From Old Virginia tells us about the UVA Cavalier Basketball Team

We contacted Brendan From Old Virginia to give us the inside scoop on UVA Hoops this season. I asked him some necessary Al Groh and football questions and ironically one of them jumped up and bit me in the behind. If you wish to learn about our weekend hoops opponent, click the jump:

FTRS: Tell us about the State of UVA Athletics particularly the Big 2: football and basketball. Are both programs at an acceptable level for the average fans of UVA?
Brendan: Jeez. I hope we never get that complacent. No, going 4-8 in football is not cool, and the basketball team has been no threat to reach the postseason- any postseason - in the past few years. Also not cool. However, Mike London and Tony Bennett have earned the trust and patience of the average Hoo, and most would tell you they're pretty happy with where the programs are headed.
FTRS: Al Groh just stole a 5-star defensive end from Notre Dame. We know you're a recruiting aficionado. How big of a deal is it to reel in one or two five star playes per year in football?
Brendan: Well, I wouldn't get too excited, I just read the guy flipped right back to Notre Dame. It's tough going in the world of recruiting. Five-stars tend to be the nigh-exclusive property of college football hegemons like USC and Alabama. Most of them are from Florida and Louisiana and Texas and whatnot so that's exactly where they end up. It's pretty rare for them to end up in the middle-class like GT and UVA. If you guys could reel in one every year it'd be a huge deal; same for us. Curtis Grant is a five-star linebacker that UVA has a legitimate chance of getting, and if he signed with UVA, the party would last until September.
Editor's Note: the ink on this e-mail hadn't even dried when Tuitt decommitted...damnit...

FTRS: How big of a blow to the season was Mike Scott's injury? Has anyone stepped up to take his place?
Brendan: Crippling. Scott is the heart and soul of this team. An emotional, verbal, and by-example leader. Oh, and he was averaging a double-double. The way we played in the last three games, it's no stretch at all to say we could be undefeated in the ACC right now if we'd had Scott and played with the same competitive fire. Yes, that's including the road game at Duke. Not only does he score, he opened up opportunities for the perimeter guys. What Scott meant to this team can't be understated. The scoring load has been spread around a bit but there's nobody on the team with his talents. This was a pretty well-rounded team with him in the lineup; without him, it's totally one-dimensional.

Thank God he didn't play in one more game, because he's expected to get a medical redshirt and come back next year.
FTRS: Following that question, what is UVA's low post game like? Tech is fairly weak here and Tech fans find themselves terrified whenever we face a monster at the 4 and 5 positions.
Brendan: Offensively, it's non-existent. See above. Every so often, we can get a putback bucket, or someone that's sort of biggish like Akil Mitchell can drop a hook shot in. Effectively, though, there is no post game.

Defensively, we've actually been able to cover up for the loss of Scott by throwing double-teams around like Halloween candy. Throw it near the block and you will get double-teamed. The team defense is good enough to double-team and still rotate out when the ball leaves the post again. The only time you might not see a double team is when Assane Sene is in the game, because he's seven feet worth of quality defense.
FTRS: UVA, Clemson, and Wake are the only ACC programs to have had three head coaches during Paul Hewitt's tenure (Wake Forest's changes were not all intentional). Do you think this instability has resulted in Clemson having the worst ACC record and UVA having the thirdworst record since the 2000-2001 season?
Brendan: No, I think it's the result of sucky coaching. Oliver Purnell was at Clemson for quite a while; Clemson didn't have instability to thank for their reputation of fading miserably in the middle of every season, nor did they have instability to thank for my ironclad March Madness bracket-filling rule: "When in doubt, never bet on Oliver Purnell." Worked every time.

As for UVA, Pete Gillen and Dave Leitao were probably in over their heads. OK, yeah, this might be a better basketball team right now if we hadn't fired Leitao, but not that much better. I thought Leitao shouldn't have been fired when he was, but Bennett kind of makes you see the light about what a good basketball coach actually looks like. That Leitao has yet to be hired as a coach anywhere is probably telling.
FTRS: Who wins on Saturday afternoon?
Brendan: Ah yes. Two teams with a remarkable inability to take advantage of each others' weaknesses - this should be interesting. UVA has a little more size than GT, but not much to speak of. UVA has buckets of trouble defending three-pointers and GT is miserable at shooting them. The game's in Charlottesville, so I'll go with UVA. The pack-line defense should be pretty good at keeping your guys out of the lane; nobody's getting any points in the post; and I think Bennett will be happy to let the Jackets hoist threes til their arms fall off. If they go in, so be it, but they haven't as yet. Our guys are coming off three tough losses, any of which could have been wins, and I think they'll be hungry to see their efforts pay off. I expect a good crowd and I think UVA wins, 63-53.
Thanks to Brendan. I hope his prediction is wrong but Tech does have a tendency to struggle at UVA. Go Jackets!
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