we don't finish strong enough, Tim Weiser will probably find an excuse to ship us to Guam as a regional 3 seed - but eight is an important number because the top eight national seeds get to host both a regional and a super-regional.

UNC scares nobody this year, and Miami's 18-6 ACC record (tied with UVA at the moment) looks nice, but they haven't played the conference's two other best teams yet. Miami's still tough, though, and I think it can only be a healthy thing to have good competition as the last matchup before the ACC tournament. Said tournament, by the way, takes place Memorial Day weekend - the same as the lacrosse finals - and the NCAA regionals will be announced that Monday, the 31st.

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Circumstances being what they were, it's been a little bit of a while since the last time the recruiting board was updated. This has now been done, and I have:

- Moved OT Kelby Johnson to the orange section. Woot.

- Added CB Dominique Noble and S Kameron Mack to yellow.

That's basically it. May is an evaluation period, which means plenty of offering and not so much committing. Players will get added to the board, and few will come off. June is the month for the latter, as prospects go to camps at the different schools and a lot of them end up committing then and there.

**I debated linking this tripe at all, but I figured it needed a rebuttal. The basic point of it is that, according to the author, UVA should shut down the men's lacrosse team and......well, that's it, really. Just shut 'er down. No suggestions on what the university ought to do after that. I tried to find any and couldn't. The University, according to the author, "should" do the following:

- "Shut Down Lacrosse Program."
- "[cancel] the rest of the team's campaign, immediately, and at least [suspend] the coach"
- "[pull] their team from consideration by the tournament selection committee."
- "stop everything until it understands what role its oversight, or lack thereof, may have played in allowing the apparent unraveling of one of its students."

It doesn't say what should come after. Starsia should be suspended, apparently, until this whole murder thing is "all sorted out," as if that's some kind of a milestone to be reached. No helpful solutions like, I dunno, alcohol counseling, improved reporting of run-ins with the law, random drug testing, curfews, heavier punishments for alcohol-related incidents, or anything at all. Just shut down the team - that is literally the only point made in the entire article outside of "Duke did it" and "George Huguely had a record." It's a plan that sounds like it was concocted by underpants gnomes:

1. SHUT DOWN TEAM
2. ???
3. ALL SORTED OUT!

Any moron can tut-tut about "the culture of lacrosse" or "the lack of oversight," but do you know who has been the only person so far to offer anything even resembling a concrete plan of action? No, not an ink-stained asshole like Kevin Blackistone - John Casteen. And the moment he proposed his fairly simple idea, the reaction was "gee, that's tough, I dunno, maybe not a good idea, it's complicated." So I guess you see why writers don't bother. Too complicated. Just shutting down the season - that's a lot easier to justify before a deadline.

Besides that, it's pretty obvious Blackistone didn't think for one minute about the ramifications of such a decision. He calls the lacrosse team "a team ready to spin out of control." (Huguely is also referred to as "out of control," which has a really nice parallelist way of making it sound like the whole team is about to commence a killing spree. Nice, Blackistone.) Even though that's the dumbest thing ever, let's play make-believe and pretend it's true: imagine a lacrosse team teetering on the brink of total meltdown. They've just learned about the death of a close friend, and that another close friend is responsible, so between all the drugs, alcohol, the pressure of finals, and the murder, they're pretty much an emotional disaster at this point, if they even have any emotion left and haven't been reduced to cold alcoholic zombies, what with all the boozing and vandalism they apparently do. Pretend that Blackistone's imagination is borne out in reality.

Now take away their adult supervision indefinitely and the last reason they had to keep up even the pretense of sobriety.

Wow. Maybe you should have thought about that one a little bit, Mr. Pretentious Writer Man.

I'd like to think that rather than being a target for gratuitous potshots, both lacrosse teams - and especially the women - should be a sentimental favorite in the upcoming tournaments. It's one thing to suggest the team should stop playing out of respect for Yeardley Love or because they just might not want to play; it's another entirely to demand it because you think the actions of one of the players means they're all a bunch of out-of-control monsters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad you finished reading the Blackistone article, because it was so poorly written and thought out that I couldn't do it myself. Worst example of pointless "me too"-ism I can remember seeing in a long time.