Tuesday, February 14, 2012

preview bonanza continues

Spring preview bonanza rolls on.  Tonight is the Clemson game; ordinarily there'd be a full preview and everything but I already did one for the last Clemson game, so we're gonna cut that down to size.  The main differences:

- Milton Jennings is back for Clemson
- Joe Harris might be out for the Hoos
- It's on the road

Nobody's scared of the big bad road anymore.  The issues that plague this team have nothing to do with what gym the game is held in.  If Joey Hoops can't go, you have to assume that Malcolm Brogdon would slide into the starting lineup, and Pauly J would be in for a big jump in his minutes.  However.  Harris is technically a game-time decision, and that may be true, but my guess is the decision's more or less already been made.  "Game-time decision" is only true half the time; I think it's coach's gamesmanship this time, and that Harris will be in the lineup.

Jennings' return, however, is another story.  The truth is that, offensively, he stinks.  Look past the 9.5 points a game and keep in mind that his FG% isn't good for a forward and he turns the ball over too much.  More minutes and touches for Jennings means fewer minutes for 7'2" Catalin Baciu and fewer touches for Andre Young and Tanner Smith, and anything that takes a seven-footer off the floor while we don't have one of our own is a plus.  Jennings is a decent rebounder and defender thanks to his athleticism, but Mike Scott nullifies your rebound advantage and can't be defended.  I think Jennings is worth a few points off the board for UVA and a few more for Clemson; since we won 65-61 last time, call it 63-56 tonight.  All bets are off if I'm wrong about Harris.

I want to add, by the way, that it's really a refreshing thing to feel like going into another gym isn't the least bit scary.  A nice change from the '00s when playing in an empty gym at the Y would've caused us to shoot 25% if it weren't in Charlottesville.  Adam at the Duke Hoop Blog did a great job quantifying in statistical form what we already knew: the road suck used to be overwhelming.  Now there is none.  (The post is actually about the home court advantages of ACC teams, in which UVA came in second to Wake Forest.  This year that home court advantage is "gone" but what's really gone is the road misery.)


This weekend - starting tomorrow, actually - we also have the ACC swimming championships.  The women this weekend, and the men the next, and it's all coming together in Blacksburg with Virginia Tech hosting.  Swimming was my high school sport, and I was even good enough to be recruited to swim in college**, so you get to put up with this once a year.

And like every year, what I've done is to score out the psych sheet.  This gives you a rough idea of how the teams will perform.  Here are the standings if they went exactly as the psych sheet goes:

Virginia - 887
UNC - 582
Maryland - 506
FSU - 324
VT - 250
Duke - 197
GT - 180
NC State - 164
Miami - 158
Clemson - 108
BC - 60

Yes, it looks like a fifth straight ACC title for the Lady Hoos, and in dominating fashion.  Other teams can match UVA's talent in places, but not the depth.  Obviously, the meet won't go exactly as the psych sheet predicts, not least because that's not an actual lineup, just a list of who swam what and had what time throughout the season.  UVA is particularly strong in the backstroke; the top five 100 back times all belong to Virginia swimmers.  And in case any of these other ACC teams get any ideas about usurping our dominance in the future, two of those five belong to freshmen, and one to a sophomore.  The top backstroker in the conference?  Meredith Cavalier, who obviously could not possibly have chosen any other school.

And yes, BC is as terrible as they look.  The only reason they have points is because everyone swims relays.  Not every team has a swimmer in every individual event, but each team at least gets one relay.  You get 12 points for finishing last in a relay and there are 5 relay events, so the math adds up to ouch.

Speaking of ouch, anyone who happens to be attending the event should give a big cheer for the Clemson swimmers and a rousing BOOOOO to the Clemson administration, because this'll be the last meet for the Clemson swim team, which shuts down after this season.  BOOOO.  IPTAY stands for I Pay Ten A Year - maybe they need to change it to Twenty. 

**By which I mean I once got a standard recruiting letter from a tiny Division II school in West Virginia called Salem International (which at the time was called Salem-Teikyo) expressing the standard interest in my times and would I be interested in learning more about the school and the program etc. etc.  The problem was that I got this letter in October of 2000, and that wouldn't be a problem per se except that I had graduated high school in May and was already in class at UVA.  My senior year times were apparently pretty good for a sophomore.  I didn't say I was amazing.


Time for the first recruiting board update of the year, a smallish one:

- Added DE Trent Corney to orange.  We're going with DE for now.  Might change.

- Removed CB Shaquille Wiggins from blue.  Committed to Georgia as soon as they offered.

- Moved QB Brendan Marshall from yellow to blue after a Rivals article making no secret of his top two (BC, UVA.)  Editorial: UVA will probably slow-play Marshall just a touch, til they get a better handle on the recruitments of the instate quarterbacks.  Can't see them taking two again.  It might be preferable to take an instate guy, except that Marshall comes from Good Counsel, where you have to like the idea of getting the field general considering the amount of talent that that school has this year.

- Added ATH Reon Dawson to yellow.

- Added RB Ryan Green to red.

Finally, in the hey-what-the-heck department: I read something somewhere about something or other that Mike London had tweetered from his @CoachMikeLondon account.  I was all like, "hm, I didn't see that, I thought I followed London."  In fact, I know for sure I used to.  So I go to look him up again on Twitster and I hit "follow" and this is what I get:


I have no idea how that happened.


Anonymous said...

I find myself having unpleasant visions of ending the season on a 7-game losing streak and being grateful for an NIT berth...

Anonymous said...

That was a bad loss, albeit somewhat expected with Harris hobbled and Zeglinski still struggling.

I think we're going to have to at least win 4 games (regular season and/or ACC tourny) to make the NCAA tourny. It's gonna be a tough road.