Between losing the CAA marathon and going on the road to beat Wisconsin, UVA already presented one of the most puzzling resumes the NCAA tournament committee will ever see. Apparently, just to drive the point home, the Hoos went and – well, had the week they had.
There have been a lot of season highlights for UVA, but barring a surprise run in the ACC or NCAA tournament – or maybe an NIT championship or something – the win over Duke will have to go down as the best. Even Mike Krzyzewski’s uncalled-for complaints about UVA’s court-storming security couldn’t put a damper on a tremendous evening in which UVA led the game wire-to-wire and won the game far more decisively than the five-point margin indicated.
The bottom-line truth was that UVA’s players outplayed Duke’s and UVA’s coaches outcoached Duke’s. Basic plays like the simple pick-and-roll were run to near perfection at times, and UVA got a career-high 36 points out of Joe Harris. Harris had been steadily raising his career points ceiling with multiple career highs in the past couple weeks, and the Duke performance put him in the conversation for ACC Player of the Year. Akil Mitchell had a tremendous game as well. And UVA was outstanding on defense against Mason Plumlee, who played, in the final assessment, pretty poorly. Duke was able to stay in it with some clutch threes here and there from Seth Curry and Quinn Cook, but they clearly were not ready for UVA’s physicality, nor, as it appeared from Krzyzewski’s sideline ravings, for an evenly-called game from the zebras.
With such a dominant performance against the #3 team in the country in hand, a naïve UVA fan might have expected an easy one on Sunday at Boston College. Experienced fans know better, and feared a hangover. The hangover won out as Virginia just couldn’t solve BC’s defense, and somehow watched an 11-point lead dissipate into thin air in the last ten minutes of the game. During that period, the Hoos managed only nine points. Still a young team, the Hoos clearly are still working on the killer instinct that comes naturally to teams that are used to being good.
The BC loss takes the Cavs out of the driver’s seat for the ACC tournament’s 3rd seed that we’ve talked about in the past; they no longer control their own destiny in that regard. That honor now belongs to North Carolina. However, if they win both of their last two games – at Florida State and then against Maryland at home – then they’ll force UNC to do the same or else relinquish the 3rd seed to UVA, who earned the guaranteed tiebreaker over the Heels by beating Duke. With the postseason rapidly approaching, there’s no time like the present to solve the inconsistency that has been the hallmark of the season.
Brendan’s bio: I’m just this guy … this ordinary Virginia graduate and fan who woke up one day realizing his opinions on everything UVA could no longer be contained in one space. Thus was born From Old Virginia, a labor of love where you can find obsessive opinionating on Virginia football, basketball, lacrosse, baseball, and whatever else when the mood strikes. And if that’s still not enough for you, go to the Twitster and follow @MaizeNBlueWahoo for the dumb stuff that pops into my head when I’m watching the Hoos.