I suppose propriety dictates I say some stuff about last night's VCU game. Fine then:
-- Some folks are calling it an ugly game. All the fouls and such. The clock screw-ups didn't help, but I like college basketball for all the different styles of play. Truth is, you see one NBA game, you've seen 90% of them. College lets two wildly distinct styles clash, and this was a perfect example. UVA was sped up faster than it wanted to be, even in the halfcourt, and VCU could not often set their press such as they'd like because UVA's defense was too good. Whatever you call that game, it wasn't "havoc," but VCU still found a way to impose its will at times. Give me a highly competitive game like that one over the ballet that some people seem to demand out of their hoops, I don't care how many fouls you have to call.
-- Is it possible to have such a massive free-throw advantage and still find the refereeing slanted too far towards the other team? I think so. It takes more than one crappy call to get Tony Bennett riled up, and riled up he was when Anthony Gill got called for a foul he didn't commit. Tony had to pull him, for reasons of three fouls early in the second half, but it was plain he didn't fault Gill. I could even read his lips as he sent Gill off with a pat on the back: "that's good D."
-- London Perrantes will probably be the starting point guard eventually this season. There's no hesitancy on Tony's part to put him in for important minutes. Tony did not do the same with Teven Jones (whose nine minutes against VCU, by the way, I mostly liked) last year at all. I don't think Malcolm Brogdon is doing badly, but he's not really a natural. You might think that Jones could work his way into the lineup as the backup PG, and he just might; the barrier to that is that Tony appears to want to play Brogdon quite a bit. So what, you ask. Well, playing Brogdon exclusively at the 2 means squeezing Joe Harris and Justin Anderson. A lineup with a point guard, Brogdon at the two, plus Harris and Anderson, that obviously leaves room for only one of our very talented frontcourt four. Or, you know, sitting Harris or Anderson. Giving Brogdon point guard minutes means not having to choose as much between him, Joe, and Justin.
-- Not gonna blame the loss on free-throw shooting when VCU was 6-for-15 at the line. You can't say "if we'd shot better but VCU has to shoot just as badly." On the other hand, hitting a couple more threes would've been nice.
At any rate, moving on. Losing is bad and all, but there's a winning streak ahead, a tournament of sorts, and a chance to pick up some momentum going into the Wisconsin game - a team which just knocked off highly-rated Florida, so they're no schmucks.
News and such:
-- Soccer tournaments: Unfortunately the ladies didn't make it through the ACC tournament, but they earned a #1 seed in the NCAA tourney anyway. As if there was any doubt of that. In fact all four NCAA #1 seeds are ACC teams. UVA hosts St. Francis (PA) on Friday.
-- Every damn year. For the sixth season in a row, the men eliminated Wake Forest from the ACC tournament. You might think I'm kidding, and I'm not, and one of those years was the national championship year when the Hoos booted Wake from the ACC tournament and then just for giggles also ousted the Deacons from the NCAAs. Could you imagine if in something more visible like basketball we lost to the same team in the ACC tournament every single year since 2008? Oh, and most of the time, including this season, we've been the underdog seed; 6 against 3, this year.
The next step is also on Friday, where UVA will take on Notre Dame in a game broadcast on ESPN3.
-- VT's nine-strikes-and-you're-out policy finally caught up to Cody Journell, whose many, many brushes with raging stupidity finally exhausted Frank Beamer's patience. Journell, you'll remember, broke into someone's house, using a BB gun, (to steal his weed back, as he amazingly admitted to police) and was given the services of slimy fixer Jimmy Turk to get his felony breaking and entering knocked down to a misdemeanor so Tech could continue to claim zero tolerance for felonies. Then he opened a can of pepper spray "by accident" in a BW3. Then he was suspended for unknown foolishness, earlier this season.
Every college team, including UVA, has players do dumb things that get the police involved. Some just are OK with that.
-- The ACC hoops tournament is in Greensboro this season and next, but the ACC announced that in 2015-2016 it'll be in Washington, DC, which I'm sure has nothing to do with the sudden lack of presence in that area when Maryland leaves. Regardless of the reason, it'll be nice to have it anywhere but NC for once and even nicer to have it close by our fanbase.
-- The 2014 recruiting board will be updated in just a second here, but interestingly (especially for lean times such as these) the 2015 board, when it debuts, will already have a commitment on it in the form of Altavista athlete Juan Thornhill. A commitment likely to stick even if the coach he signs for isn't Mike London, as Thornhill is a Virginia fan.
-- ESPN's Lions writer does this thing where he asks different Lions a different question every week. This week it was: what would you want a free year's supply of. Kevin Ogletree is no dummy at all: gasoline. It reminded me of another anecdote from way back that illustrates the naturally high intelligence of a UVa grad: I remember seeing a little local TV feature about the Lions rookies having to sing a training camp song for the veterans. Germane Crowell saw his fellow rookies get mercilessly booed no matter what they sang or how well they sang it, so his choice was the Star-Spangled Banner, figuring (correctly) that nobody would boo that.
I said last week there would be a recruiting board update when it became necessary, and it became necessary.
-- Added ATH Donovan Dowling to orange. I have said, have I not, that Mike London would probably fill out this recruiting class the same way he always does: with an instate athlete-type who projects to either WR or DB and who had not yet received any offers worth committing to. The Varina pipeline comes through here to fulfill the prophecy. No relation, by the way, to Ras-I.
-- Added DE Cory Jones to yellow. A late-late-bloomer from DC that regional coaches are keeping an eye on.
-- Removed RB Madre London (Michigan State) from yellow.
Chances are at this point that recruiting consists almost entirely of the guys above the yellow only, with the possible exception of Cory Jones.
Senior Seasons to wrap this up:
Upland 24, Rancho Cucamonga 6: The article didn't say any names, but it sounds very much as if Jeffery Farrar was suspended for this one for a fight during last week's game. Upland is 7-3.
North Gwinnett 44, Peachtree Ridge 22: Jordan Ellis's touchdown and 61 yards were nowhere near enough to prevent the blowout loss. Peachtree Ridge is 7-3.
Haverford School 27, Episcopal 7: Evan Butts caught a 73-yard touchdown, but that was his team's only score. Episcopal is 7-3.
Bayside 27, First Colonial 7: Quin Blanding scored two touchdowns - one running, one receiving - and Bayside snuck into the playoffs...but all they did was win the honor of being the first team to be reamed by Oscar Smith. Bayside is 6-4.
Central Catholic 37, Anclote 14 (Caanan Brown) - CCC is 8-2.
Shiloh 31, Central Gwinnett 14 (Darious Latimore) - Central is 2-8.
Jordan Matthews 37, Cummings 6 (Will Richardson) - Cummings is 3-8.
Oscar Smith 60, Hickory 7 (Andrew Brown) - Oscar Smith is 10-0.
Woodgrove 35, Loudoun Valley 0 (J.J. Jackson) - Woodgrove is 7-3.
King George 27, Chancellor 0 (Steven Moss) - Chancellor is 1-9.
Highland Springs 45, Varina 35 (Donovan Dowling) - Varina is 8-2.
That wraps up the regular season, and it's the end of the line for four teams. Episcopal plays in their own little private-school league, which doesn't do playoffs. Central Gwinnett, Cummings, and Chancellor had losing seasons, big-time-style, and will not make the playoffs. (Though, thanks to VHSL realignment, being 1-9 hasn't stopped some teams from being in the playoffs. Wut?)
Oscar Smith will host Bayside, so at least one season will continue next week (probably Oscar Smith's) and one will end (probably Bayside's.) The only other team to play in a playoff game and not host will be Peachtree Ridge.