Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I did say I would start in on lacrosse today, and that turns out to be a lie as filthy as a London Perrantes pass to a cutter.  What are ya gonna do.  The Notre Dame game generated too much My Thoughts and now they need somewhere to go.

I had a tough time deciding what was most impressive about the game.  It was certainly a far cry from the VT meatgrinder.  Was it the 14 steals - almost one every four possessions?  Malcolm Brogdon's stat line?  Given NBA clock rules, Brogdon might've registered a quadruple-double at the rate he was going.  Five more steals would've been awfully hard, but that only highlights the impressiveness of getting five in the first place.  Or, perhaps it was the effusive praise Bob Knight wouldn't stop giving to London Perrantes.

A digression: Knight is, without reservation, my favorite basketball announcer.  When he talks about the game, it's a clinic.  Yesterday, for example, two things that stood out in particular.  Justin Anderson turned the ball over, but Knight praised the idea anyway, pointing out that you should dribble and pass in opposite directions against a zone defense.  Obvious when you think about it (when you dribble one direction, the defense shifts that way, so they're already in position to defend your pass) but how many announcers ever think to say it?  When a Domer near the sidelines threw the ball away near the end of a shot clock, Knight mentioned that it was a lousy pass but the blame lay half with the guy who threw it down to that dude in the first place.  Trapped near the sidelines is a bad place for the ball to be with four seconds on the shot clock.  This is stuff coaches say in practice but somehow never take with them to the microphone.  You will learn basketball by listening to Bob Knight.

I say this because it lends extra extra credence to the gushing Knight did over Perrantes.  When most announcers go gaga over a player, they're not usually saying anything you haven't heard elsewhere, and it's a good bet they read it in the same place you did.  When Knight goes gaga, he's also pointing out specific, tangible things that cause him to have that opinion.  Things like: when Perrantes makes round-the-world dribbling trips through the lane, he's not just doing it for the lulz, he's doing it because he knows where all the other nine players are and which one he wants to find for the assist.  Jeff Van Gundy really liked Perrantes too, and said so, and Van Gundy is a well-respected coach whose words carry weight, but it's still more so with Bobby Knight.  Perrantes is a future star of a point guard; not that I needed any convincing, but I'm still convinced.

-- Mike Tobey is another guy who needs to be called out for a great game.  One of his top three as a Cavalier, I'd say.  He scored a variety of different ways and he bodied up on defense and didn't give any ground.

-- Speaking of defense, Evan Nolte's is better, too.  He's defending his man much closer than he used to and his footwork is improved.  Side-to-side he's a little quicker, which lets him do a better job of denying the jump shot.

-- Notre Dame executed quite definitely the worst 2-3 zone I've ever seen.  2-3 is the easiest defense in the world.  Nothing in basketball is less complicated and Notre Dame managed to screw it up repeatedly.  Knight pointed out that the center (usually Garrick Sherman) was wandering way too far from the basket and shouldn't have been out defending at the elbow.  UVA noticed this and took advantage repeatedly until Mike Brey fixed the problem.  What Knight didn't mention is that Sherman was caught between a rock and a hard place, because ND's guards were also wandering.  Down by the elbow, that needs to be the guard's territory.  Whatever they were defending was space that doesn't need to be defended.  The Irish defenders let themselves get spaced out too much, when the whole point of the zone (especially the 2-3) is to dictate spacing and clog the middle.

-- 30 minutes into the game and Notre Dame had 29 points.  I mean, when you turn the ball over on a third of your possessions, that'll happen.

-- Also 30 minutes into the game was the first time it dawned on me that this was a Karl Hess game.  That's unusual.  Normally you know that right away.

-- One more game to the halfway point of the ACC season.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

weekend review

It's the recruiting homestretch, with Signing Day a little over a week away, so there's plenty of movement on and off the recruiting board.  So that's what kicks off the weekend review this week.

-- Added LB Chris Peace and DE Cory Jones (re-add in that case) to orange.  Jones had committed to Toledo a little while ago, but flipped on an official visit this weekend, and was joined by Peace, who committed almost on the spot to his UVA offer.  Both are instate players who up til now had gotten very little attention.

-- Moved OL Will Richardson from orange to maroon.  UVA is very dangerously thin at OL and this class is not helping.  I can't fault London for losing Richardson since Richardson more or less lied to him, but I can certainly find fault with not doing the OL work that should've been done in July.

-- Removed CB DaiQuan Lawrence from blue; recommitted to Wake Forest.

-- Removed DB Daniel Ezeagwu from green (Maryland.)

-- Removed TE Blake Whiteley (Texas) and CB Cornelius Floyd (Arkansas) from yellow.

-- Moved DT Derrick Nnadi from red to yellow.  Weird recruitment, ain't it?  I don't really expect Nnadi to pick UVA when all's said and done (I think, based on nothing, that FSU is going to be the answer) but at least there's a ripple.

-- Added LB Vincent Jackson and CB Ladarius Wiley to yellow.  Wiley is a friend of Jeffrey Farrar and currently technically a Purdue commit, but Farrar is working on him.

With only a week left, this'll be the penultimate update; the next time for the 2014 board will be the last.  I'm working on the 2015 board and slowly but surely filling it up; probably will have it out next week.


-- UVA picked up a couple tops-in-the-country nods this past week, and in different sports.  Probably the kiss of death in both cases, but whatever.  Baseball America has the Hoos as their preseason #1 team, and rates the lineup as somewhere between "elite" and "team for the ages."  And UVA's performance in ESPN's BPI is the nation's best in January.  So far.  Still plenty of time to screw that up.  But even should UVA lose tonight, it'd be hard to argue any other team in the country had more of a season-turning month - in the right direction - than did UVA.  (And if you could make a case for someone else, it'd be Michigan. :D :D :D )

-- Lacrosse season is still a short ways off and it's already off to a tough start.  Reserve midfielder Carl Walrath got himself kicked off the team for an incident in November in which he thought it would be a bright idea to clock a police officer and take off running.  Now, not that Walrath shouldn't be summarily booted for a brainstorm like that, but it bothers me that it's Craig Littlepage making the statement.  There are several different ways to interpret that, none of which are good.

-- This week I'm gonna start in on spring sports.  Not sure exactly what order I'll do things, but I'll for sure start tomorrow with a lacrosse schedule analysis.

Monday, January 27, 2014

game preview: Notre Dame

Date/Time: Tuesday, January 28; 9:00


Record against the Irish: 5-1

Last meeting: UVA 81, ND 76; 4/1/92, New York, NY

Last game: UVA 65, VT 45 (1/25); WF 65, ND 58 (1/25)


UVA: 63.0 (#335)
ND: 66.4 (#225)

UVA: 109.9 (#70)
ND: 113.0 (#38)

UVA: 88.7 (#4)
ND: 103.5 (#151)

UVA: .9216 (#15)
ND: .7326 (#72)

Projected lineups:


PG: London Perrantes (4.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.7 apg)
SG: Malcolm Brogdon (11.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (11.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.1 apg)
PF: Akil Mitchell (6.7 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.3 apg)
C: Mike Tobey (7.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.5 apg)

Notre Dame:

PG: Eric Atkins (14.2 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.0 apg)
SG: Demetrious Jackson (6.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF: Pat Connaughton (13.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.8 apg)
PF: Zach Auguste (6.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.4 apg)
C: Garrick Sherman (15.2 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 0.9 apg)

UVA takes its first trip to a (recent) expansion member of the conference, to the Land of the Golden Dome, on Tuesday - when the temperature in the Midwest is fully expected to be on the south side of zero and the wind on the north side of 25.  The team's travel is reportedly weather-complicated, and, well, there's a reason I call these the dark days of February.  (Yes, it's not technically February yet.  Shut up.)  But the team is rolling, and Notre Dame is reeling, in the midst of a much worse season than they were expected to have.  A win would keep the Hoos within scratching distance of Syracuse; since Duke knocked off Pitt tonight, a loss would drop UVA into a three-way tie at 6-2.

-- UVA on offense

Defense has been ND's weak point this year.  Teams shoot the ball well against the Irish, and the problem here is twofold.  One, they've got a lot of size but it's all way down low; the guards are actually on the small side.  Two, their bigs aren't proficient shot-blockers.  Center Garrick Sherman swats a few, but not as many as you'd like for a near 7-footer.  The team's block-rate leader, forward Austin Burgett is out for "7-10 days due to cardiac surgery" which easily takes the prize for most incongruous injury report ever.  One day someone will be expected to miss 2-4 weeks due to death and then they can have that prize for their silver lining, but til then, that one takes the cake.

Burgett will hopefully be fine in the long run - that sounds scary but presumably the doctors know a thing or two about their job - but won't be playing tomorrow.  It takes a bite out of ND's depth.  Up front they'll be able to manage; there are three guys standing over 6'10" in Sherman, Zach Auguste, and Tom Knight, and the Irish may give a few more minutes to lightly-used V.J. Beachem, a lanky freshman.

Notre Dame is crazy-thin at guard, though.  Part of the reason teams shoot threes so well against ND might just be that their guards are forced to chill out a bit on defense lest they lose their legs.  Eric Atkins and Pat Connaughton play 37 and 36 minutes a game, respectively.  It's a conservative defense that fouls very little and doesn't get a world of steals - still almost twice as many as VT, though.

