All along, my goal for Wahooze was to give you something you couldn't find anywhere else. That only partially explains my lack of posting about basketball to this point in the season. I mean, we're a freaking juggernaut now. #2 in the nation. Legit national championship contenders. In basketball. Wow. Because of that, there's a lot more out there being written about the Hardwood Hoos... and lot fewer angles for me to hit here on Wahooze.
Yeah, so my goal is to give you something you couldn't find anywhere else. Failing that, I at least want to point you toward articles that I found to be especially good. That's all I'm doing today, while still plotting course on my big blowout basketball post for January 2015. In the meantime...
Pack-Line Progeny: How Tony Bennett Used His Father’s System to Turn Virginia Into an Undefeated Defensive Powerhouse
Patience, practice propelled Justin Anderson to starring role at Virginia
Titus’s Top 12 NCAA Power Rankings: Virginia Is Playing Near-Perfect Old-School Basketball
Really, you should be reading Titus weekly. He's BY FAR my favorite college basketball writer.
Okay, here's a quickie Wahooze exclusive, that special sauce you can't taste anywhere else...
Why I think we might be a legit Final Four (and national championship) contender:
It's not the defense. It's not the offensive efficiency. It's not any specific player or any specific system or any specific scheme. It's confidence. This team, these 2015 Hardwood Hoos, are a confident bunch. They believe in what they're dong, they trust one another, and they have confidence that they will succeed. Last season's team was awesome... but I never got a sense that they were all that confident. This year's team is totally different in that regard. Oh, and the other teams in college basketball (other than Kentucky) are just not all that good. The field is a bit watered down in 2015. So confidence plus lack of competition equals a deep run in March. But there's a flip side to that coin.
Why I'm not so sure that we are legit Final Four (and national championship) contenders:
Penetrating, drive-and-dish guards kill us. We haven't been good defending the pick and pop. Our defense hasn't quite been up to the standards set forth by past teams, and we really miss Akil Mitchell. Odds are good that, in the NCAA Tournament, we'll come up against a team with a guard like Miami's Angel Rodriguez who can split the perimeter defenders and drive to the hoop, and we'll be forced to try to win a shootout. If we're not hitting our 3s, we could lose said shootout. Every team has an achilles heel, and this is ours.
All of that being said, I want to go on record saying three things:
1) If Virginia faces Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament, Virginia is going to win that game.
2) Virginia matchup or no, Kentucky will not win the 2015 NCAA Tournament. (If you let me bet Kentucky vs. "the field," I'd take the field, and I'd take it with great confidence. I guess this is all to say that I do not quite buy all of the hype surrounding this Kentucky team.)
3) As good as we are, this season isn't even our best crack at a national championship. NEXT SEASON is when we'll have the real Virginia Basketball Juggernaut on our hands.