Monday, December 10, 2012

weekend review

I really must admit to being part of the problem.  The fact that TV money and inertia** are the sole drivers of the landscape of college sports these days is a depressing thought indeed.  Yet I can't help but admit that it has its benefits.  The rapid expansion of TV means watching games that used to be completely inaccessible unless you bought a ticket.

To wit, then, I watched the Hoos take on Mississippi Valley State from the comfort of my computer chair.  (With Army-Navy simultaneously on the television, I might add.  Ah, the 21st century.) I cannot claim, however, to have learned anything especially new or groundbreaking.  That's what happens when you're playing one of the worst defensive teams in the country.  I seriously would bet that the Hoos had more dunks than MVSU had made field goals.  Akil Mitchell came down from what must have been his fourth or fifth one sheepishly smiling, as if to convey a head-shaking disbelief that it was coming that easy all day long. 

(That wasn't even the one where he took an entry pass and made half a post move on a ghost defender before realizing the only thing guarding the basket was a small collection of nitrogen atoms.  I watched that play a couple times to try and figure out why Akil had such an easy path to the rim and as best as I can gather, MVSU's #13 spotted a delicious slice of pie somewhere in an area that had nobody else in it and rushed to guard that instead of the bucket.  Why else he would be running in the direction he was remains an unsolvable mystery and I suspect his coach will learn as much in film review.)

At any rate, I won't tell anyone at Tennessee if you won't, that MVSU outscored them on our floor despite shooting 19% from the field.  Other fun yes-this-was-a-rout-we-get-it stats:

-- Joe Harris failed to score a single field goal.
-- 17 of the Hoos' 28 buckets were assisted.  Harris had six of those assists.
-- MVSU had 11 buckets; three were assisted.  In case you're wondering, an average rate in that regard is about 54%.
-- Teven Jones continues to lead the nation in "contributions to the actual game/contributions on the stat sheet" ratio.  At this point, Doug Browman and Taylor Barnette are not actual answers at the point.  Teven, on the other hand, reminds me quite a bit of the freshman version of Jontel Evans in this respect: I couldn't explain it with numbers the way I like to, but I felt good about the game with the ball in his hands.  The same with Jones.

We now head into the dreary, gaping maw of finals week; games resume a week from Wednesday, against Morgan State.

**Inertia, in the sense that the only reason some schools are in Big Five conferences is because they always have been.  For example, if the SEC could start all over, and was even given the limitation that they could only choose schools in states in their current footprint, would Mississippi State make the cut?  Would Indiana make the Big Ten's?  Iowa State the Big 12's?  I sort of doubt it.  If you really threw all the schools into the air and told them to form new conferences, limit 12, quite a few schools currently in power conferences would no longer be there after the shuffle.  And before you ask, is Virginia one of those schools?  No, for the same reason that the SEC would be loath to let Vanderbilt go anywhere.


Last week's profile of Zach Bradshaw elicited a pleasantly surprising response from a knowledgeable source on the subject: Zach's father.  He offered a few follow-up comments and clarifications on the post, bulleted and printed here in their near-entirety (minus a few tiny snippets I was asked to leave out.)

- I have followed Micah Kiser a bit as he plays in MD and am looking forward to watch them play together. Their skill sets will complement each other. I haven’t seen Smith play but it looks like a great group of LBs in the same class.
- PSU actually offered as an OLB. UVa was interested as both H-Back/TE type or OLB but we all eventually settled on OLB. Michigan, South Carolina had offered as WR; NWU as Super Back (H-Back). I think OLB or H-Back will be his most natural position.
- I attribute his lukewarm ratings to two factors (1) we did not hit the combine or camp circuit much opting to spend our time visiting schools instead. (2) Zach does many things very well rather than just a few things exceptionally well. He was rated by Rivals as a WR, Scout as an LB, 247 as an ATH. For us the ratings didn’t matter as much as the feedback from the college coaching staffs. Hopefully, his versatility and work ethic will help him get on the field.
- He weighed ~ 210 lbs before the season started and dropped some during the course of the year. He has gained most of it back and hopefully will be between 215 and 220 before he reports this summer. As you described, he has a big frame that can support added weight. PSU projected him to ultimately play at ~ 235 lbs and like UVa saw him as a “space” OLB.
- He did actually punt this year J Actually, he snapped in some situations if they needed him for his cover skills (center can’t be hit on release from LOS) but mostly punted.
- It will be interesting to see if he plays special teams as a freshmen or red shirts. We haven’t really had any conversation about it with the UVa coaches. The advice we’ve been given from several college coaching staffs is – come to camp in the summer prepared to fight for a starting job.
So there you go: he does punt, among everything else.  Many thanks to Mr. Bradshaw for offering up impressions from the inside.  I believe that officially makes this one of the most accurate recruiting profiles I've ever done.  There's only one left for this season, assuming the class is finished, and I think you know which one it is.  I won't keep you waiting much longer for it.
Speaking of recruiting, it's just about time to retire the 2013 recruiting board.  You remember that, don't you?  UVA's top targets that were left on it have committed elsewhere, and right now the focus is mainly on putting up fences to keep the wolves out of 2013, and working on relationships for 2014.  That board will go up in about five weeks.  As for the rest of 2013, I think it's likely that no other commitments occur.  For propriety's sake, here are the changes - mainly so that I can look back later and recreate the evolution of the board if I need to:
-- Removed DT Tevin Montgomery from blue (committed to BC.)
-- Removed WR DaeSean Hamilton from green (committed to Penn State.)
-- Removed CB Priest Willis from yellow.  He took an official visit to UVA last weekend; since that visit didn't cause any changes that would cause me to move him up, you can probably forget it.
-- Removed WR Brian Lemelle, LB Marcel Ngachie, and CBs Calvin Jones and Ryheem Lockley from red.
-- Changed LB LaChaston Smith to an early enrollment status. 
Let us hope we can go a second straight year without seeing any decommitments.

Always the last to produce such things, UVA finally released the lacrosse schedule today.  I know better than to wait on pins and needles for it, because it doesn't change much from year to year. The standard opponents are present, and in the standard order. Ohio State returns for a third season, so it would appear likely they'll be added to the list of usual opponents for the time being. The Hoos will venture outside Charlottesville just five times this year, until the NCAA tournament begins: three away games (Stony Brook, Syracuse, Duke), one "neutral site" game that's really an away game (Hopkins at the home of the Baltimore Ravens) and the ACC tourney in Chapel Hill. The only change to the schedule: the home-and-neutral with Penn is over, the Quakers replaced with Bellarmine.
The NCAA quarterfinals are hosted this year in an interesting place: Indianapolis, at Lucas Oil Field. I can't remember when the NCAA put its quarters in an NFL stadium rather than a host school's home field. The Final Four is in Philly.

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