One of the benefits of this crazy run the Hoos are on is that the rotation has settled down, something UVA can use to its advantage against a thin team like Notre Dame.  Though the Irish have made a few late-game pushes lately, it's still to UVA's advantage to have a guy like Malcolm Brogdon and his deceptive quickness, or Justin Anderson and his tendency to bounce off the walls, coming in fresh while ND's scorers have played the whole game.

This could also be a good game for Mike Tobey, who always looks good except for when he gets multiple shots blocked on one possession.  This happens more often than you'd want, but ND doesn't seem likely to come up with a sudden swat storm; Knight in particular is notoriously unathletic.  Wake Forest's Devin Thomas just went apeshit on the Irish defense, shooting 10-for-11, so, while I don't foresee any of our bigs taking over the game like that, they'll all have their chances, and UVA can find some mismatches down low.

-- UVA on defense

Losing Jerian Grant might've been the catalyst for all the losing ND is doing; it cost them a guy who could not only score from anywhere he liked but was a terrific passer.  There are still three guys left on this team who can score prolifically: Sherman, Atkins, and Connaughton.

That's basically the lineup.  Sherman shoots A LOT, and hits on enough of them to be worth it, but not so many that he commands all your attention.  He's a very good rebounder at both ends of the court, too, but when he's out (he plays 27.4 mpg) ND basically just hopes to get by down low.  Auguste and Knight are not terrible, but that's as far as I'll go in their praise.

Atkins and Connaughton will hurt you from deep if you let them.  Connaughton makes his bread by hanging out away from the play and being found by a passer; 100% of his threes are assisted.  Both he and Atkins generally prefer the jump shot, though Atkins will find his way to the rim at times.  The backcourt is rounded out by Demetrious Jackson, good for about one three-pointer a game and a few miscellaneous buckets here and there.

Bottom line, though, is that when Atkins, Connaughton, or Sherman are out of the game, ND loses a major scoring punch, which is why Sherman doesn't come out much and the two guards basically never do.  It's part of the reason, I'd imagine, that the defense is so conservative; put Atkins or Connaughton in foul trouble and the Irish are just about sunk.  The Irish don't get to the line much themselves, either, but neither do they turn the ball over.  They play deliberately and look for their shot - about two-thirds of which will come from one of those big three.

-- Outlook

You have to respect Sherman, Atkins, and Connaughton.  There's a reason I've said their names so much here.  These guys could find a role on any ACC team.  Everyone else....jyeh.  Notre Dame regularly goes only about eight deep - losing Burgett only makes it worse - and they don't really trust the back end of that rotation.  The Domers have given some talented teams (Iowa, Ohio State) a run for their money, and knocked off Duke in their inaugural ACC game.  It went sour quick after that, though - ND is 2-5 in the conference, with only the Wake Forest loss coming against a winning team (and c'mon, Wake is not that good.)  They even let the Hokies come into their gym and almost win.  If the rough travel and the cold don't get to UVA, the Hoos ought to come out with a win - a grinder if they can't hit their threes and a blowout if they're hot from deep.

Final score: UVA 62, ND 52


A quick rumination on the VT game: it was boring.  Precisely what I'd hoped for.  Good teams should come into the JPJA all nervous and hoping to maybe escape with a win; crappy teams should leave having never felt from start to finish that they ever had a glimmer of a chance.  UVA sucked the life out of the Hokies and ground them into the dirt.  Hey, it's the middle third of the ACC season - they can't all be wildly entertaining circus shows.  At some point, you get to be so good and the opponent so bad that a blowout is par for the course.  It was mostly a plodder of a game, with VT being forced numerous times to hork up something that would be an insult to legitimate prayers to call it that.  I think the Hokies only had one 35-second violation, but must have run the clock down inside 3 seconds eight times.  By that time it was less "well crap maybe this will go in" and more "here, just take the ball and put this possession out of its misery."

I found myself, during the game, with lots of time for the mind to wander, contemplating as to whether any of the current VT team would find a niche on UVA's squad.  I don't think I'd trade any of our guys for theirs, heavens no, unless we're talking a back-end player for a star.  Devin Wilson probably has more upside than Teven Jones, for example - but that's our third point guard and their first and we don't even know what we have in Devon Hall.  But would I take any Hokies and just add them to our lineup?  Maybe Jarell Eddie, but only in an Evan Nolte role.  Eddie would be forbidden from shooting inside the arc and not depended on for a lot of defense.  Wilson would need to get his turnovers under control, but I at least like his ability to find the free throw line.

The rest of them?  No.  Their bigs are awful.  OK, Raines and Barksdale aren't terrible, but they don't do anything as well as our top three bigs (Gill, Mitchell, Tobey) and have about the scoring touch of Darion Atkins but with a great deal less athleticism.  van Zegeren's a stiff.  I haven't seen Ben Emelogu in action yet except for the other day and he was still working off a bum ankle, so it wasn't quite fair to judge, but the fact that they're giving minutes to Will Johnston and Trevor Thompson (whose patented travel-and-arm-hook move must've been allowed by the refs out of pure pity) is all you need to know about why the Hokies are firmly entrenched in the bottom of the league.

They may have something of a future - Emelogu and Wilson are solid building blocks, as should be Adam Smith when healthy.  van Zegeren can defend, and their freshman class next year includes Jalen Hudson, to whom UVA gave a very long and hard look before ultimately not offering.  (It's a lightly-regarded class overall, though.)  But with the benefit of hindsight, they torpedoed their own program by firing Greenberg.  Now they have a coach in over his head and a huge talent gap, which itself is largely due to the firing - have you noticed Montrezl Harrell at Louisville lately?

Friday, January 24, 2014

game preview: Virginia Tech

Date/Time: Saturday, January 25; 3:00

TV: ACC Network, ESPN3

Record against the Hokies: 84-53

Last meeting: UVA 73, VT 55; 2/12/13, Charlottesville

Last game: UVA 76, UNC 61 (1/20); WF 83, VT 77 (1/22)


UVA: 63.1 (#333)
VT: 67.1 (#185)

UVA: 110.0 (#68)
VT: 100.9 (#237)

UVA: 88.8 (#5)
VT: 101.9 (#123)

UVA: .9215 (#13)
VT: .4733 (#174)

Projected lineups:


PG: London Perrantes (4.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.7 apg)
SG: Malcolm Brogdon (11.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (11.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.1 apg)
PF: Akil Mitchell (6.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 1.3 apg)
C: Mike Tobey (7.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg)

Virginia Tech:

PG: Devin Wilson (9.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.8 apg)
SG: Will Johnston (3.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg, 0.5 apg)
SF: Jarell Eddie (14.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.6 apg)
PF: C.J. Barksdale (8.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.7 apg)
C: Joey van Zegeren (5.1 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.3)

One of the cruelest jokes of basketball season thus far is a schedule that gave us two absolutely exquisite main courses last weekend and then made us wait all week for dessert.  Virginia Tech comes into town, sitting exactly where you like to see the Hokies: the basement.  It's a near-certainty that the other end of the ACC standings will feature a race to the bottom between VT and Boston College, currently #'s 174 and 175 in KenPom's rankings.  UVA has a chance to help speed the Hokies on their way this Saturday.

-- UVA on offense

VT's defensive numbers actually feature pretty solid rankings almost all the way across the board.  Except for one thing: turnovers, where the Hokies are literally dead last in the country in forcing them.  Nobody steals the ball less often than Virginia Tech.  Only Quinnipiac sees fewer turnovers, and that just means their opponents have been a smidge less sloppy.  This is a feature of James Johnson's teams; VT sat near the very bottom in this category last year, too.  Ironic considering that Johnson's bio on the VT site promises "a more pressure-oriented defense."  VT fouls rather less than they did under Seth Greenberg, but they also don't have notorious hack artist Jeff Allen, either.

UVA, meanwhile, in conference play, has been among the best in the ACC at protecting the ball.  Only 5.4% of UVA possessions have ended in steals and only 13% have been turnovers.  We still get shots blocked all the time, but the more shots you take, the more that go in, and UVA will probably not turn the ball over hardly at all tomorrow except for those few of their own accidental doing.

One thing VT has going for it is a fairly deep frontcourt with good size.  Start with a couple of tall skinnies in Joey van Zegeren and Trevor Thompson; these two block a ton of shots, although their lack of heft means they foul a lot, too.  Marshall Wood has put some meat on his bones and where last year he used to be a foul factory, he's improved mightily in that regard.  Add veterans C.J. Barksdale and Cadarian Raines and a couple biggish small forwards in Christian Beyer and Jarell Eddie (plus 6'4" point guard Devin Wilson), and VT is a size match for our players without much trouble.

That didn't help Florida State, though.  UVA had a really rough time down low in Tallahassee, with Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey both going bucketless from the field, but the Hoos crushed it on the offensive glass in that game and won the turnover battle by a huge margin in both games, and knocked off the Noles that way.  VT, in conference play, has been allowing plenty of offensive rebounds, and what's more, allowing too much three-point shooting too.  Combine that with the turnovers they don't get and you have an easy recipe to beat the Hokies.

