March 4, 2015

Excitement... Or Fear?

Hey Jackass,

Now I know I hate you. "Only the NCAA Tournament matters?" Your [sic] the worst kind of Virginia fan.  Really, your [sic] a non-fan. Do yourself and you're [sic] readers a favor and take some time to smell the roses. Were in the middle of an all-time great season, Just enjoy it! Maybe you wont have so much anxiety about UVA sports. Better yet, just go kill yourself so this stupid blog can just go away.

~Anonymous Commenter, via Wahooze's "Give a Yell" anonymous feedback form

Okay, okay, okay... yikes.  Wow, yikes, ouch, and thanks for commenting... I guess?  I probably could have done without the invitation to commit suicide, but you know, thanks for commenting.

A few things...




I like this one, because, Cavalier.

4) Thanks for reading, thanks for taking the time to comment, thanks for inspiring this post, and go fuck yourself.  (Or go fuck you'reself, whichever one you understand, you fucking cretin.)

5) Now that that's out of the way, let me do a little bit of defense on my claim that only the NCAA Tournament matters.


Imagine, if you will, that Virginia beats Louisville, then wins three in Greensboro to take home the ACC Tournament Championship, lands that exclusive 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament... and then becomes the first-ever 1-seed to fall victim to a 16-seed upset, as some shitbag mid-major like Idaho, North Florida, or Seattle U gets hot from behind the arc in Dayton and carries it over into the first round game against us.  Think anyone would remember our impressive 29-1 regular season?  Think anyone will care about our ACC regular season title?  Think anyone would give a crap about the ACC Tournament championship?  Nope, we'd just be a laughingstock, the butt of every joke, and the Myron Medcalfs and Seth Davises and Jay Bilases of the world would suck down their sweet, sweet vindication as they circle-jerk themselves to blissful nirvana.

Deep down, I think every college basketball fan knows that eventually a 16 will beat a 1.

Deep down, I think every Hoofan [who has been a Hoofan for longer than a decade] knows that when that 16-over-1 upset occurs, it will most definitely be Virginia as the losing 1-seed.

This is what I call the Virginia Fan Condition.  Similar in every way to Beaten Dog Syndrome.  First cousin to Murphy's Law.  Some Hoofans know it as "Rule 2(b)."  Brendan from From Old Virginia says, "We can't have nice things."  It's all true.  Sad, but true.

It would be very Virginia of us to go 33-1, and then lose that first game in the Tournament.  And, sorry, I wouldn't be able to celebrate the 33-1, because I'd be too focused on the 0-1 Tourney showing and the fucking historic upset.

Okay, so that's absolutely the worst case scenario.  And realistically, this team is too good, too tough, too gritty, too resilient, too confident, and too talented to fall victim to said shitbag 16-seed.

But what if we end up tangling with a red-hot 8- or 9-seed like Georgia or Oregon and lose in the round of 32?  Would we be able to celebrate a great season then?  I know I wouldn't be able to.  And the Medcalfian Mob would be there to dance on our graves, circle-jerk and all.

YOU are what's wrong with college basketball.

So, in my eyes, there is hyper-intense pressure to advance through the first weekend of the Tourney, and make it to the Sweet Sixteen.  I find that kind of pressure more nerve-wracking than fun.  Did you enjoy watching us survive against Coastal Carolina last year?  I know I didn't.  It was more relief than euphoria.  The Memphis beatdown was fun, but only because the game was in hand from start to finish, so no nerves.  I need our first two games in the 2015 NCAAT to be like 2014's Memphis game in order to be able to relax and enjoy the first weekend of the Big Dance.

Once we're in the Sweet Sixteen, I feel like there's still pressure... this time to improve on last season's run and to prove all of the haters wrong.  I'd HATE to see us coast through Sacramento State and Ole Miss, only to go belly-up against a 4/5-seed like Baylor, Utah, Arkansas... or [much worse] one of the vogue mid-majors like Wichita State, Butler, or Northern Iowa.  Ugh.

Paul Jesperson cannot get the last laugh.

The burden of expectations, they are indeed a real bitch.

So I guess what I'm saying is that anything less than the Elite Eight would be a bitter disappointment; an unfit end to an awesome season.

But even in the Elite Eight, a soul crushing defeat could await.  I would not be able to stomach a loss to Gonzaga.  Or to [anti-UVA poster child] Iowa State.  Or to some lower-seeded upstart who gets hot like UConn and Kentucky did last season.

I don't want to say "Final Four or bust," because it's damn hard to make it to the Final Four, and I'd be mostly okay if we end up succumbing after a hard-fought game against Wisconsin or Arizona in the Elite Eight, similar to how we ended up succumbing to Michigan State last year.

But look, I'm just being honest here.  You can't start 28-1, put together the best start in school history, and then be free and clear of Tournament expectations.  A loss at any point before the Elite Eight would devastate our fragile fanbase.  I am keenly and consciously aware of that fact, even while a majority of Hoofans want to stick their heads in the sand about it and hide their fear among false bravado.

Bottom line?  I'm excited about March, because I'm always excited about March.  I'm doubly excited, because for the first time in my lifetime (or at least since 1995), I have a dog in the fight, a real, bonafide, legit national championship contender.  But because of that, I am triply nervous.  I guess you could call it fear.  You're only scared when you have something to lose, right?

