That Kid Virginia
Who is that kid "Virginia" that plays for the Cavaliers? He's got a pretty good stroke from the arc. Random notes and initial impressions:
- These games generally don't mean anything but I felt that team gave us a few good development opportunities. For one, they played a randomly physical game and it was a good opportunity to work on reacting to the unexpected and the bizarre. At one point I likened their style to bumper cars. They were simply throwing their bodies at Virginia's players in weird ways. They made it a ragged, chaotic type game and the Hoos did a very good job of imposing order on the game.
- Juan Dixon clearly had scouted the Hoos better than Mo Joseph, because they got into Jerome and forced him to contend with close guarding. None of the acres of space that George Washington gave him, and Ty adjusted to it and played another fabulous game.
- Oftentimes blowing out a buy team doesn't really tell anything about your team, but sometimes you just look like an elite team doing it. Tonight Virginia looked like an elite team doing it. That clearly was a top 5 team taking care of business.
- I don't know that I've ever enjoyed a noncompetitive game like this one anywhere near as much as I enjoyed this one. We are just a fun team to watch, and Kihei Clark sets that tone. Every three-pointer he missed, I was saying "keep shooting, kid, keep shooting" - and he did. He looked like Curtis Staples out there gunning away, and eventually he found the range. I knew he would, because he was a 40+% 3-point shooter in high school and I watched him hit them from the college range. It was just a matter of expanding his range and getting used to the farther line. Now that he has found the range, look for him to be in the 35-40% range, which makes him a credible threat out there.
- I love love love that 3/4-court zone press and am thrilled to keep seeing it. It's clear they work on it, and it gives opponents something else to contemplate. I also like seeing us switch less and a lot more basic fighting over screens - although we did switch at times, the helter skelter way that team played made it necessary at times.
- It was noticeable how good the deep bench played. Usually the term "garbage time" is an apt descriptor of how the basketball looks when the deep bench hits the floor, but our walkons play good basketball. They defended, they ran an offense, they played Virginia Basketball, and it kept the game fun until the very end.
- Marco Anthony's performance was encouraging. He looks capable of providing Hippocratic minutes if needed in real games. He had some positive moments tonight.
- Jay Huff is a strikingly skilled offensive player and we need to get him on the floor. Unfortunately, I still can't rave about his defense tonight. I'll have to wait on video breakdown to have an evaluation.
- This team is fun to watch.
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