Monday, February 24, 2014

even more golden

Against Notre Dame, for the first time since February 8, and for only the 11th time this season (in 28 tries) UVA's point total got into the 70s.  So I was bowled over to look at KenPom and find that that was the second-slowest game - 52 possessions - that we've seen all season.  Only the Pitt game, at 51 possessions, was a lesser pace than this one.

So when Mike Brey said "that was a nuclear explosion," well, at first I figured he was just saying that because this particular explosion happened to him and not someone else.  But no, that's a legit descriptor, and really I should've realized that Brey knew what he was talking about because it's not the first UVA explosion he's witnessed.  70 points in 52 possessions is about 1.35 per, an astounding number that blows away UVA's previous best effort, which was against Liberty.

Shooting 7-for-15 from three is a nice result and contributed to the effort, but it pales in comparison to shooting 21-for-29 - a whopping .724 percentage - from two.  Anthony Gill and Akil Mitchell combined for 12-of-13.  It didn't even have anything to do with zone defense.  Brey didn't deploy it all that much.  Sometimes basketball is about intricate play breakdowns and sometimes it's just about a light bulb going off, that says, "this guy can't guard me," and then doing something about that.

In Notre Dame's case there were a lot of this-guys - ND might as well have had four equal-sized dudes with the same number on their jersey and "GUMPY STIFF" where the name goes.  It almost makes me wish Garrick Sherman had stayed at Michigan State so he could be a terrible post defender in East Lansing instead, but as the results of the weekend proved, Sparty didn't need the help.

Mike Tobey, meanwhile - the one guy we have who's comparable in size to the gumpy stiff gang - collected four blocked shots.

When the run came, in typical UVA fashion it didn't announce itself like it does for other teams.  Brey - perhaps this is why he's a pretty good coach - knew it anyway.  He called time-out when the lead stretched to five - Joe Harris had just hit that running three-pointer and then kiboshed a minute-long(!) Irish possession with a blocked shot, leading to an Anthony Gill you-can't-stop-this bucket.  Not a minute had passed when Brey called another one.  The building was getting around to figuring out what Brey already knew, because Justin Anderson had just dropped Little Boy on Zach Auguste and Gill had deployed Fat Man on the other end.  When Malcolm Brogdon lefty-tossed the ball high off the glass and in, despite being clubbed with a hidden shillelagh Eric Atkins was saving for just such an occasion, Brey looked on resignedly.  He didn't bother calling another timeout, and took two of them to the locker room.  How do you fight a nuclear bomb with timeouts?


The baseball team is two weeks into the season.  Some stats of note:

-- Matt Thaiss is 6-for-17 to start the season (.353) with four doubles.  It's exceedingly early to say this, but it appears we have two catchers that could start on just about any team in the ACC.  Because it's not like Nate Irving - 5-for-15, 4 walks - is just handing over the job.  Quite the opposite.

-- UVA pitching has allowed 16 runs, not one of them unearned.  UVA has scored 31 earned runs and 21 more unearned.  When Brian O'Connor sets out to fix what he thinks is a fielding problem, he fixes the hell out of it.  The Hoos have committed two errors all season, one by a pitcher (which is to say, I don't care as much.)

-- Brandon Downes already has three home runs.

And finally a lacrosse game, which left me shaking my head in all ranges of emotion from annoyed disbelief to happy disbelief, also leaves me with one overarching impression of this team so far: I keep expecting disaster and don't get it.  UVA is ranked 4th, which seems likely to result in the house-of-cards thing, but 4-0 is 4-0.  I get the feeling this season will either be another train wreck or pretty darn awesome. 

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