Tuesday, June 4, 2013

weekend review

I don't brag much - maybe like four or five times a year, tops - but when I'm right, I'm right.  The Charlottesville regional, as far as UVA was concerned, went down exactly as planned.  Except for that UNC-Wilmington was a dud and couldn't get past Elon.  UVA, on the other hand, swung some cold bats against some quality pitching performances from Army's Chris Rowley and Elon's Spencer Medick.  Fortunately the Hoos turned in even better performances on the hill and set themselves up in the winners' bracket.  Then, against the same Elon team, only with a burned-up pitching staff, UVA opened up a can.

Sunday's starter was Whit Mayberry, but the outing of the day belonged to David Rosenberger, a medium-use reliever for most of the season who came through with five scoreless innings in relief.  A terrific outing especially for a guy who usually needed four or five appearances to rack up that many innings.  Mayberry wasn't actually bad, and a more normal strike zone might've seen him go five or six terrific innings himself.  Whit was victimized by a dinky little strike zone and actually only walked one hitter, but since the umpire wouldn't give him the corners, he had to throw juiceballs in order to get strikes, and the Elon hitters took advantage.  A six-run third, though, followed by some insurance in later innings, put the Elon threat away for good.

Can't talk about great pitching performances without mentioning the shutout on Saturday, though, which Scott Silverstein (6 innings), Josh Sborz (1 inning) and Kyle Crockett (2 innings) combined their efforts on.  Or, for that matter, Brandon Waddell's three-hit, 8-K effort against Army.  When you allow four runs in three games, you'll usually advance.

It's an extremely chalky tournament so far; 14 of 16 super-regional slots have been filled (at the moment I'm writing this) and the only one of those 14 that's not a 1 seed is Oklahoma.  (Which beat the Hokies.  You can probably hear me wailing and gnashing my teeth already.)  UVA hosts Mississippi State, which slipped up against 4 seed Central Arkansas on Sunday but recovered today to move on.


-- Solid article last week in ESPN, the summary of which is basically Brian O'Connor is awesome.

-- More shakeup in the lacrosse world, and I call it bad news.  The ACC lost out on the Johns Hopkins sweepstakes (who knows if they ever tried?) and Hopkins will join the Big Ten as an associate member for lacrosse.  Or really, Hopkins will join the CIC (the B1G's research collaboration branch) with lacrosse as their excuse - and the B1G's excuse for adding them.

That puts a powerful competitor for recruits on the landscape for 2015, when the move occurs.  (Hopkins probably has half a schedule put together for 2014 already, and there's no sense in them joining before Maryland and Rutgers get there anyway.)  Maryland badly needed Hopkins so they wouldn't have to go the fully-independent route and would have a rival they could use as a recruiting chip.  They've put together a conference of Hopkins, Maryland, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, and Rutgers, which is a tough group, especially since it'll be televised on the BTN.  (Don't expect Michigan to stink forever.)  Meanwhile, the ACC now has to look within its own ranks if it wants to find a sixth member and create a tourney autobid.

Hopkins will have to create room on their schedule for four Big Ten games (they already play Maryland, obviously, and played Michigan this season) and it's natural to wonder if they'll keep UVA on their schedule.  They probably will.  Hopkins-UVA is one of the stronger rivalries in lacrosse and one Hopkins may need to keep their recruiting at an elite level, and besides that we're the closest ACC team they've got.  If they want to keep playing ACC teams, UVA is the way to do it.

The other big shakeup is Denver's move to the Big East as an associate lacrosse member.  This is called "the Big East saves its own ass" and preserves its autobid, as it will be losing Syracuse and Rutgers and would've dropped to five teams after 2014.  Naturally, the ECAC is in trouble, and the four teams left (Air Force, Bellarmine, Hobart, and Fairfield) need to either go raiding or find other conferences.  The latter seems more likely.  Fairfield is in the MAAC, after all, and might find this a propitious time to be a lax member too.  Bellarmine might find a fit in the A-Sun.  The NEC has a little autobid dilemma, being also left with five teams thanks to the MAAC's pillaging, and Hobart might be just the fix they need.  Air Force could, I dunno, figure something out.  If they tried to keep the ECAC on life support, Detroit would be a fit, but who else?

I would guess they'll go their separate ways - the ECAC has always been little more than a holding pen for teams waiting to find a more permanent home.  And if so, you might just see the constant lacrosse realignment - which has for some time been a fact of life rather than a cataclysm - settle down for a bit, with the only catalyst for more change being new schools adding the sport.


Anonymous said...

I was really expecting a comment regarding "we cannot have nice things" with the Phillip sims debacle. Mike Rocco is looking so good right now. uuughhh..

Anonymous said...

That article on BOC is interesting in that he and Mike London seem to say the same things to their athletes and have the same approach philosophically as coaches, but BOC has had different results from Day 1. They each had little to work from their predecessor, so it looks like the difference is ability in coaching players to achieve maximum return and actual gameplanning and execution. Baseball is supposed to be less susceptible to managerial influence, but BOC belies that claim. It really seems like 95% of coaches are interchangeable, and all the money spent on firing coaches with years left on their contracts is in search of the 5% that truly do matter. Not a good rate of return, but probably acceptable to anyone who would actually read this comment.


Anonymous said...

It has been a blessing to have Kuhn and McMullan there for the entire run. I'm still surprised that a good program hasn't come and tried to pluck one of them away.

Brendan said...

I probably should have said something about Sims, since it's a semi-big deal. That said, look at it in a vacuum with no name attached. Backup quarterback transfers in, doesn't perform particularly well on the field, is gone after one year. We might be talking about Christian Olsen here. Having Rocco around would be great, but I don't think the QB situation is a lost cause without Sims, nor does his departure really affect the upcoming season. Some of the stuff you hear about Watford has been remarkable.

Re: BOC, it's absolutely amazing we've been so fortunate in keeping Kuhn and MacMullan this whole time. MacMullan would be in high, high demand if he ever went job-hunting for a head role, and you have to figure every year he's still here is a bonus.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually pleased that Sims is leaving. No offense to him, great guy for all I know. I just hate the QB platooning, and unless Sims claimed the #1 spot, his profile was such that (apparently) London felt obligated to work him in. That hurt us last season, and drove away Rocco for next season. Let's please move on.

I'm more upset about losing Clifton Richardson. But I do hope for the best for both of them.