Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham
Well, consider UVa. coach Dave Leitao’s response to comments from Bradley guard Jeremy Crouch, who suggested that the Braves were able to confuse the Cavs defense in their 96-85 CBI Final Four win with its three-guard offense.
“The reality of it is, and I respect what he said, is that if you look at the statistics, every offense has given us trouble,” Leitao said. “Our defensive presence and attitude has not been there with any level of consistency. You could have played that offense that he is talking about, or we just played three different offenses. Richmond’s offense shot at or around 50 percent, Old Dominion’s offense shot 50 percent, and Bradley shot 48 percent. With all do respect to him, I think that we caused a lot of that.”
So no, I don’t think Leitao is all that upset that it’s next year now.
“I’m obviously disappointed in the way we played today. We just couldn’t get a 50-50 ball, and we didn’t have a presence defensively. Their size and maturity up front knocked the crap out of us. They were tougher than us. You have to give them credit,” Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said after Ole Miss had vanquished his Hokies by an 81-72 count in the quarterfinals of the NIT.
Interesting. Greenberg sounds like he did want to go on.
I can understand why there. The Hokies still had something to play for, namely, a building block for next year that you have to assume will be a big one in Blacksburg.
Tech loses only one player from its regular rotation, Deron Washington, who while a significant contributor the past couple of years is not what you would call irreplaceable or anything.
The big thing is six freshman who played in the area of double-figure minutes per game for Greenberg.
More NIT games gives those guys more opportunities to gel for 2008-2009.
Leitao, meanwhile, is losing Sean Singletary, which is to say, the face and heart and soul of his team, in addition to Adrian Joseph, whose role on this year’s ‘Hoos was similar to the one that Washington played for Tech.
Now, it’s not like the cupboard will be bare, not with a McDonald’s All-American in Sylvan Landesberg and a pair of seven-footers (Assane Sene, John Brandenburg) on their way to Charlottesville.
Next year’s Cavs will be a different team – a vastly different team. A vastly different dynamic.
I don’t know that playing more games helps UVa. as much as it does a team like Virginia Tech.
Especially considering the glaring weakness for the Cavaliers, as Leitao mentioned above, was defense, particularly interior defense.
One would have to assume that having a pair of new big guys in the middle will help big-time there.
The final verdict …
UVa. didn’t lose much except a chance to give Sean Singletary a nice sendoff. Virginia Tech lost a lot more.
But either way, it’s next season for both programs.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The SportsDominion.