-- UVA on defense

Offense is where VT has been losing games, though.  They already don't score a lot, and they're likely to be missing two of their top three scorers in Adam Smith and Ben Emelogu.  Smith is also the ballhandler when Devin Wilson is out of the game, and James Johnson thinks so little of his other options in that regard that Wilson simply never left the game against Wake Forest this week.

Wilson is someone out of the "drive and see what happens" school of point guard play.  He's a slasher through and through, and a fairly big one, so he can make some good things happen.  Gets fouled a ton, as you'd expect, but not a great free throw shooter, and like many freshman point guards, somewhat turnover-prone.  Still, he's a fairly legitimate weapon.

VT relies heavily on the stylings of Jarell Eddie, even more so with the injuries they've had; unfortunately for them, that can help as much as hurt.  Eddie has shooting talent, though he's one of those weirdos that fares better from outside the arc than inside it, where he shoots just .336.  Eddie, though, is streaky as hell; he shot 3-for-14 against BC (a big reason the Hokies lost), followed that up with two games where he scored a combined five points, then blew up for 20 against Wake Forest.  Wake made the mistake of letting him do most of his shooting from three; Notre Dame and Boston College forced him inside the arc.

Eddie is actually somewhat of a microcosm of the whole team, actually.  VT shoots .401 from three (17th in the country) and .446 from two (315th in the country.)  In conference play they're both the worst two-point shooting team (a pathetic .413) and the worst free-throw shooting team (.573.)  Problem is that all that forward depth is actually really bad at putting ball in bucket.  Wood, Thompson, Eddie - all junk from two.  van Zegeren, too, except that he gets some putbacks.

The dangerous part for VT's opponents is that Eddie will shoot your lights out from deep if you let him; Wood can do that too, to some extent, and Wilson doesn't take many threes but he's deadly when he does.  This is a good game not to have the pack-line sag off too much.  Extending the defense and daring Tech to beat us inside, where we have some pretty damn good athletes of our own, is a likely strategy.

-- Outlook

In this game, the country's 8th-best two-point defense takes on the worst interior scoring team in the conference, and a team that takes care of the ball well lately goes against one that has no interest in getting turnovers at all.  There are big, big mismatches in various categories here.

I wasn't a fan of the Justin Anderson alley-oop at the end of the FSU game - except in one respect. It showed whose turn it is to be the big kid on the block. The big kids don't lose games like this. They efficiently and ruthlessly take care of business and move on.  With a sellout crowd for a Saturday game at a great time of day for students to show up, and an opponent that everyone hates and loves to see struggle - and struggle is exactly what they're doing - the atmosphere should be excellent.  In my season preview I wrote that VT is a potential time bomb the way they shoot threes, and will probably score a big upset somewhere because of it.  So that could always be now.  But UVA has superior athletes just about everywhere, a better system, and P.S. we're rolling.  That train should roll on for at least this weekend.

Final score: UVA 71, VT 57

Thursday, January 23, 2014

acc season sim 2014

I can't believe I forgot that I did this last year, but for a short time there, I did.  Better late than never though.  This is a simulation spreadsheet of my own creation, which projects the ACC season and returns each team's likelihood of landing in a particular seed in the ACC tourney.  It's not perfect, of course, as you'll see when I run down the rules, but it's fun.  The aforementioned rules:

-- It uses KenPom's projections of how likely a team is to win a particular game.  For example, UVA has a 96% chance of winning the VT game on Saturday and a 25% chance of winning at Pitt next weekend.

-- It simulates 1,000 times.  I did 10,000 last year, but I'm sacrificing some precision to preserve some personal sanity.  (It uses Excel's random number generator, which refreshes every time you make any kind of change.  That meant that every time I wanted to update any damn thing at all, I would have to wait for it to complete literally over two million new calculations.)

-- Tiebreakers are given to the team with the higher KenPom rating, not the team that won the game between the two.  Excel has its limitations.

I won't bore you with the rest of the mechanics.  Here is the simulation as it looked on Sunday, which we'll call the outset.

And here it is after the ensuing week of play.

Probably the weirdest thing is that Pittsburgh moved to the first seed even with a loss to Syracuse.  (Not after the loss to Syracuse per se - the outset sim reflects that loss.)  Pitt, however, demolished Clemson on the road, which KenPom rewarded by moving the Panthers ahead of the Cuse in his ratings, and thus Pitt, for now, has the tiebreaker.  Also, Syracuse has a pretty rough schedule.  They're staring down future road games against all the other top four teams, all of which KenPom gives them less than a 50% chance to win.  Pitt has to play all the other top four teams too - all at home, where KenPom gives them a win probability ranging from 68% to 80%.

Some quick data from the most recent sim:

-- UVA's chance of a top-4 seed (and a double bye): 86.5%
-- UVA's chance of a top-8 seed (and a single bye): 100%
-- Currently would play the winner of the UNC (7)-Wake (10)-VT (15) seed group

I plan to update this every Thursday.  The ACC week basically runs from Saturday to Wednesday thanks to ESPN's Monday games - not ideal, in my mind, but not worth a rant either.


Here is the second week of sims:

You'll see that UVA and Syracuse remain stubbornly in the 2nd and 3rd spots, respectively.  Cuse still faces that tough schedule, and math has decided they're bound to lose sooner or later.  What may surprise is Duke in the top spot, now, flipped with Pitt which has plunged to fourth.  Duke's current chances at the top seed, nearly 43%, are mildly surprising.

Duke has a nice cushy schedule left, though.  After their trip to Syracuse tomorrow, they're favored to win every game, and now that they've whipped Pitt on the road, they have nothing left away from Cameron but relative cupcakes.  This is more or less why UVA remains in such a lofty position as well.  The bottom five teams in the ACC - that is, all of them with two or fewer wins - all remain on UVA's schedule.

The obvious top four of Duke, Pitt, UVA, and Cuse, in some order, is becoming better and better established, while Clemson and FSU are staking out strong claims for at least a single bye.  And then you look at the bottom of the list, where the single highest number on the whole matrix appears.  Virginia Tech is practically guaranteed, it would seem, a basement finish.  They hurt their cause badly this week with their second loss of the season to Boston College, so the ersatz tiebreaker I use now in fact represents reality in this case (as it will in maybe 2/3 of the cases by the end of the year.) 

Data from last week, updated:

-- UVA's chance of a top-4 seed (and a double bye): 96.99%
-- UVA's chance of a top-9 seed (and a single bye): 100%
-- Currently would play the winner of the UNC (7)-Miami (10)-VT (15) seed group

I need to correct some errors from this section last week: it said BC but should've said VT (and does now); I reflexively used the second-to-last team as the 15th forgetting that, duh, there are 15 teams in this league.  That also means the 9th seed technically has a single bye.  Not that this last one changed the numbers any, but yeah, if this were a 16-team tournament, like it was in the Big East, the 9 seed would have to get past DePaul the 16th seed before playing the 8th.

Final point: thanks to the Excel tip received last week, I'm back to 10,000 sims.  I definitely prefer that level of precision, and making my processor run literally millions of calcuations only once now is highly preferable as well.


Presented without commentary for now because it's late.  I'll deal with the verbiage tomorrow.


So.  UVA takes a surprisingly commanding lead.  This is not a complete shock given the mostly cushy schedule.  It's still surprising.  Reflected there is the fact that UVA is KenPom-favored in all its remaining games while Cuse is the KenPom underdog in two - its road games at UVA and Duke.

Duke's inability to make up any ground on UVA hurts them, too.  They should not have made that left turn at South Bend earlier this year.  Duke is threatening to smash the previous KenPom record for offensive efficiency - how that team lost to a lousy defensive squad in Notre Dame is beyond me.  But it's a big fat anchor for their regular season title hopes.

The top four is sorting itself out into a top three plus one, which is exactly as expected following the UVA-Pitt game.  Winning that helped keep us out of where Pitt is now.  You've then got UNC and Clemson battling for 5th, which is to say, play Pitt in the tourney and not Duke, Cuse, or UVA, so that's important.  NC State and FSU fighting for 7th, Maryland and Miami for 9th (very important, as 9th is the last single bye), and GT and ND duking it out for 12th (totally pointless.)

And as usual, the biggest lock of the whole thing is VT bringing up the rear.  If they could finish 16th out of 15, they would.  All together now: awwwwwww.

The Hoos have already clinched the single bye.  They can finish no lower than 8th even by taking a big fart the rest of the season.  Better yet, by the time we speak next week, they might just have clinched the double bye; they can do this simply by winning their next two and seeing UNC lose to Duke.  It can also happen if they win only one, but the scenarios are too convoluted for me to bother looking for all of them.

At any rate, the sim offers a 99.99% chance of getting the double bye.  I can live with those odds.  The only simulated season out of 10,000 in which they didn't, they lost all the rest of their games.  If UVA got the first seed, currently and in the sim they would play the winner of FSU-Maryland, the 8/9 game.


It's not terribly surprising to see UVA on top of the sim this week.  Not at all.  We already know all about Syracuse's difficult upcoming schedule, and they didn't help their cause, obviously, by losing this week.  What's surprising is the number; KenPom is basically offering a near-lock guarantee that UVA ends up with the #1 seed.

For giggles, I switched the tiebreaker - remember, I use KenPom's rank as a tiebreaker, and Cuse has fallen to 3rd in the ACC behind Duke and UVA - and gave Cuse the higher rank, and when you do that, UVA moves to about an 88-89% chance of the top seed.  So we're still looking at pretty nice odds.

