Locker Room: UVa has excellent draw, Duke favored
Nobody needs to be reminded of the horror stories of recent NCAA Tournaments for Virginia. The Cavaliers just experienced a similar happening a few days ago in the ACC semi-final against FSU. Will it happen again? Does UVa feel pressure? Yes, it could happen again. Anything can always happen in the NCAA Tournament, and yes, I’m sure there is concern, pressure if you like. But the pressure builds on every team. Every time you take the court you know if you do not play well, everything ends with an alarming suddenness.
However, I do not see anything crazy happening to the Wahoos this time out. UVa has a good draw as top seed in the South and I don’t see them having any trouble reaching a Final Eight matchup with Tennessee, and I would pick them to win that one too.
Virginia Tech got a nice 4th seed in the East, and I think has good matchups. The Hokies can potentially be a Sweet 16 team; however, Duke awaits and if the pundits are correct, the Blue Devils will win it all. The tournament is confusing to me in some ways though. For instance, Tech is in the East Region. So, they get to fly to San Jose, California to play. I fail to find any “East” in that.
Gonzaga should win the West and will likely face Michigan in the final of that region. At least the West Region is played in the west. The Midwest is easily the toughest of the four regions. Carolina, Kentucky, Auburn, Houston, Kansas, and Washington are all in that region.
I think the easiest region is the South, then the East, the West, and the Midwest is a dogfight. I’ll go with UVa out of the South, Duke will eventually have to beat Michigan State, but I’ll take them to be in the finals, Gonzaga should win the West, and somehow, I’ll take Carolina to come out of the Midwest, but it could be Kentucky. So, my Final Four is UVa, Carolina, Duke, and Gonzaga and those are the four number one seeds and would seem to indicate somebody from ACC should win it all.
Jack Fleming Said it:
Jack Fleming was the voice of the West Virginia Mountaineers in both football and basketball and for the Pittsburgh Steelers in football for many years, and he was a great radio play by play man. One of the very best. Great guy too. But Jack used to get irritated with hoops. It was toward the end of his broadcasting career that all the new gimmicks, rules, and regulations came into play along with the television timeouts and such. I totally agree with him. A basketball game is 40 minutes long, and it seems like it takes roughly 90 minutes to play the first 39, and sometimes a half hour to play the last one. And now we have all the replays and officials are stopping play for reasons that really don’t matter very much too often.
But ol’ Jack once said, “When my doctor tells me I have only a minute to live, I’m going to find me the end of a college basketball game so I can stay around as long as possible!”
New Coach at Forest:
Jefferson Forest has named Paul White to replace Bob Christmas as new football coach. Christmas left to take the job at Amherst. White was the coach of the “Builders” of Newport News Apprentice School.
White has 25 years of coaching experience and has one interesting period in his career. He was the offensive line coach at Permian High School in Odessa, Texas for four years. That is the high school that was featured in the movie “Friday Night Lights.”
Finally getting around to this tidbit. Under the direction of Bronco Mendenhall Virginia’s football program has increased its geographical reach. In this just completed recruiting class the Cavaliers signed six players from Florida, two from Louisiana, and one from Utah. But UVa is the only team to sign two from Germany!
Kariern Al Soufi is a 6-4 330 offensive tackle, and Luke Wentz is a 6-3, 205 multi-purpose player. Both hail from Paderborn, Germany. Just head over to Sylvatus and take a right.
Immigration An Issue in Many Ways:
Immigration is a hot topic in our nation these days, and it can crop up in many different ways, but you wouldn’t think it would be in college sports, but we quickly get remined that there are a lot of foreign players on college basketball teams, a lot more than most might imagine.
The week before the Big 10 Tournament started Issa Thiam was dismissed from the Rutgers basketball team for slapping a woman and swinging at her with an open blade knife. He is now likely to be deported back to Dakar, Sengal.
A Lighter Note:
Rather than end the column on a disturbing note, how about a little humor for a friend of mine who shall remain nameless because if I told everybody who his favorite NFL team was, he would be upset with me, particularly after the following.
It was at a Redskins’ game this season, and things were not going well again for the team that is the favorite of many in this region of the land. But a Redskin fan found something positive to say while he watched his team lose again. In the fourth quarter he stood up and raised a sign with big letters. “At least we’re not the Jets!” A little humor helps us get through the day.