This team is incredible to me. I can't even really process it.
ACC regular season champs, two seasons in a row. The first time a non-Duke, non-UNC team has done this in 40 years. And not to poo-poo our players, but this team is so more than the sum of its parts, moreso than any team I've ever seen. We are 28-1, 16-1 in the ACC. Coach K would be .500 with this roster, I think. (Remember, he's 13-3 with a roster full of 5-stars and McDonald's All-Americans.) Roy Williams would be 5-13 right now. Brian Gregory would be 3-14... because Brian Gregory is always 3-14. Anyway, our players are great, and Tony Bennett is the best at turning five fingers into a fist.
I know we've gotten some bad press, but I don't care.
"Is Virginia's style bad for the game" and "UVA basketball keeps winning but that doesn't mean we have to like it" enraged our thin-skinned fanbase, and I understand all the reasons why. But look, like my friend Juwhan taught me, any press is good press. If your name is out there - good or bad! - it means your name is out there. We're ranked #2 and in the minds of everyone watching college basketball. There's no way that's anything other than a good thing! (But if you need a counterpoint to those articles the hacks wrote, try this or this or this or this or this.)
Seth Davis and the hack writers leeching onto this topic --- College basketball is not broken! So stop trying to fix it!
Bullshit: Why College Basketball Needs an EXTREME MAKEOVER!
We're witnessing innovation here!
Well, sort of. Really, we're witnessing the re-birth of team basketball. It's gritty, tough-minded, mature, controlled, resilient. It's old school and throwbacky. The skeptics hate it because it's different. Bennettball and the Packline isn't anything like the modern spread in college football, but think about it: 2014-15 Virginia Basketball = 2000 Oregon Football. Think about what I'm saying here. I think our Hoos are altering the landscape. I THINK OUR HOOS ARE MOVING MOUNTAINS!
London Perrantes is one tough son of a bitch.
Shaking off a concussion and playing great with a broken nose, and no mask. Our point guard is a freaking warrior.
Haters gon' hate me saying this, but Evan Nolte is a good player!
And don't look now, but he's shooting 45% from behind the arc in his last three games! Haters gon' hate, but Nolte is an important piece to this puzzle.
Tony Bennet gets credit for his defensive system, for doing more with less, and for building this program the right way, for long-term sustainable success... but I think we've found one other "best" trait:
Developing big men. Take a look at Darion Atkins right now, and be amazed.
Justin Anderson is about to return.
He's going to play against Louisville this weekend, I just know it. I'm excited about the adrenaline shot his return will provide! I just want to pause to remind everyone that Justin had been in a horrible slump since the Clemson game on January 13. You could tell, the form on his newly-rebuilt jumper was out of whack, for whatever reason. He was drifting. As a result, he was shooting 32.7% (including just 28% from three) during his most recent six-game run prior to the injury. The problem with that is that Justin was still taking shots -- 52 of 'em across six (really, five-and-a-half) games, 9.5 shots per game. On a team - and in an offense - built on efficiency, Justin Anderson had become an inefficient shooter. Maybe even a teensy bit of a black hole. Now don't get me wrong -- his defense, hustle, athleticism, energy, those are enormous assets for this team, and we desperately need those things again. Here's hoping he comes back to the team on fire like he began the season, when he was hitting 60% of his threes.
Somewhat lost in the shuffle, Brog is back for 2015-16.
He said it earlier this season, and then again after the Virginia Tech game. He's coming back. He's not leaving early for the NBA. Discuss among yourselves: Has there been a more complete player in UVA history? Ralph, okay, fine. Bryant Stith? Maybe? And Brogdon has this postseason and all of next season to finish writing his legacy.
Only the NCAA Tournament matters.
Here's my closing, a bucket of cold water over your head. The the fantastic regular season, the ACC regular season title, all of the attention and accolades and awesome play... none of it matters. March 19 thru April 6, THAT'S what matters. If we want the respect we know our team deserves, we have to win games in March. Last year's Sweet 16 run was nice, but now the stakes are significantly higher.