For such a long time, Virginia could do no wrong, winning seven ACC games in
a row and moving from the bottom quarter of the ACC standings all the way up to
first place. But on Saturday in Cassell Coliseum, the Hoos ran into a buzz saw
and got smoked by a Hokie team that came to play. If you had told me before the
game that (a) Coleman Collins and Zabian Dowdell would score 11 total points;
(b) Virginia Tech would win by 27; or (c) both of the above, I never would have
picked (c). But it was that kind of day.
I’m really liking this ACC basketball. I like that as an observer, you
better watch, because you never know what you’re going to see. There was
nothing in the previous two weeks to indicate that the Hokies were going to
thump the Hoos like this. But alas, there you have it. Two minutes into Tech’s
game with NC State ten days ago, you could tell the Hokies “didn’t have
it,” and two minutes into this one, you knew the exact opposite.
You know the old saying, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see
it”? In basketball, “it” is like that. I think that Seth
Greenberg generically defines it as “spacing” on offense, contesting
shots on defense, and getting to “50-50 balls.” When your guys pass
effortlessly, shoot without thinking about it, and always seem to be in the
right place on defense and rebounds, then you’ve got “it” that day.
The Cavaliers, who had been playing with so much confidence and looked like
such a solid team recently, suddenly collapsed into a team that had nothing but
two good guards to offer, and neither one of them was having a particularly
outstanding day. As good as J.R. Reynolds and Sean Singletary had been, it was
the rebounding contributions of Jason Cain and the scoring contributions of
Mamadi Diane and Adrian Joseph that had put the Hoos over the top the last few
weeks. Reynolds and Singletary really made the team go, but without the
contributions from those other guys, there’s no way they could have pieced
together seven straight ACC wins, the most for UVa since Ralph Sampson prowled
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