Home Pat Forde, the ‘towering fraud’ of the interwebs, takes his annual shot at Tony Bennett

Pat Forde, the ‘towering fraud’ of the interwebs, takes his annual shot at Tony Bennett

Chris Graham
sports writer
(© princerko – stock.adobe.com)

This just in: Pat Forde, who still writes for Sports Illustrated, which apparently still exists, can, apologies to Lamar Jackson, eat a …

OK, he can eat shit.

Sorry, I’m in Florida. The “don’t say gay” nonsense, and the 80-degree heat, got to me there.

Eat shit is as nice as I can put it, so, sorry for that, too.

“The Cavaliers’ blissful NCAA Tournament championship run four years ago continues to be a blip. A fluke. A one-time reversal of fortune. A title is forever, but it’s also not indicative of what Virginia basketball really is.”

Yeah, classic Pat Forde there.

This is what passes for a hot taek from a guy who wakes up every day wondering if his next paycheck is going to bounce.

Pat Forde is the swimming writer whose contribution to college basketball is “towering fraud,” the sobriquet he shat out for Tony Bennett after the loss to UMBC back in 2018.

The silence you heard from Forde a year later wasn’t him quietly turning his nose up at the crow that he should have been forced to eat.

He was just biding his time, like interwebs trolls do.

Look, this Virginia team peaked way, way too early, back in November, with the wins over Baylor and Illinois out in Vegas.

Looking back, it was probably the emotion of the murders of three UVA football players that fueled them back then.

Yeah, I said it.

Forgot about how we’ve had that hanging over our heads the past four months.

One of the players was in the class that was on the field trip.

Credit to this group, pretty much the same rotation that made it to the third round of the NIT last year, plus a couple of first-years and a grad transfer from the MAC, for putting up another banner, another ACC regular-season championship, Bennett’s sixth in the past 10 years.

That Bennett is doing these kinds of things with four- and five-year guys should earn him the plaudits, if not outright literary fellation, of the likes of the Pat Fordes of the world, who claim to have grand issues with one-and-dones and NIL and the ravages of the transfer portal.

Get off my lawn, indeed.

Tony does it the right way, with guys who play a little as freshman, get better as sophomores, improve as juniors, have gray hair on their chinny-chin-chin as seniors and fifth-year guys.

“Thirteen-seed Furman’s 68–67 defeat of No. 4 seed Virginia Thursday is a reminder of all that is wonderful about March Madness: the underdog, the dramatic shot, the small-school dream come true. It’s also a reminder that the only thing separating Virginia from being the runaway winner of Worst Tourney Program Ever was six fate-kissed games four years ago.”

This is the best Forde can offer. “Six fate-kissed games four years ago.”

We all lost 2020. Virginia closed that regular season on a 12-1 stretch, and was the two seed in the ACC Tournament, but we’ll never know what would have been that year.

The 2021 team got one walk-through in after a week-long COVID quarantine ended their ACC Tournament run after a win.

The guys got off the bus, warmed up and lost by four to #13 seed Ohio.

Forde, if you recall, was still hunkered down in his basement bunker for March Madness in 2021, exclaiming to the world that the powers-that-be were putting everybody at risk for not closing down the world permanently.

I’m not totally sure he’s not still down there, subsisting on Kraft mac-and-cheese and toilet water.

Tony’s Virginia teams are now 13-8 in the NCAA Tournament since 2012. Six of those wins came in 2019, which means, doing the math, there are seven others.

The 2014 team made it to the Sweet 16; the 2016 team got to the Elite Eight.

The 2015 team underachieved getting to the second round. The 2017 team might have overachieved getting to the second round.

2018 is what it is; 2019 doesn’t happen if 2018 didn’t end the way it did.

Tony still has the most recent national title from among Tom Izzo (2000), John Calipari (2012), Mark Few, Kelvin Sampson, Bruce Pearl, Mick Cronin, Matt Painter, Chris Beard, Rick Barnes (none).

Izzo is 22-10 in the NCAAs since 2012. Calipari is 23-7, in a stretch that includes a natty, a 9-16 finish, and a first-round NIT loss to Robert Morris, the school, not the dude.

I’d be willing to bet that Mark Few (25-10 in NCAA Tournament games since 2012) would trade any number of his tourney Ws for one, just one, banner.

Look, Bennett, looking ahead, has his work cut out for him, but it’s fair to point out that he did what he did in his first 10 years at Virginia – he won the natty in Year 10 – with guys who had been overlooked by the top programs.

Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris, now making $20 million-plus annually in the NBA, were afterthoughts as preps. De’Andre Hunter, the #4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, redshirted as a true freshman at Virginia in 2017.

Those guys were the building blocks of a program that would go on to win a national title in 2019, an achievement that just then opened the door to give Bennett and Virginia access to the top-tier recruits.

And then what happens? The first year of what should have been the salad days of Tony Bennett recruiting got cut short by COVID, which disrupted everything, including basketball recruiting, for the next couple of years.

His 2022 class, the first of the post-COVID era, was fringe Top 10 nationally, and his 2023 class includes the top-rated recruit he’s ever had, and a kid he stole out of the Pacific Northwest from under the thumb of Gonzaga and Mark Few.

Today was not fun for the Virginia program, for Kihei Clark, in particular, who doesn’t deserve to go out the way he did, but that’s life.

The outcome was too much fun for the likes of Pat Forde, who has it easy, being Pat Forde – wrong most of the time, dramatically overpaid, on the verge of having to launch his own WordPress site, 20 years after anybody can make money with a WordPress site.

“Bennett should thank that 2019 team every day for making the plays that have kept him from being a complete March bust. That’s all he’s got.”

Go fuck yourself, Pat Forde.

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].