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My dear friend Deb came into town short notice, so I only saw this game with one eye sitting in a restaurant, but it was readily apparent that all the ills that have plagued this team this season were not cured by a bye week. In what will surely be the most overused metaphor for the 2020 Cavs, the game was a rockfight, but with a nice tweak to the script: Virginia led from start to finish.

 

Clemson44
Virginia51

 

 

Positive

A win is a win is a win. In his preview, St Lou noted that Clemson had, like us, been close late in all of their losses, and that they had come from behind in a couple of their wins. Clemson clawed their way back to close within 2 with a little over six minutes remaining. But down the stretch, Virginia went 6 – 8 (on an otherwise poor night from the charity stripe) from the free throw line in the last minute to seal the win.

Positive

Braxton Key. 4 – 6 from three. Who knew he’d have that kind of night?  He did splash his first shot of the game, a three, but then he proceeded to miss his next three layups, including a breakaway that he should have dunked. Back to missing bunnies, I thought, but then Key caught fire, and his final three with a minute and a half left in the game was probably the game winner.

Negative

Three point shooting. What can be said at this point, except that we are comically bad. Take away Key’s night and the rest of the team combined to go 3 – 14.  That’s 21%.

Positive

Kody Stattmann is back.  After missing a pair of games due to a practice-related concussion, Kody logged more minutes than either Tomas Woldetensae or Casey Morsell. He did hit his solitary three-point shot and he had a drive to the bucket that Morsell can, at this point, only dream of making.

Negative

The Texas Two-Step. Only with the Cavs it’s inverse: one step forward and two steps back. This is what bubble teams look like, they don’t progress in a nice, ascending, linear fashion. After I praised Kihei Clark’s free-throw shooting prowess, Clark goes 1 – 3 when he was fouled on a three-point attempt. In this week’s Roundtable, MaizeandBlue Wahoo noted that Morsell’s minutes had remained stable at about 20 minutes per game, but tonight he logged only 11 minutes and he missed both his shots. Woldetensae, after coming alive and looking like our three-point savior, went 1 – 6 from deep.

Positive

That Domino’s commercial.  It was stupid: some guy in his underwear doing his best Tom Cruise in Risky Business impression. But did you notice that the toppings on the pizza changed ever so slightly? It kept me watching.

Positive

The Pack Line. It is, it should be repeated for posterity, hard to score on Virginia.  In ACC play teams have scored 34, 47, 39, 60, 63, 54, 51, 58, 63, 56 and now 44 points against us. Bring on Louisville, a team that is struggling tonight with the same Wake Forest team that caused us fits.

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Clemson (Basketball(M), February 5, 2020)