One thing this can't do, because KenPom is slow to react, is account for teams on hot streaks, like, say, UNC.  Thus, UNC is stuck with astoundingly solid odds of just missing the double-bye.  Pitt does have an easier remaining schedule than the Heels - mainly due to not having to play Duke anymore - but the way the two teams are trending it's hard to buy that UNC is the one headed for the 5th seed.

Anyway, UVA.  Given that we need win just one more game to clinch no worse than the 3 seed, and the magic number with respect to Duke and the 2 seed is 2, it's no surprise that anything lower than 2 is just statistical noise.  But with catching Syracuse at home, Syracuse's difficult schedule, and the very short path left to go to remove Duke from the picture, our rooting focus should be whatever it takes to win the outright, no-tiebreakers-necessary regular season title.  The ACC doesn't count that as a championship, but we can put it on a banner anyway.


Got two sims this week.  I decided to run one with a UVA loss and one with a UVA win, in the Syracuse game.

The top one, obviously, is the win.  If UVA wins, that's it.  Everyone else is fighting for #2.  No tiebreaker necessary, either.  But you knew that.  What's interesting is that the probabilities say if Syracuse loses, they likely go crashing out of 2nd and into 3rd.  KenPom calls it just about a tossup that they'll win at Florida State, while Duke's one remaining road game is at Wake and then they finish at home against UNC.  8th and 9th, which is what we're interested in with this scenario, are a fight between NC State and Maryland, although that fight is about nothing more than who gets to wear their white uniform for the game.  Wake Forest could creep into that spot, but not so likely that you'd want to bet on it.

Second one down is in case of loss.  Boo.  But thanks to that trip to Tallahassee for the Cuse, and really, one extra opportunity to trip up as well since they have two to play after this Saturday, UVA would still be a heavy favorite for the number 1 seed.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

too-early preview: defense

Second half of last week's ridiculously-too-early preview of next year's football team.  This is the more optimistic half, which isn't saying much.


This is a tale of two positions, really.  Defensive tackle is probably in pretty good shape.  It's not deep; this past season, UVA was forced to turn to walk-on Greg Gallop for non-garbage-time snaps, with predictable results.  There is much potential, though.  Chris Brathwaite, who broke out in 2012 and ought to have been poised for a big year before having to leave school, is enrolled again, and will return.  (After seeing what Brent Urban did this year, at first I was all "man, it's too bad they didn't get to play together this season" and then I was all "what would we have done, go 4-8?")  Brathwaite, if the promise of 2012 wasn't his peak, could be a monster player.

So could Andrew Brown, who is also enrolled and will participate in spring practice and is a lock not to redshirt.  He can't; the depth chart doesn't allow it.  David Dean, who'll be a junior, presents another breakout candidate.  If all goes well, UVA just may have a really, really nasty three-man rotation.  And they'd be backed up by Donte Wilkins, who earned snaps as a true freshman last year - partly due, again, to the depth chart, but the experience should pay off at least a little.

Notice a lot of coulds and maybes, though.  Brathwaite, with 10 TFLs in 2012, is the closest we've got to a sure thing, and he'll be almost two years between games by the time he gets back on the field.  Brown is a recruit with colossal potential, but he's a true freshman.  And have I mentioned the lack of depth?  UVA goes three deep at DT, and that's all.  The expected performance range for this unit is from basement to ceiling.  At least something on this team has a high ceiling, but if they can't live up to it, picking up the slack could be hard.

At defensive end, there's little to be excited about - Eli Harold and that's about it.  Harold, if he continues his upward development as a pass rusher, should be a terrific one, but how much he can hold up against the run is (at best) up for debate - he's listed at 230.  The rest of the DE corps is absolutely loaded with question marks.  Trent Corney probably isn't going to contribute more than situational pass rushing, though if he accelerates his development he does have the size to be the strong-side DE we completely lack.  Michael Moore very badly needed a redshirt season - he didn't get it, and his development is way behind schedule as a result.  Marco Jones has been held back by injury.  Jack English has some possibility as a SDE, but he's a redshirt freshman and isn't a total lock to stay at DE.

With no help to be expected in the freshman class, the DE situation looks perilous.  There's about one-half of a proven quantity: Harold, with demonstrated pass-rush skills but little yet to show against the run.  There's nobody else who's done anything of note.  Jake Snyder will be missed more than anyone knows, I think, unless something clicks with Moore, Jones, Corney, or English.  All have the size to fill Snyder's SDE shoes, but likely, not yet the knowledge.


Here, UVA returns two very productive veterans.  Henry Coley and Daquan Romero were 1-2 on the team in tackles, exactly what you want out of your linebackers.  And Romero did so while playing with a shoulder injury.  Defensive tackle has the highest potential ceiling on the team, but these guys make the linebacker position the most likely to actually reach the ceiling.  Which itself is pretty high.

After that, though, you have to go down to 13th on the tackle list to find another linebacker, and that's Max Valles, technically a Sam linebacker but really more of a stand-up defensive end, in the game to find the quarterback rather than cover a tight end or diagnose a screen pass.  The next real linebacker was Demeitre Brim at 15th on the list, with only 18 tackles.

So, much depends on what Jon Tenuta wants to do with this position, but I find it hard to believe he'd have turned to Valles - despite Valles's speed - if he felt he had a true multidimensional threat for the third spot.  Brim will be in his junior season, and he'll be an option, along with Mark Hall and Zach Bradshaw, each of whom saw a few snaps.  The coaches hinted they'd have played Bradshaw more if he hadn't been hurt, so I'd tentatively wager on him as the top non-Valles option to start with.

Should anyone go down with injury, D.J. Hill should be able to step in; he's a clear step down, but he's capable and can handle the job either inside or outside.  It's also going to be a make-or-break season for Kwontie Moore - another player who should have redshirted, but didn't.  Part of his problem is being stuck behind productive players so far his whole career, but that just puts another point on the list of reasons why he should've redshirted.

I think it's fair to expect a productive season out of this unit, mainly thanks to having two experienced seniors in Coley and Romero, but they'll also be asked to do a lot.  With a likely weakness at DE, the 'backers will have to get to the edge quickly and consistently.  They have the ability to, particularly Romero, who made snuffing out screen plays his specialty in 2013.  There's depth here, too, at least in the raw numbers, so the only major question is how the unit will be used by Tenuta.


No depth problems here.  UVA loses one player - senior safety Rijo Walker.  15 scholarship players will return and four more will join them (and Mike London continues to gleefully recruit more) meaning that, barring attrition, at least 19 players will vie for four spots on the field.  And ironically, they're all pretty much locked down already, meaning we have a lot of languishing scholarships.

Your cornerbacks are Demetrious Nicholson, Maurice Canady, and Drequan Hoskey.  That's the lineup, barring injury.  Tim Harris and Divante Walker got some time in the rotation, with the path partly cleared by Nicholson's injury last year.  And I will say this: probably the top place on the field for any defense to include some personnel flexibility is by going to a nickel package, so you want a little extra playable depth there in order to feel comfortable with three cornerbacks on the field.

That said, if nobody gets hurt, there'll be a lot of guys riding the pine and not getting reps in practice.  The same holds true for safety, where Anthony Harris is a returning all-American if you ask the right people, and Brandon Phelps has at least somewhat of a grasp on the free safety position.  I would never, ever have said "don't recruit Quin Blanding" and his addition to the secondary is a welcome one - he may, if reality matches the hype, push Phelps for playing time.  But there are also some players getting absolutely buried here, too.  Anthony Cooper hasn't been heard from, and one wonders what role Malcolm Cook will have this year, too.

Performance-wise, expect a good year.  I don't know how much I should qualify that statement, but there's talent in this secondary.  I don't expect Harris to repeat his 8-INT performance, as that sort of thing is damn near impossible to replicate, but if he gets just half that it'd be solid.  We've got the requisite three starting cornerbacks, as well as way more depth than necessary at both safety and corner, and probably the only drama in terms of personnel will be whether Phelps hangs on to his starting job or whether someone like Cook or Blanding makes a strong push for it.


Some football-related news deserves some football-related coverage.  First is the decommitment of Will Richardson to NC State, not 24 hours after his official visit apparently went so well that he was "as solid as [he's] ever been," other schools were "out of the question", and other dishonest and now-useless quotes lifted from the various recruiting articles.

Teenagers are by nature capricious and not especially forward-thinking people, but Richardson's decision strikes me as little different than Brad Henson's fly-by-night switch to UNC.  Henson stated he kept everything secret at the request of UNC's coaches because "that just causes problems," by which he meant he didn't have the guts to face Mike London with his decision.  Richardson is apparently cut from the same cloth.  One of his hosts was Andrew Brown, and it would be fun to see if Brown remembers being lied to the next time UVA faces NC State (c'mon, do you think Richardson ever mentioned NC State to any of his hosts?), but that won't be until 2018.  Brown will be gone by then, unless he redshirts, which he won't.  (Let's hear it for ACC scheduling!  NC State is like 150 miles away and might as well be Utah State for all the 2014 class will know of the conference.)

