Here's a loose track train... of thought!
The RotationHere's how I'm going to attack this thing, position-by-position, minute-by-minute.
The 1) London Perrantes averaged 33.2 minutes per game last season. Let's call it 34 for this season, which leaves 6 minutes at point up for grabs. I get the feeling the staff really wants Ty Jerome to get that time, so he's not totally green when he's asked to take over at point next season. HOWEVER, there will be close games when Perrantes needs a break, and that's when Devon Hall slides over to handle things. Break it down like this: Perrantes 34, Jerome 4, Hall 2.
2) I think Devon Hall draws the start tonight, and goes on to log the most minutes of anyone in the scrum for this position. He was at 21.9 last season, let's say he bumps it up to 24 this season, leaving 16 up for grabs. I'm guessing Darius Thompson and Kyle Guy split that right down the middle, 8 minutes apiece. Hall 24, Thompson 8, Guy 8.
3) Marial Shayok is likely the main man in this spot, expanding last season's 15 mpg to somewhere around 20. That leaves another 20 to be split up... again by Thompson and Guy (either of them at the 2 with Hall sliding down to the 3 when we go small). So for overall minutes calculations, call this: Shayok 20, Thompson 10, Guy 10. (I'm saying De'Andre Hunter redshirts.)
4) Isaiah Wilkins is my pick for *breakout player of the year* and I think his PT rises from last season's 21.4 to a solid 25 this season. That leaves 15 mpg for Jarred Reuter, Mamadi Diakite, and Jay Huff. Lots of mouths to feed. Give each one of those baby birds 5, I guess. Wilkins 25, Reuter 5, Diakite 5, Huff 5.
5) Austin Nichols matches Wilkins' 25 mpg, leaving another 15 on the table for Salt and Diakite. I suppose we could also go small with Reuter/Huff stealing some time here, as well. Okay, 2 mpg for each of them, 9 for Diakite, and 2 for Salt.
starter: Perrantes -- 34 mpg
starter: Hall -- 26
starter: Shayok -- 20
starter: Wilkins -- 25
starter: Nichols -- 25
6th man: Guy -- 18 mpg
7th man: Thompson -- 18
big off the bench: Diakite -- 14
Reuter -- 7 mpg
Huff -- 7
Jerome -- 4
Salt -- 2
Hunter -- redshirt
The playing time battles:
- Tug-of-war between Kyle Guy and Darius Thompson for those combined 36 minutes on the wing. (I'm hedging my bets here early, but ultimately I favor Kyle Guy in that duel.)
- Hall vs. a hard-charging Guy for time at the 2. Hall has to be able to score a semi-reliable 10 ppg. If he struggles to do that, Guy has an opportunity to eat into Hall's 26 mpg. I think it happens, especially later in the season, when 'buckets generation' is at a premium.
- Reuter vs. Diakite vs. Huff for minutes backing up Wilkins. If Diakite fits at the 5 and can force Salt to the bench, then it opens things up for the other two guys.
- Diakite vs. Salt for time behind Nichols at the 5. I already laid out the parameters for a Diakite victory over Salt, but that could be premature. I'll admit, there is some appeal to a "Bang Bros" frontcourt of Reuter/Salt (which we'll see tonight!)
- Jay Huff vs. Jarred Reuter, just in general. They'll be fighting over the same chunk of minutes. And if Reuter wins that battle, then we're looking at...
- Jay Huff vs. the redshirt. Some believe he's a future NBA early entry candidate. But at this moment, he's still a raw, springy, skinny pogo stick with some shotblockery skill and a yoohoo-sweet stroke from deep. I'm not sure how much he can help this season, and if we can get four years out of him, then we should redshirt him this season. Stay tuned tonight, and see if he plays against UNCG.
UNCG? Yeah man, UNC Greensboro, tonight's opponent. Which brings us to...
The OOC Schedule
I'll kinda divide our schedule up into sections. It'll be fun.
|Happy Birthday, Keondre!!!|
UNC Greensboro (in Greensboro) -- This is a tougher season-opener than you think. It's essentially a road game, Nichols and Diakite are out, and UNCG has a deadly 3-point sniper (Francis Alonso) and a big-assed banger (R.J. White). Cupcake? Hoos win after a nice battle from the Spartans.
|We need to tenderize this piece of meat by|
hammering him with Salt tonight.
