Tuesday, April 17, 2012

weekend review

So I turned on the TV on Friday, all set for a great weekend to be kicked off with an exciting lacrosse game, and I was really pleased with what I saw - the orange uniforms are far superior to the blues, and they look really good with white helmets and shorts, and frankly I wish more games featured both teams wearing their colors instead of whites.  Looks really good that way.  So I liked what I saw.

Then the game started.

Shortly thereafter, I learned anew the meaning of "downhill fast."  I seriously don't know what to make of that, and fervently hope it was simply the one implosion for the year.  I would love to tell you that the reason we can't seem to beat Duke is simply a fluke of probability.  That most of the big games we play - UNC, Maryland, Hopkins, Syracuse minus this year, Cornell, etc. - are largely coin flips, Duke is no different, you can never win all your coin flips, and it just so happens the ones we lose are all the Duke ones.   It's not that there's a Doonkie Kong on our backs, the players are different every year, it's fatigue or whatever.

I have to call bullshit on myself, though, after that game.  Sports so often comes down to math and probabilities and sabermetrics and things, but there's a real danger in going full Moneyball on everything too.  UVA has one of the country's elite offenses, the defending Tewaaraton winner and possible front-runner for a repeat, and possibly the best combination of star power and balanced scoring in the land.  And nobody this season has scored as few as five goals on Duke.  MAAC members Marist and Jacksonville, 2-8 Dartmouth plus other Ivy patsies Brown and Penn, Big East weenie Rutgers - everybody has scored at least seven.  We scored five, most of which were meaningless.  There's psychology involved when that happens.  Period.

Maybe it's just that Duke didn't think Marist and Jacksonville were worth their time to defend, and got up for this game instead.  Or maybe there really is that mental block in the heads of our players.  Maybe we need to schedule Duke on a different weekend.  I dunno.  I expect we'll see them again in the ACC final, assuming we get past UNC, and it goes without saying it sure has to look better than that.  Not getting an early lead will probably fire up the ol' mental-block neurons and that'll be that.


-- I wish I could say baseball was a silver lining, but nope: the offensive black hole over Klockner enveloped Davenport, too, and the Hoos managed just six runs all weekend, and got swept by Carolina.  Remember your mantra: reloading year, reloading year.  Especially when considering Saturday, in which the Hoos gave up six runs - five unearned.

I wanted 18 wins, but we'd have to go 9-3 to get there, which means sweeping at least one of the remaining series (Duke, Miami, GT, Maryland.)  The bad news is, Miami is the kind of team that could drop another sweep-bomb on us instead, and that series is down there.  The good news is, Duke and Maryland suck, and GT is also surprisingly bad, and all are eminently sweepable themselves.  So keep the faith on that 18-win goal, and keep in mind too that 17 is really not all bad, considering.

-- I'd be very happy to tell you all about what I thought about the spring game...uhhh, as soon as I watch it.  It was on at the same time as Michigan's only televised lacrosse game of the year, and I watched that instead, figuring I could just watch the spring game on Monday.  But not so much.  So that's on hold for a little bit.

-- The weekend wasn't a total loss - Mike London added to his commitment total by getting one from four-star cornerback Tim Harris.  Harris has been pretty much UVA-all-the-way, but it's nice to make it official, especially since he had offers from Tech, Michigan, and OSU.  The mythical fence around the state isn't always real big, but sometimes it's big enough, and it helps too that Varina has become a very UVA-friendly school.

-- Speaking of recruiting, ESPN's 150 came out today, which hopefully means more evaluations will start showing up on more players in their database, which in turn would mean I can get a little earlier of a start on recruit profiles and maybe not be eight recruits behind this year.

-- Anthony Gill: down to two.  Three?  Two. (?)  It's like this: Gill's already visited UVA - this past weekend - and we turn to Twitter (no, not the riffraff, actual people who know things) for the rest.  His AAU coach tweetered on Sunday that Gill will visit Ohio State next weekend, and that his decision will (in Coach's opinion) come down to UVA or OSU.  The next day: "My money is on UVA for AG."  Today, Whitey Reid reported that UNC finally got in touch, after a lot of rumors here and there assuming they were interested.

So - does Gill take the bait from Chapel Hill?  I will give you two snippets and let you form your own opinion.  Snippet one: AG's father told Whitey the reason UVA got the first visit was because UVA was first in contact.  In other words, we made him a priority, and they appreciated that.  Roy Williams, on the other hand, waited well over a week after Gill got his release.  Snippet two: yet another tweetypost, this one from CavsCorner, that reads, in part, "Anthony Gill is down to UVA and...."  Yes, that's where it stops because the rest is behind a paywall, but don't you know it would be bad English to say "UVA and UNC and OSU"?  The OSU visit is still on, by the way.

My own opinion on the situation is that Gill reminds me in several ways of KT Harrell.  Religious guy, big on relationships, working closely with his father on his destination (who by the way sounds a little like Harrell's dad did during that recruitment), and doesn't seem to respond to in-your-face coaching.  (Frank Martin is very much a player's coach off the court but a louder and more neck-bulgy version of Bobby Knight on it.)  I dunno.  Maybe my amateur psychology degree is wrong on Gill's demeanor, but he doesn't come off as the kind of guy to be dazzled by a football stadium with 90,000 people in it.  I boldly predict Anthony Gill declares himself a Hoo in less than two weeks' time.

-- And finally: another big guy Tony Bennett has inquired about is Coastal Carolina's Sam McLaurin, who intends to go to law school and therefore if he chooses UVA he'll be McLawyerin' for all time.  McLaurin is 6'8", shot .652 last year, is an all-academic guy in the classroom (he's going to law school, so, obviously) and best of all can play next year since he's going to be a grad student taking a course of study not offered by his current school.  We'd only get him for one year, but hey - next year's big man lineup consists of Akil Mitchell, Darion Atkins, and Mike Tobey, and squat else.  In other words: not a lot of scoring unless Tobey is a surprise double-double machine.

Of the five schools on the list of those to contact McLaurin, two don't have law schools, one is Drake, and one is actual competition until McLaurin gets a load of our law school.  Of course there'll be others that get in touch, but I'll start this one off on the optimistic side.

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