Home Five Observations: ESPN’s Kevin Brown hatin’ on ‘Hoos, more Groves, less Rohde, more

Five Observations: ESPN’s Kevin Brown hatin’ on ‘Hoos, more Groves, less Rohde, more

Chris Graham
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What was up today with Kevin Brown, the voice of the Baltimore Orioles, who moonlights for ESPN as a college basketball play-by-play guy?

The first dumb thing to come out of Brown’s mouth during the ESPN broadcast of Virginia’s 66-65 win at Clemson was an observation that Virginia is not a good rebounding team.

Do your pregame research, pal – coming into the game, UVA was a respectable seventh in ACC games in rebounding margin (+0.7 per game), and Virginia would go on in this one to outrebound Clemson by five.

Second dumb thing: “This isn’t one of Tony Bennett’s most talented teams.”

Fact check: nine guys played for Virginia today; five were four-star prep recruits.

Two four-stars, Leon Bond III and Elijah Gertrude, got DNPs.

Christian Bliss, the eighth four-star on the roster, is redshirting this season.

And then, two of the guys who got tons of minutes, Reece Beekman and Ryan Dunn, are projected first-round 2024 NBA Draft picks.

The last time Virginia had two NBA first-round picks: 2019.

I’m forgetting how that season ended.

Third dumb thing: something or the other about this Virginia team being one of the worst offensive units he’s had.

Nothing will ever be as hard to watch as that 2019-2020 UVA team, which somehow finished 23-7 and was 15-5 in the ACC with the 234rd-ranked offense (per KenPom) in the country.

Tony had two other teams (2010-2011, 2011-2012) ranked in the 100s in offensive efficiency, and the 2021-2022 team ranked 86th, and averaged 1.076 points per possession to get there.

This year’s group is averaging 1.077 points per possession, which, at last check, is a smidge higher than 1.076 points per possession.

Sounds like somebody’s application for admission didn’t go the way they planned.

Odd statline

reece beekman uva clemson
Photo: UVA Athletics

I was wondering, every time I looked at the in-game stats, if the official scorer just doesn’t like assists.

Virginia, which ranks seventh nationally, getting assists on 63.5 percent of its made buckets, had all of nine assists on its 26 made buckets in this one, which works out to 34.6 percent.

Clemson is getting assists on 54.2 percent of its made buckets this season; today, the Tigers had nine assists on its 20 made buckets (45.0 percent).

Two observations in one: More Jake Groves, less Andrew Rohde

I speculated in my pregame column that Jake Groves could start, given that Clemson coach Brad Brownell likes to go big across his frontline.

Groves didn’t start, because Bennett keeps putting Andrew Rohde’s name down on the lineup card for reasons only known to him, but Groves got starter’s minutes – 28 – and did something with them.

Groves, on the heels of his 18-point effort in the win over Notre Dame on Wednesday, had 17, on 7-of-9 shooting, 3-of-4 from three, in today’s win.

His plus/minus number was a team-best +10.

This after his +12 in the Notre Dame win.

Rohde had three points today – yes, that three was a big one, fending off, for the moment, a Clemson rally – in 20 minutes.

That three, plus one assist, and one rebound, was what we got for his efforts.

His plus/minus: a team-worst -6.

Rohde had a -1 in his 12 minutes of floor time in the Notre Dame game.

Rohde’s box plus/minus for the season is -3.3, second-worst among the rotation guys (Dante Harris: -4.0).

Groves’s 5.3 BPM ranks third among the rotation guys (Beekman: 10.6, Dunn: 8.5).

Let us now praise Jordan Minor

The UVA season turned around when Bennett decided that Jordan Minor, a grad transfer from Merrimack, was finally ready to play, 16 games in.

Minor has now started seven games, the first start coming in the 66-47 loss at Wake Forest on Jan. 13, the last six being the six in the six-game winning streak.

With his nine points (4-of-7 FG) and nine rebounds today, here are Minor’s updated numbers as a starter: 9.1 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per game, 55.6 percent shooting, and on defense, he’s allowing 4.3 points per game on 34.5 percent shooting.

This is why Virginia has won six straight, and is sitting at 8-3 in the ACC.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].