St. Francis (NY) -- Cupcake. Hoos chow down and pull to 2-0.
Yale -- Their Round-of-32 squad has been decimated by graduation and injury (Makai Mason). What once looked like a potentially tough game now looks like a sweet, soft, delicious, fattening cupcake. Yum. 3-0.
Grambling State -- They have a lot back from a shitty 7-win team. Not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Cupcake. 4-0.
Iowa (in Florida for the Emerald Coast Classic)-- The Hawk Guys have some talent, but they're young. Virginia will probably have begun to gel by this point, and I actually see us winning this game fairly easily. 5-0.
Memphis or Providence (in Florida for the Emerald Coast Classic) -- Bring it on, chumps. We've simply got you outclassed. 6-0.
Ohio State -- Fuck the Big Ten, and fuck playing this game for the second year in a row. We deserve Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, or Purdue. Still, the Fuckeyes have the goods to give us a stern test on our home floor. Has the feeling of last year's Cal game, but I think maybe we don't get so lucky this go-round. Loss. 6-1.
West Virginia -- Man. Glad it's at home. How about this: We drop one of these two games, OSU/WVU, but not both. So I'm calling this one a win. I like London vs. Press Virginia. 7-1.
In any case, if we get out of these first eight games with seven wins on the résumé, we'll be doing pretty well.
ECU -- Meh. Typical MAC-level trash, except they are in the
Big East American Athletic Conference. Who wants a 40-point "it all comes together" type of blowout on December 6th? 8-1.
Robert Morris -- A middle-tier mid-major. We crush them on our home court. 9-1.
@ California -- Our first true road test, and I think we come up short 'gainst the revenge-minded and Rabb-fueled Golden Bears. 9-2.
After that, it's the ACC season, with a weird OOC game at Villanova at the end of January. Predicting a loss there, which puts us at 9-3 in the OOC. Hey, that rhymed.
The ACC Slate
In ACC play, we get home-and-homes with Louisville, Pitt, UNC, and of course, Virginia Tech. We get FSU, Wake, GT, Duke, and Miami at home and Clemson, BC, ND, Syracuse (grrrrrrrrrr), and NC State on the road. That's 18 games, right? Right.
My expectations, in some fucked-up, non-chronological order...
Sweep Pitt. 2-0.
Split with Louisville, UNC, and VT --- 5-3.
Beat Wake and GT at home. 7-3.
Split the toughies against FSU and Miami at home. 8-4.
Coin flip, Duke @ UVA, February 15, 2017. I say we beat those motherfuckers this year. 9-4.
On the road, we drop that revenge game to Syracuse. Grrrrrrrrr. 9-5.
But we do work at BC, ND, and NC State. 12-5.
That game at Clemson on January 14th is a big one, in my approximation. That's often a tough game for us, and now they're back in renovated Littlejohn, with Blossomgame raining points and Brownell coaching for his life. I'm saying we drop that one, guys. 12-6.
21-9 regular season? That sound about right?
It wouldn't earn us the 2-seed so many are predicting. It's more like a 4- or 5-seed, really. I'm comfortable predicting that, actually.
- 21-9 regular season
- 12-6 in the ACC
- 4th place in the ACC
- loss in the ACCT semis
- 5-seed in the NCAA Tournament
- advance to the Sweet Sixteen
- Jay Huff DOES NOT redshirt.
- De'Andre Hunter DOES.
- Isaiah Wilkins is our breakout player this season, pushes for 3rd team All-ACC.
- London Perrantes struggles under to pressure of trying to be our go-to guy...
- ...but then settles down once a new go-to guy is found: Kyle Guy. Kyle Guy ends up being our most reliable scoring option in the backcourt.
- Austin Nichols doesn't become a star for us until his senior year in 2017-18. This season, he battles through some up-and-down play.
- Mamadi Diakite picks up Nichols' slack and captivates our hearts and minds with his dizzying potential.
- Darius Thompson transfers after this season, as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer.
- The 2018 recruiting class ends up being the best in UVA history.
- We go to the Final Four and win the national championship in 2020, when the Guy/Jerome/Huff/Diakite core are seniors and the 2018 guys are sophomores.
|Go ahead and book tickets to Atlanta, Hoofans.|