Speaking of scheduling, that came out, much earlier than in previous years, so at least the conference finally got its shit together in that regard.  Yes, it's a tough schedule.  Some very strongly held opinions of mine as pertain to that issue:

-- Mike London is in his fifth year of coaching, and therefore "but it's a tough schedule!" holds no water.  The whole Coastal is full of beatable, middling-good to middling-bad teams.  If you can't be competitive in your fifth year, you don't belong.  So it's time to show us the money.

-- The nonconference schedule is challenging, but not overwhelming.  Or such would be the case if we weren't coming off a 2-10 season.  Nevertheless, calls to back out of the UCLA game are indefensible.  UCLA was 6-8 the season before that was scheduled.  "Hey, sorry, we think we'll probably lose to you guys, so we don't want to play it anymore," is a really shit reason to weasel out of a game.  Besides, we could play Somalia State four times and if we don't fix what happened in the conference portion of the schedule we'll still go 4-8.  We need to concern ourselves with what's happening against the teams we measure ourselves against and line up in the standings against rather than whining about not getting to play four different VMIs.

-- Assuming nothing happens in field hockey or soccer, our game against Louisville in mid-September will be that school's first-ever contest in the ACC.  That's not an opinion, it's a fact, but it's kind of a neat one (and would be even neater if we weren't going to get beat by 30.)

-- Virginia Tech got their special little fellatio from the conference again.  That setup where they play Saturday-bye-Thursday-Thursday-Saturday.  Nobody else in the conference gets this deal, ever.  Not the defending Coastal Conference champs, not the defending Orange Bowl champs, not the defending national champs, not anyone.  VT lobbies for this and the conference gives it to them.  It makes them come off like total assholes for bitching the way they did about having to play Thursday after a Saturday game the way about half of all ACC Thursday night games are.  Littlepage needs to lobby for a bye week before their game (and none for Tech) every year Tech gets handed their scheduling present.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

flying high again

The Ozzman cometh.  Take it away, Ozzy:

Got a crazy feelin' I don't understand
Gotta get away from here
Feelin' like I shoulda kept my feet on the ground
Waitin' for the sun to appear

Mama's gonna worry
I been a bad, bad boy
No use sayin' sorry
It's something that I enjoy

If you could be inside of me
You'd see, you'd see what light I see
Flyin' high again

I'll pinpoint to you exactly when I last felt this damn good about Virginia basketball: shortly after the beginning of the second half of Basketball On Ice.  The Hoos were ranked in the top ten, and they'd apparently figured out, faster and better than the recent Final Four entrant MSU Spartans, how to deal with the absurd floor conditions.  UVA had erased an MSU lead and was slowly building one of their own when the refs and coaches decided enough was enough.

After that, UVA, despite being ranked in the top ten, muddled their way through the rest of their nonconference schedule, clanked their first two ACC games, brought about a small midseason resurgence, and then watched it come crumbling down the rest of the way to the tune of a first-round NIT exit.  (Which I still blame on Keith Jenifer.)  Hardly the fate you'd have expected in late November when UVA was considered one of the country's elite teams and was poised to prove it against another member of that club.

I had pretty mixed emotions about that MSU game - I mean, yeah, that game was obviously both dangerous and a mockery of basketball, which you could tell after four seconds of watching.  At the same time, dammit, we were winning, and for reasons which you might guess, I really wanted to beat Michigan State especially.  The season never seemed the same, and the Hoos, who had been to the NCAA tournament only a few months before, wouldn't return for another five and a half years.

UVA has had some good years in the interval; why's this different?  So many reasons - the margins of victory in ACC play; the knowledge beforehand that this was a good team; maybe just a little giddiness over the realization that UNC is not only mortal, but capable of really bad basketball; close to absolute confidence in the coach who's orchestrating it all.

I think it's more this: 5-1 is something UVA hasn't done in 20 years.  Fan Recency Bias ("what just happened will always happen") is something we must always watch out for, but the more games that pass under the bridge, the less that particular flaw in fan psychology comes into play.  When you do something once or twice, caution is always warranted; when you do something for a month, maybe that's just what you are.  I've been trying to convince myself that the teams we've seen have been at best badly flawed and at worst god-awful, and they are, but how many of them do you have to see before you're winning because you're that damn good, instead of because they're that damn bad?

Whatever the answer, we're almost there.  I mean, NC State and Wake Forest are not good ACC teams, but it's not like they're horrendous. UVA waxed the floor with them.  KenPom says Florida State is the 16th-best team in the country right now.  UVA waxed the floor with them twice.  UNC beat a bunch of really, really good teams.  UVA waxed the floor with them while complaining about not playing good UVA basketball.  The walk-ons went in against UNC.  Even if UNC isn't anywhere near their standard, and you're of a Hokie mind that UVA is just filling a vacuum at the top rather than actually knocking anyone off a pedestal, the top is still the top - and the point is to be better than all the other teams, not better than all the other teams at their historical pinnacle.

I suppose this is where we put the obvious reminder that nothing's really been accomplished yet.  In fact, UVA is still a bubble team as far as we ought to be concerned.  If the team goes .500 from here on out.... they're probably not dancing.  The reason for the excitement is how unlikely that seems.  UVA is a deep, deceptively athletic team playing with a ton of discipline, within a system that they know especially well.  They can no longer sneak up on anyone, but it won't matter most nights.


-- I wasn't exactly a fan of alley-ooping at the end of the Florida State game.  Akil Mitchell said something to the effect of FSU was chirping all game and playing just a little on the other side of chippy, and even if so, you still look like the bad guy when all of a sudden you throw down a highlight dunk at the end of a blowout.

That said, the technical on Anderson was stupid; if he'd let go of the rim in a "timely fashion" he'd have broken his back.  That was more for dunking at the end of a blowout than for hanging on the rim.  A real Karl Hess move - and it gave the teams the opportunity to discuss the events to date in a reasoned and diplomatic fashion.  For which FSU's Okaro White earned a reprimand from the ACC office and more T's were handed out.

-- Anthony Gill had a really, really nice game against UNC - on defense, which hasn't been a calling card of his so far.  He's learning positioning and how to use his body strength without fouling.

-- I'm going to use the occasion of London Perrantes's 9-assist effort against UNC to mention that his most KenPom-similar seasons involve some pretty damn good players.  Perrantes's freshman year is most comparable to the freshman seasons of point guards James Robinson of Pitt, Eric Atkins of Notre Dame, Corey Schaefer of Lehigh, Yogi Ferrell of Indiana, and Scottie Wilbekin of Florida.  With the exception of Schaefer, those are big names.  Some of them very big.

-- UNC is making me look like total moron for claiming that they're legit ACC contenders.  They looked awful.  Marcus Paige had an off shooting night, which helped, but that team looked like impostors in Carolina blue.

-- FSU's Boris Bojanovsky looked like one of the worst-passing big men I've ever seen.  He seemed to have a bottomless bag of awful decisions.

-- We need to talk more about Perrantes.  No casual viewer, unfamiliar with the UVA roster but knowledgeable about basketball, would guess he's a freshman.  When he came out of nowhere to pick off that UNC pass and start the 2-on-1 break, I would guess, just by watching, that he knew three steps in advance how he'd finish it.  It's like when Justin Anderson baits an opponent into getting his shot blocked.  Basketball IQ is not how I'd describe how those two play, because to me that phrase means a knowledge of not just what you're supposed to do but why you're supposed to do it - and what everyone else is doing too.  How the individual pieces of a scheme work together.  Not that these guys don't have that, too - but what Perrantes and Anderson really have is basketball sense.  I think they're more instinctual than cerebral.  If you want an example of the difference, think of Will Sherrill and Akil Mitchell as more cerebral players.  Both needed a little time to learn the system, but once they did they took to it like a fish to water and rapidly maximized their athletic abilities.  Perrantes and Anderson play the system too, but they're also drawing on a large well of innate instincts to fill in the gaps.  I remember writing, when Jontel Evans was a freshman, that I liked how I felt with the ball and the offense in his hands.  I feel exactly the same only much more so with Perrantes.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

game preview: North Carolina

Date/Time: Monday, January 20; 7:00


Record against the Heels: 50-128

Last meeting: UNC 93, UVA 81; 2/16/13, Chapel Hill

Last game: UVA 78, FSU 66 (1/18); UNC 82, BC 71 (1/18)


UVA: 63.4 (#330)
UNC: 72.2 (#22)

UVA: 108.8 (#81)
UNC: 106.1 (#132)

UVA: 88.2 (#5)
UNC: 92.6 (#17)

UVA: .9172 (#15)
UNC: .8268 (#41)

Projected lineups:


PG: London Perrantes (4.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.4 apg)
SG: Malcolm Brogdon (10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.9 apg)
PF: Akil Mitchell (6.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
C: Mike Tobey (7.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg)

North Carolina:

PG: Marcus Paige (17.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 4.2 apg)
SG: Leslie McDonald (9.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.6 apg)
SF: J.P. Tokoto (9.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg)
PF: James Michael McAdoo (14.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.5 apg)
C: Joel James (3.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.2 apg)

So Florida State turned out not all that scary, and the supposed advantage of being able to make adjustments never panned out for the Noles.  (Actually, it's more like this: I suspect they were made, and I base this on FSU's pretty good shooting percentage, but two things gave UVA the win.  One, a leopard can adjust but can't change his spots, and FSU's spots happen to spell "turnover machine."  Two, somehow I managed to totally forget that UVA won that Tallahassee game without Joe Harris.  Getting him back was the best adjustment you can make, case closed, game over.)