I'm not used to this shit.


That's right, Indy or bust.  Anything short of that... isn't good enough.

THAT BEING SAID, potential silver linings of an earlier-than-we-should-lose loss:

-- Maybe it helps Justin Anderson to decide to return for his senior season, on the quest for vindication.

-- Maybe it helps the whole team find another gear they didn't know they had, in the engine of motivation for the 2015-16 season.

-- Maybe it keeps the potential copycat programs at bay for another season.

-- Maybe it keeps the potential Tony Bennett (and Ritchie McKay and Jason Williford) suitors at arm's length for another season.

-- Maybe it sets the stage for the best possible story, when we win the 2016 national championship.

Nope, screw all of that.  I want an extended Tournament run, and I want it this season.  Hoofans NEED it, this season.  We deserve it, this season.

Best of all, we have a team that can, should, and will deliver that extended Tournament run.  Just don't blame me for watching it unfold with my hands behind my eyes, terrified.  This dog has just been beaten too many times, is all.


  1. I hate this blog.

    1. I win?

      Thanks for reading!

    2. Hey Anonymous… I am going to assume you are the d-bag that wrote the first comment. I will start by stating that am not in 100% in agreement with Kendall. Winning the ACC regular season gets you a big fucking pat on the back and a nice entry into the Who cares sports Trivia Hall of Fame. Where I disagree is that winning the ACC tourney still carries a little bit of credibility. That being said, you won both last year and I will assume that you will do both this year. I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a deep run in the tournament to validate the last two years. To summarize…
      1) Considering you are probably 19, you don't have any knowledge of the early 80's DePaul teams that did exactly what Kendall alluded too. Take your head out of the sand and consider the possibility.
      2) I don't think the above will happen because Virginia is too talented, experienced, and well coached… BUT it did you can bet your sorry ass would be on The Sabre, the Corner and every other UVA board bitching about it, the team and Tony Bennett.
      3) Stop being an attention grabbing whore. This is America if you don't like it… don't read it. You know what this blog is about and you knew when you hit send what would be coming
      4) Consider typing your posts in Word and then cutting and pasting. There are wonderful tools such as spell checkers and grammar checkers out there.
      In conclusion... Kendall well done.; Anonymous STFU, turn off your parents' computer and let the adults have a conversation.

  2. I enjoy this blog.

    I might be a little green in my UVA-fandom to experience the pants-shitting terror you have described, but I agree that this team deserves at least an Elite Eight and really a Final Four appearance. They have been too damn good to not get that.

    Pacists gonna Pace

    1. Ha ha, "pants-shitting terror." That summarizes it pretty well, actually.

  3. If you hate it go away and quit reading/commenting douche bag.

    Kendall - I got your back; love the blog!

    tewaltef from 24/7

  4. Kendall I like the blog and enjoy your posts, but don't agree that only the tourney matters. Beating Maryland, VT, UNC and VCU on the road matters. Back to back ACC championships matter. College Gameday in Charlottesville matters. Getting national press for UVA matters. You can't take any of that away from this team. Are you really going to tell me you'd throw all of that away just because they catch a bad break in the sweet sixteen? Come on.

    It's not fair to the hardworking guys on this team to suggest that anything less than the final four is failure. This has been an amazing two-year run. I'm proud of this team and the way they represent my alma mater with class, grit and excellence. Let's celebrate that no matter what happens.

    By the way the personal attacks from the other commenter were obviously not cool. Bennett built an elite program on humility and respect, and we can all learn a lesson from that.

    1. No, you're right. Of course you're right.

      I just wouldn't ever be able to have the appropriate warm fuzzies about this season if we blunder in the Big Dance. Maybe that's just me?

  5. Big K,

    I love you, and you're blog. ( :) he, he. )

    It's the only blog I read because you, Mike, and Pierce do a great job.

    Hugs, and see you this fall.

  6. I respectfully disagree. I see the regular season as a separate entity entirely. We've had a great regular season, and while an upset in the tournament would be disappointing, the history books would still show two regular season ACC Championships and a one-loss regular season. That's something to be excited about. While it is the most important stretch of the season, it is not all that matters.

    1. Fair enough. But like I said, the Tournament matters so much more than any regular season accomplishments. In this sport, especially. College basketball is largely marginalized until after the Super Bowl, and most so-called casual fans don;t even pay attention until March. If we want to solidify Virginia as an up-and-coming basketball brand, we have to show well in the NCAA Tournament. If we want better recruits and we want to get them easier and more frequently, we need to win in the Tourney. Duke wasn't Duke until K took them to the 1984 Final Four. Michigan State wasn't Michigan State until Izzo's Final Four run in 1999. Florida sputtered as a basketball brand through numerous ugly upsets in the early 2000s... until Donovan's breakthrough championship run in 2006.

      I guess I just want to see Virginia fast-tracked as a new elite-level basketball power. Strong regular season performances and 1-seeds don't cement that. WINNING IN THE TOURNAMENT, that's what cements that.

    2. I agree with everything you say here, and I want all of this too. I just don't like hearing that the tournament is the only thing that matters. If we're speaking on what will bring in recruits and the "casual fan", then I agree with you. But to us fans of UVA, this regular season has been a huge deal, deep tournament run or not.

      Again, love the blog, whether we agree or disagree.