Unemployment is funemployment. CBS's partnership with the Turnerplex of cable channels to broadcast the Dance couldn't have come at a better time for me. I've always wanted a job that would allow me to watch the first round of the tournament from noon to midnight; failing that, the next best thing is not having a job while waiting for grad school. So if you thought I was a little content-light these four days, blame the best basketball weekend of the year.
We might not have had a dog in the fight, but that doesn't mean there's no hoops news to be had:
- With Sidney Lowe and Paul Hewitt fired from their respective employers, ACC coaching figures to improve next season. One expects NC State won't be stupid enough this time around to hire a guy who went 79-228 in the League just because he's an alum. Naturally, Richmond's Chris Mooney and VCU's Shaka Smart have only not been hired somewhere else yet because they happen to still be technically eligible for the national title. Because it's how things go for UVA, expect both instate coaching hotshots to be ACC rivals about 24 hours after their eventual elimination. Maybe we can get Utah to hire one of them instead.
- How incredibly fitting that Jeff Allen fouled out of his final collegiate game. I will truly miss this guy. Comedic gold, every time. Gimme one more salute, for old times' sake.
There ya go.
- Speaking of comedic gold, I wish just once I could hear Charles Barkley and Bobby Knight call a UVA game. Barkley's not for everyone; there are a lot of people who think he's too much of a marblemouth. Well, he is a marblemouth, but how many analysts do we need telling us very seriously that such-and-such a team needs to defend better or else they might lose? Barkley doesn't act like Mr. Serious Man all the time.
- You're aware that the administration passed on the CBI; here, it sounds like confirmation that they could have had a spot if they'd wanted it. If they didn't go this year, when the freshmen could have used any game experience they got and the seniors had to go out with the memory of Miami in their minds, I'm guessing they never ever will. Dunno about you but in the future I'm going to just assume the CBI is never an option.
In sports we play good, the lax team beat Ohio State, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy. OSU is something of a threat this year to make the tournament - more so than I had them figured for before the season anyway - so the win should be a strong one when it comes time to seed teams in the tournament. See below for current bracketology, which has the Buckeyes seeded 7th.
Even more encouraging was Ryan Benincasa's 14-for-19 faceoff performance. I think this is evolving into a situation where there still might not be a truly 100% reliable performer at the X (Chris LaPierre looked like he might provide a spark there but then went 1-for-5 against OSU) but there might be a hot hand for the day. I guess we just hope we find that hot hand early in the game. It should be noted that OSU isn't an especially good or bad faceoff team themselves - they're just enh.
There still aren't as many assists as I'd like to see, though. Again just 50%. This isn't a problem against the OSUs of the world, and probably won't be one against Hopkins either, but the ACC schedule will test the offense's ability to score against coherent defenses.
The standings don't show it, but they will: UVA is now the ACC's baseball team to beat. A 2-1 series win over FSU puts them at 5-1. Miami and Georgia Tech are 6-0 but they've both been feasting on the dregs. It's UVA's turn, with Miserable Maryland coming to town and then a road series against VT. Poly was a hot team last year to make some noise, but everyone who could swing a stick or throw a ball graduated and they're back to where they're thoroughly unlikely to make the ACC tournament.
Of course, play that FSU series again and any number of outcomes could result. Three extra-inning games and three one-run margins. You probably won't see a series that close anywhere in the country for the rest of the year. FSU had better keep playing that well all season because I expect a 1 or a 2 seed in the ACC tournament and they'd better not be on our side of the pool. This should make for a pretty excellent championship rematch. GT is a threat to mess that up, but I think it's been well-established for now who the top teams are. FSU barely even dropped in the rankings, but the consensus now in all five polls is that Florida-Vanderbilt-Virginia is the 1-2-3 combo.
It shouldn't be glossed over that Danny Hultzen is now UVA's all-time strikeouts leader. 12 on Friday (and no walks) gives him 62 for the season and 292 for his career, two more than Seth Greisinger. Danny's got a great chance to top the single-season record of 146 before the regular season even ends.
Been a long time since I took a whack at the recruiting board, so here goes. Also, don't forget the map.
- Removed ATH Germone Hopper, LB Timothy Cole, and LB Devon Johnson from red, who don't seem too interested. At some point the red section becomes full of names who are there just for the sake of having a red section, but for now even that section has realistic names in it. Actually, Johnson may return at some point, but he's committed to Marshall, and there ain't room for everyone in this town. There's adding to be done and someone's gotta go and it might as well be the guy who's given a verbal elsewhere.
- Added CB Terrell Burt, ATH Der'Woun Greene, WR Desmond Frye, and TE Joshua Parris to green.
- Added DT Roderick Chungong, LB Noor Davis, and LB Kaiwan Lewis to yellow.
- Moved LB Trey Edmunds from yellow to green.
- Moved QB Brendan Nosovitch from green to yellow.
- Moved LB Quanzell Lambert from red to yellow.
- Moved RB I'Tavius Mathers and OL Greg Pyke from yellow to red.
- Moved ATH Devin Fuller (whose recruitment has exploded since I last checked in) from green to red.
Tis the season for a huge recruiting board. I'm semi-arbitrarily drawing the line there; no more additions without corresponding subtractions.