However, I remain wary.  UNC's start to the season has been awful, sure.  Most everyone will lose to Syracuse, but good teams don't lose to Wake and Miami and let BC give them a run in their own gym.  Then again, nobody else is going to beat Kentucky and blow out Louisville and Michigan State in one year, either.  Carolina is liable to blow up at any minute if you ask me.  Let's just hope they wait til after Monday.

-- UVA on offense

Whatever the problem with UNC, it's probably not defense.  Even in most of their losses, the opponent scores less than 1 PPP.  Carolina gets steals, blocks shots, defends shooters, all the stuff you'd expect out of an athletic and fairly big team like UNC basically always is.  It's not just the guards getting in on the swiping; shooting guard Nate Britt is tops in steal rate but not far ahead of James Michael McAdoo, a power forward who's more athletic than most of the conference's power forwards.

UNC's backcourt rotation, though, is all over the charts.  The above starting lineup is nigh-guaranteed to be wrong.  A couple weeks ago, in the Heels' season preview, I wrote that it has all the appearances of Roy Williams practically pulling names out of a hat just to see what sticks.  The starting lineup against Boston College more or less confirmed that; it included junior forward Jackson Simmons, who's been averaging 7.5 minutes a game.  (Fun fact: Simmons is so little-used that one of his KenPom "most similar" comparisons to his season last year is Jerome Meyinsse's '08 season, when Meyinsse was a sophomore and firmly glued to the bench.)

Williams's conundrum is that, other than McAdoo and Brice Johnson, his frontcourt is pretty much generically interchangeable.  They all foul a lot, for one - if any of them were 25-minute players, they'd spend a lot of time in foul trouble, but they rotate out so much that it's not a concern.  (What will be a concern will be Akil Mitchell making his free throws.  He could find himself at the line five or six times.)  Johnson fouls a lot too, but he's a heck of a shot-blocker, elite rebounder, and even chips in with steals, and in general is UNC's best defender.

For our part, UVA has had some trouble lately with shot-blockers, seeing over 10% of their shots rejected, but the good news is that UNC is mostly lacking in enormous galoots like Boris Bojanovsky and Beejay Anya.  Okaro White is a player not unlike McAdoo, and White got three blocks on Saturday, but overall I think UVA will fare better here and have less trouble in the rejection department.  But they will have to make free throws, because of that UNC tendency to put people on the line.

Overall, UVA will probably find scoring fairly tough, barring another explosion of threes.  (They were 7-for-11 against FSU.)  UNC is kind of a middling rebounding team - McAdoo looks like a solid rebounder but that's largely due to getting so many minutes.  He's actually not a great rebounder.  Johnson is better, and Kennedy Meeks is a widebody big and pulls down quite a few (and in far, far fewer minutes) but otherwise they're quite average on the defensive boards.  All that said, defense is something UNC does well, so the odds are against another 40+ point half.

-- UVA on defense

The alpha and omega of UNC's offense is point guard Marcus Paige, a prolific scorer who does point-guardy stuff pretty well, too.  Paige is almost never out of the game, and UNC always runs an up-tempo game, so his scoring numbers are slightly inflated - but only slightly.  He shoots equally often from three as from two - and almost all his twos are jumpers.  Paige does quite like the pullup, preferring it almost exclusively to driving all the way to the rim.  It keeps his free-throw rate down, which is a small plus for defenses since he's almost automatic at the stripe.

McAdoo, meanwhile, is beginning to improve his consistency, becoming a better shooter on the two-point midrange shots he likes.  He, too, gets a much larger percentage of his shots away from the rim, but in his case the numbers are skewed a little because it doesn't count as a shot if you're fouled and miss - and McAdoo is fouled a lot.  Teams beat him up because he's barely a 50% shooter at the line.

UNC also gets some good complementary scoring from Brice Johnson, and to a lesser extent J.P. Tokoto, but Tokoto is not going to consistently hurt you, and you don't really mind the ball in his hands.  He's more liable to give it back.  Another Heel with turnover issues is Nate Britt, whose UNC career is off to a really rough start.  Britt's shots aren't falling, he's turnover-prone, and he recently relinquished his starting spot to Leslie McDonald.  McDonald's efficiency has gone down quite a bit after a hot start, but he's a better alternative for the Heels than Britt, who saw just 10 minutes against Boston College.

Profile-wise, UNC is interesting in how much they eschew the three-point shot.  No team in the country gets a smaller percentage of its points from threes, and only Paige and McDonald usually bother shooting them.  (Tokoto may let one fly, but he's one you almost dare to shoot them.)  I'm sure you're thinking by now how much the pack-line may find a favorable matchup in this, and you're probably right.  UVA may want to play this the way they used to play Erick Green's VT teams: let the star (in this case, Paige) go completely off and try to shut down everyone else.  McAdoo is a good place to focus the defense - if a guy like Tokoto beats you, well, OK, but that's not likely.  This would've been an easier strategy when UNC was relying more heavily on Britt and didn't have McDonald, but still.  Double-team, frustrate, and hack McAdoo and UNC looks a lot less frightening.

-- Outlook

I'll probably never in my life believe UNC is a dead team till I see it for like four or five years in a row, and certainly not in a season when they've beaten so many national title contenders.  But, for whatever reason, this Tar Heel team has gotten off to just an awful, awful start to the ACC season.  Virginia Tech beat the Hurricanes, so there's no reason anyone else shouldn't either.  Wake Forest's ACC losses have a combined 12-3 record, but still.  Boston College is absolute crap and no real UNC team would've been caught letting them be within two points, in their own Dean Dome, 30+ minutes into the game.

So if I'm gonna be in the business of predicting outcomes, I just can't pick a team with no momentum and half a set rotation, on the road, against a team that's made a habit of setting fire to its ACC competition and coming one stupid-lucky bounce short of beating Duke in their own barn.  UVA is fired up after a chippy outing against FSU; the ending of that game was the perfect antidote to post-rout complacency.  Is it possible UNC could find themselves and explode for 85 points, controlling the tempo the whole way and throwing cold water on UVA's early-season magic?  Absolutely it is.  But the signs don't point in that direction.

Final score: UVA 64, UNC 56

Friday, January 17, 2014

game preview: Florida State

Date/Time: Saturday, January 18; 12:00

TV: ACC Network, ESPN3

Record against the Noles: 19-22

Last meeting: UVA 62, FSU 50; 1/4/14, Tallahassee

Last game: Duke 69, UVA 65 (1/13); FSU 63, Miami 53 (1/15)


UVA: 63.3 (#333)
FSU: 68.3 (#134)

UVA: 107.5 (#112)
FSU: 110.0 (#68)

UVA: 87.6 (#3)
FSU: 89.2 (#6)

UVA: .9137 (#17)
FSU: .9179 (#15)

Projected lineups:


PG: London Perrantes (4.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.4 apg)
SG: Malcolm Brogdon (10.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.6 apg)
SF: Joe Harris (10.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 apg)
PF: Akil Mitchell (6.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
C: Mike Tobey (7.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 apg)

Florida State:

PG: Devon Bookert (8.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 3.1 apg)
SG: Montay Brandon (9.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg)
SF: Okaro White (12.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 1.3 apg)
PF: Robert Gilchrist (4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 0.3 apg)
C: Boris Bojanovsky (6.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.3 apg)

The first rematch of the season is Saturday, with Florida State coming to town looking for revenge.  The game in their building wasn't especially close and the Noles looked horrible, which may well have spurred them on to better things; they're on a three-game winning streak.  UVA needs this one in order to ensure a good shot at a good homestand, by which I mean going at least 2-1 if not 3-0.  North Carolina is no pushover, after all, even if they're winless in league play.

-- UVA on offense

Big teams are usually good on defense, and Leonard Hamilton teams are usually good on defense; since FSU is both, it stands to reason it'll be tough to score.  FSU has height everywhere, not just down low, and it results in them being the second-best team in the country at defending two-point shots.  This is one of the few teams against whom UVA won't find a size advantage in the backcourt; quite the opposite, actually, since the Noles feature 6'7" Montay Brandon at shooting guard and nobody under 6'3".

Nearly all the time, the Noles will have a shot-blocking seven-footer on the court, as they platoon their centers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo - in a 40-minute game, they'll both be off the court less than eight minutes.  Bojanovsky is a taller, skinnier Mike Tobey in so many respects - skilled, not yet playing to the potential folks think he has, no ups to speak of, looks like a way-overgrown 12-year-old but doesn't shave in an effort to look closer to 15.  He's 7'3", though, so naturally he blocks all the shots.  So does Ojo.

In the backcourt, the most dangerous defender is probably Aaron Thomas and his two steals a game.  Thomas is technically a reserve, but plays starters' minutes.  FSU is pretty good overall at creating turnovers, but it's not what drives their elite defensive rating.  It's the shot-blocking and the low, low shooting percentages from opponents.

There's one chink in their armor, and it's a surprising one given their size: defensive rebounding.  Bojanovsky in particular has an embarrassingly low rebounding rate for a guy his size, or even for a guy half a foot shorter.  So does starting power forward Robert Gilchrist.  Ojo is much better when he's in (which is only 13 minutes a game) and Okaro White is an excellent athlete and does decent work on the boards, but FSU is 291st in the country in defensive rebounding.

So Tobey ought to be important in this game.  Interestingly, despite being one of the country's elite offensive rebounders (weird but true for a Tony Bennett team) he was held scoreless and almost entirely ineffective in the last matchup.  Even though the Hoos won handily, that probably can't happen again; UVA's frontcourt, but Tobey in particular, need to do some quality work against FSU's biggest weakness.  Doing so last time (an incredible offensive rebound rate of close to 40%) was one of the biggest reasons for the easy win.

Good ball movement and transition baskets are two more weapons an offense has to neutralize opponent size, and UVA did both pretty well last time as well as limited themselves to only six turnovers.  Still, it's a testament to Florida State's defense that UVA destroyed the Noles on the offensive glass, didn't turn the ball over, and still scored below the point-per-possession mark.  It's just a fact of life for this game that scoring won't come easy.

-- UVA on defense

Defense and a really sloppy first half from FSU contributed mightily to the near-blowout a couple weeks ago; UVA can control one of those two items.  Part of the reason this can be a good matchup for UVA is FSU's style; they prefer to go inside (who wouldn't, with that size?) and limit three-point attempts.  They're not actually terrible at shooting them, they just don't have that one single guy who's a go-to shooter.  If anything, that might be Ian Miller, but he doesn't make you go argh just by hoisting up for the shot.

Come to think of it, though, maybe that sloppy first half can be repeated; as with their defense, FSU does most things pretty well and one thing really badly.  That one thing is take care of the ball.  They turn it over more than once every five possessions, which is stinky as hell.  They're 33rd in the Slop Factor metric I literally just thought of, which I got by subtracting a team's opponents' steal rate from their turnover rate; in other words, only 32 other teams in the country turn over the ball unprovoked more than the Noles.

UVA's obvious tendency to collapse and sometimes double-team in the paint clearly is a good way to defend Florida State.  A lot of those turnovers obviously come from FSU's bigs, but their primary ballhandlers, Miller and Devon Bookert, can be pretty loose with the ball too.  Other than Montay Brandon, FSU's guards are all over 2 TOs a game.

FSU is strange in another way: their two leading scorers come off the bench.  These are Miller and Aaron Thomas.  Okaro White is a third primary threat; there's a pretty big dropoff after that.  The backcourt players, save Brandon, are all excellent free-throw shooters and like to slash at the rim, so foul discipline is key.  Both 7-footers, though not primary or even secondary scoring options, can be somewhat rangy shooters if you let them, though unlikely to do like Tobey and attempt 15-footers.

-- Outlook

UVA won the last game by pounding FSU at their weaknesses: turnovers and defensive rebounding.  That's exactly how they'll need to approach this one.  The Hoos will be at a disadvantage, in that the team that lost the first game has much more ability to adjust.  Being at home will help, but the home-court advantage could be mitigated by the early game time.

Despite all that, you have to like UVA, despite the fairly dominant streak of games FSU has played in the past couple weeks.  The team that doesn't have a pair of glaring weaknesses (only one, which isn't the kind that's worth game-planning to exploit), playing at home, has got to be the smart pick.  Though I don't expect the game to be as wide-open as last time, I think the odds are in our favor on this one.

Final score: UVA 56, FSU 50

Thursday, January 16, 2014

next three

UVA's cagers are back home for a full week after playing three of their first four games on the road.  It's the first of two three-game homestands, each lasting a week; you play nine at home, so these are two-thirds of the home schedule right here.  This one, though, presents unique challenges.

One is that, obviously, if home games are clustered like this, so are road games.  Following this homestand, UVA is on the road for five of the next seven, a period of time of about three weeks.  It's a grind and a half, so you gotta get your kicks in at home when you can.

Obstacles abound, though:

-- It's another week of having a game on Monday, a schedule dictated by TV and the second of three times we'll appear on TV Monday night.  These Monday games leave very little prep and rest time since you play on Saturday, to say nothing of my ability to get in a preview of the game.

-- Florida State is the first opponent.  "But we already beat them once, and at their place," you say.  Yes, which is exactly what makes them dangerous.  That loss affected them the same way Tennessee did us, and they've steamrolled three opponents since, two on the road.  And, all else being equal, the team that lost the first game has the advantage in the second - they have more adjustments they can make to level the playing field.

-- And UNC is the second opponent.  I don't believe for a minute that their 0-3 league record means they're not going to be trouble.  They're still talented and until I see a long string of well-refereed games involving them I still have to believe they're going to get the special handjob.

-- And VT is the third opponent.  OK, well, come to think of it, they're pretty bad.

-- Besides the three weeks of mostly road games, the two immediate games after the homestand are at Notre Dame and Pitt.  ND is a total enigma at this point - maybe the best explanation is that beating Duke was something of a fluke, but after three losses in a row for them I'm not sure what to make of the Irish.  Pitt is one of the top teams in the league.

All this adds up to a real need to go 2-1, at the barest minimum, over the next three.  Go 1-2 and you run the real risk of frittering away the 3-0 start into a sub-.500 record at the halfway point.  Very, very bad for tournament aspirations.  (So is losing two at home, come to think of it.)  Go 2-1 at least and we'll see some momentum to carry into the road games.  Go 3-0 and, jeez, I get lightheaded just thinking about potentially being 6-1.  Then we're really talking about serious potential.  But, you know, one game at a time and all that.  Give 110%, credit to my teammates, etc. 

Anyway, the next game is always the most important until the one after it, so in another month we'll probably be talking about how season-changingly important this next stretch of games is.  But I know this much: if we mess it up and go into the next three-game homestand at like 8-6 and in Lunardi's "first four out" we'll all look back at this week and talk about what a missed opportunity.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

banner drama

It may not have escaped your notice that there's a new look at the top.  This isn't my choice; I was asked today by the University, in the same sense that TSA asks you to step over, latex gloves in hand, for a more thorough cavity search, to not use the images that used to be on the banner.  Copyright and all that.

I'm reasonably confident I could make a more-than-solid fair use case for doing so.  This isn't a commercial enterprise and I'm selling nothing.  The courts have specifically said collages are "transformative" and that makes them a fair use, and they've also specifically said they're not interested in tiny-sized copyright cases.  Eagles going after gnats don't impress them.  The school couldn't say which images, exactly, were copyrighted by them, although I can say for a fact they have no say about the Tony Bennett one, because this is that picture - obviously taken while he was at Washington State.**

That said,

2) this blog has never put so much as a sou into my pocket, so its budget cannot pay for a Snickers bar let alone a lawyer
3) fighting with people whose lawyer budgets are infinity times your own is a poor survival tactic

Besides, I suppose someone has a copyright on the Tony picture.  And I'm not really into pissing off the institution I profess to admire and root for.  This round goes to the Man.

So, in lieu of fighting City Hall, I need a new banner.  I'd been thinking of getting one this summer anyway, considering I have a countdown clock on the career of one of the prominently featured characters.  And, getting to the real point here, volunteers.  I can make a passable banner, but graphic artist is next to lawyer among the skills I don't have when I'm being honest with myself.  I offer nothing except your name credited how you like, same as with the last one, and I'll figure out some guidelines later.  (So don't, like, immediately whip something up and send it tomorrow morning.)

**Ironically, when the designer of that banner and I were going back and forth on drafts (which consisted of her doing the work while I opinionated) one of the early drafts included an image of London in Richmond gear.  Had that one stayed, would I have been able to say, go to hell, I'm using that picture?  Likely answer: yes, until they forwarded the note along to Richmond and then I would have had two schools on my case.

the recruit: Darious Latimore

Name: Darious Latimore
Position: CB
Hometown: Lawrenceville, GA
School: Central Gwinnett
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 170

24/7: 86, three stars; #67 CB, GA #72
ESPN: 75, three stars; #54 CB, GA #90, SE #448
Rivals: 5.5, three stars
Scout: three stars; #117 CB

Other offers: Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Georgia State

By this time in the recruiting cycle, things have started to go south - fast.  No, that's not a bad joke on pulling a recruit out of Georgia, nor a negative commentary on Darious Latimore.  Latimore, however, committed on October 21 following an official visit for the Duke game.  The previous commitment: Jeffery Farrar, in August when all was sunny.  By the time Latimore committed, the team was 2-5, the eventual nine-game losing streak was four games in, and it was really starting to dawn on us that this season was going to suck.

Latimore claimed, however, that seeing the team's locker room response to the loss was part of the reason he decided it was something he wanted to be part of.  Whatever it was, it fired up the commitment train again; UVA has not since gone that long between verbal commitments.

The man himself is a consensus mid-three-star, bordering on the low side of the range, with an interesting slate of offers that raises that assessment somewhat in my book.  A player with his ratings, you'd expect to have maybe a smattering of CUSA-type offers with maybe a Mississippi State or Kentucky thrown in.  Aside from the very local Georgia State, none of those schools bothered - but he did land one from Tennessee and as far away as Kansas State.

Part of the reason for the oddly low number yet high status of the offers is that he's newish to the position.  I'd guess he hasn't grown much since his freshman year, because he started at defensive end, moved to linebacker after one year and to cornerback the next.  Jon Tenuta likes big cornerbacks who can play on an island; Latimore fits the size bill and ESPN uses "aggressive" twice in their writeup.  (It's a very favorable writeup, in fact, and doesn't give any indication of why he's "only" a mid-three star, though ESPN does have him ranked the highest at his position of any of the services.)

You've probably seen me say it before and you'll see me harangue on it again, that much I promise, but there are now too many cornerbacks on the depth chart.  Barring attrition, I count ten, which is crazy because 85 scholarships for 22 starting spots lets you go about 3.5 deep, on average - ten CBs means we go five deep at that position, and London is still recruiting players who could be slotted there.  Latimore is not moving to offense - this remains a possibility for a guy like Farrar or recruiting target Daniel Ezeagwu, but not Latimore.  This makes it at least a little easier to predict his future.  For starters, if Latimore doesn't get a redshirt this year it'll be infuriating; we have three perfectly good starting corners (you always want three, not just two) and two freshman backups who got a load of playing time this year (Tim Harris and Divante Walker) not to mention a freshman in Kirk Garner who has a load of potential too.  Harris, Garner, possibly Walker, possibly Wil Wahee unless he's a safety, comprise the next wave of cornerbacks after Nicholson, Hoskey, and Canady graduate, two of which will do so after this coming season.

That puts Latimore hopefully two years behind that group.  He has good potential - not great, as there's very probably a reason beyond just inexperience that everyone refused to rate him higher than middle of the road.  But he's also a guy that the coaching staff zeroed in on very quickly and pushed hard to land.  Other things being equal, I tend to personally be higher on players with a set position than a nebulous athlete of the "we'll figure that out when he gets here" sort; maybe that's me subconsciously preferring order to chaos, but a Rivals 5.5 player with a clear and obvious position, to me is far preferable to a 5.5 maybe-DE-maybe-LB-maybe-TE sort.  The problem with that is you have to waste a lot of development time figuring out the right slot.  Latimore won't have that problem, and I'd like to think he can redshirt with the notion of learning the tricks of the trade rather than learning the trade.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

too-early preview: offense

Why am I veering right back to football?  Gluttony for punishment, I can only assume.  As with last year, we'll take an eight-months-out look at how the various units shape up.  Unlike last year, I'm not going to bother incorporating too much overanalysis into the previous season.  I already told you: F's all around, except for the bright spots I mentioned earlier.  But what can we expect in 2014?


Another position battle, one is forced to assume.  There's a sizable contingent of folks who think David Watford should be given zero more chances to ever take a snap again; an opinion based on what I think is the overly haughty viewpoint that one has assessed Watford's abilities and found them not only lacking but totally incapable of improving.

Why, I wonder, should quarterbacks be exempt from ever improving year to year?  They're not, of course - they almost always improve year over year, just like every other position.  I mean, that's just intuitive.  Saying something like, "I've seen him all season and he'll never get better," is a manifestation of Fan Recency Bias - in other words, whatever just happened will always happen, particularly if it was bad.  People evaluate everything through that lens, so, especially the most spotlighted position on the field.

This is not to say that Watford was any good this past season.  He stunk to high heaven, with the exception of a few midseason games, where he merely played inefficiently.  The coaches should give him a chance to re-earn the job in the offseason, as much as anyone, but give him no incumbency bonus whatsoever either.

Mike London is nothing if not loyal, so Watford will probably be in the conversation in the spring.  Greyson Lambert as well.  Corwin Cutler comes in with enough hype that it's hard to imagine he won't at least get a long look, but he won't be around til the fall.  Matt Johns and Brendan Marshall seem likely to be career backups, but it's early in their careers and nobody should be writing them off.

However, all that said, I don't pretend to know anything anymore about Mike London's quarterback decision-making, as it doesn't often make any sense.  His mismanagement of this position is why he's in this pickle as it is.  We can talk all we want, but only one thing is sure: the identity of the guy under center next September is a total mystery from here.


Everybody returns, unless for some reason the coaches decide to non-invite Khalek Shepherd.  Unlikely but a remote possibility.  I'm not worried about the production of the running backs except to the extent that the offensive line can't block.  Kevin Parks hit that 1,000-yard mark this year.  If Taquan Mizzell's role expands, Parks probably won't repeat the feat, but I don't see Shepherd or Kye Morgan unseating Parks, who did a very nice job of entrenching himself.  At least someone played well enough to do that.

With Shepherd, Morgan, Mizzell, and hopefully Daniel Hamm too, whose running I liked quite a bit even though it was only VMI, there should be enough depth to both move LaChaston Smith to linebacker and redshirt Jordan Ellis.  Perhaps Richmond will give us enough of a fight where London won't be tempted to dig down to Ellis in the depth chart, because playing Smith in garbage time against VMI ranks as the stupidest non-redshirt decision of the year.

At fullback, Billy Skrobacz graduates, so as of now the coaches have only Connor Wingo-Reeves and Vincent Croce to turn to; they may add another possibility from the ranks of walk-ons, defensive ends, or wherever.


Here, UVA loses Tim Smith to graduation and E.J. Scott to Wake Forest; Scott finished his degree and transferred almost immediately, making him the first attrite of the offseason.  That makes Darius Jennings and Dominique Terrell the greybeards of the unit, and, man, it's hard to believe that the excitement of signing them as a pair of potentially dynamic playmakers was so long ago.

Those two will open camp with a head start on everyone for playing time, but their grip on the position is anything but ironclad.  This is a deep unit (in terms of sheer numbers, not actual production) and there should be plenty of competition.  It starts with Keeon Johnson, who impressed at times as a true freshman and is most likely to push for playing time.  If I were laying down odds, Vegas-style, on who would be the leading wide receiver this coming year, Johnson would have the second-best after Jennings.

Miles Gooch, Adrian Gamble, Canaan Severin, and Kyle Dockins all go into a big mixing bowl to see who'll come out as a reasonable option.  I'd lean toward Gamble and Severin - Dockins looks to have a lowish ceiling and Gooch has probably already hit his.  And then, of course, the wild card: Jamil Kamara, only recently added to the recruiting class.  Kamara has the talent and potential to upset the hierarchy, but we'll see just by how much.  Zack Jones will probably redshirt, and Andre Levrone will emerge from a redshirt cocoon to be another wild-card contender for at least a few snaps early on.


The coaches may look to bolster the depth here by plucking from another position, or simply by considering incoming freshman Evan Butts a candidate to hit the field early.  Of course, Jake McGee will continue to be around as a pass-catching option, but his blocking still is anything but elite.  Zach Swanson looks like a more all-around tight end, though it's a pity the coaches wasted time running him at fullback and he's only a secondary pass-catching option at best.  There's still a need for a guy like Butts for depth, because Rob Burns is too awkwardly built to be a truly effective blocker and Mario Nixon is an unknown, having been injured all this season.


Uh.  Hmm.  Yeesh.  OK, let's see: Luke Bowanko and Morgan Moses graduate, which is bad news, especially in Bowanko's case because he can no longer be used as a crutch at center.  Bowanko could play anywhere on the interior, but ended up at center more often than not because nobody else proved capable of handling the job.  Ross Burbank and Jackson Matteo will once again be given the chance to win it, and barring something unforeseen it'll have to be one of them this time.

Guard looks fairly well set - not in stone, but maybe in pencil, with Jay Whitmire and Conner Davis relatively likely to stick.  Cody Wallace will be in the picture too, but he's never been able to hold down a position when given one, and like Shepherd is a remote possibility for a non-invite.  (Certainly not at all likely given the depth issues, though.)

At tackle, things are more wide open.  Eric Smith probably earned himself a spot with his play last year, which, when a true freshman is seizing an opportunity like that, is a good sign for the future.  Whether that's at right or left tackle remains to be seen.  The favorite for the other tackle spot may be Sadiq Olanrewaju.

Depth will be an issue.  UVA will have three upperclassmen, total, on scholarship on the O-line, and too few linemen in total.  It won't help if George Adeosun's injury that he dealt with all last season is career-ending, as has been hinted.  We know nothing about what we can get out of guys like Sean Karl, Michael Mooney, Ryan Doull, Jack McDonald, but we're going to have to find out because most will be on the two-deep somewhere.  There'll be competition from incoming freshmen Will Richardson (assuming his commitment sticks), Steven Moss, and Jacob Fieler, the latter of whom will be at spring practice, but the best-case scenario probably does not involve any of them overtaking the more veteran players.  Most likely: one of them probably will.

In any case, this equivalent post last year was hard on the O-line for its play in 2012 and pessimistic about 2013.  Nothing happened this year to make me think I was wrong in my pessimism, nor change that outlook for next year.  There may be some improvement in places - Smith and Whitmire look like potential bright spots.  Davis has probably peaked, however; one tackle spot is a total unknown; and the two candidates at center (only the most important position) already failed once to lock down the job.  If one of Burbank or Matteo can leapfrog forward and really, I mean really, seize the job, the outlook will improve a lot, but the pace of their development - Burbank has been groomed for this for a while - is not encouraging.  I don't need to say that how the line shapes up will determine a lot - they and the quarterback will hold Mike London's job in their hands.


Defense is next week.  Watch as I harangue on the lack of depth on the line and over-depth in the secondary.