• With the blue bloods of the ACC UNC and Duke along with the newcomer and perennial winner Syracuse it is hard to imagine that Virginia, yes Virginia won the ACC.

    Especially when you look at how UNC surged after a rough start how 'Cuse was undefeated for so long all season and well Duke has the Coach Consonants along with freshman headliner Parker.

    And yet it was a team that few pay attention to that wins the league. We aren’t talking about a Tim Duncan led Wake Forest team, or a miracle NCState team, or even a Maryland team that pulss a few upsets at home. We are talking about Virginia.

    So Kansas wins its 10 Big12 conference in a row. All while Kstate, Iowa St, Baylor, Texas, OU, and Missouri all tried to knock them down. All those teams had good if not great seasons in the last ten years and yet KU out did them or at least equaled them.

    KU might have lost to OKst and won with a little help, but do you think any of the 9 other teams really want to help KU win another title?

    This is something to be impressed with, to remember for the ages. A decade of being a major conference winner. Throw in there a National title a Final four and a few other surprises along with some great players and stories and well wow, just WOW.

    Amazement. So when you look across the landscape and see that Florida won the SEC, or Arizona won the Pac12 and people think thats normal. They look and see that Virginia won the ACC and they think “how did that happen?”

    But normal, normal is KU winning the Big12. No surprises, just normalcy running its course through the Big12. Normal is KU having stand out student athletes that represent the team and the University very well. Normal is having a coach that just keeps on doing what he does. Normal is KU.

  • @JRyman

    I’ve watched about half of Syracuse’s games this year, and I felt they were over-rated from day 1. They brought in an experienced team and Boeheim’s magic zone, and that was enough to win most of those games. They also had extreme luck on their side. The kind of luck that can help a team win it all in March.

    But I have Syracuse on my second shelf of threatening teams. I will be completely surprised if they manage to make the FF this year. It could happen… if they keep getting lucky on last second shots… but I wouldn’t lay down hard-earned money on that.

    Virginia is a sleeper. They have managed to stay out of big time media and it has helped them stay focused on basketball. The ACC has plenty of good teams, but none stick out like a Florida does in the SEC.

    I think Florida sticks out above everyone. They stick out above us because they play with more consistency, have experienced leadership, and they know how to close out games. They have plenty of star power and can score from any position.

    Our big “up” is our star power. Another potential advantage we may bring into the tourney is our defense.

    We showed some great defense against Texas at home. And we showed good defense in the first half against OSU. Self’s focus is defense. I think he is putting all his eggs on defense from here on out.

    Will that be enough to beat teams like Florida?

    Guess we will find out soon enough… we’ll have a big challenge just getting far enough to play Florida.

  • Virginia has a solid team. However, they got a great break in the schedule.

    They played Duke at Cameron (their only ACC loss). Got 'Cuse in Charlottesville. Got UNC in Charlottesville. Road win @ Pitt. But here’s the thing. They only played each of those teams ONCE. The teams they played twice in league were Florida State (8-8 in conference), Maryland (7-9), Notre Dame (6-11) and Virginia Tech (2-14). Syracuse played Duke and Pitt twice. Duke plays UNC and 'Cuse twice. Pitt had 'Cuse and Clemson (the only other team in the ACC above .500 in league) twice. UVA didn’t play a their home and homes against anyone that was above .500 in league. Only UNC had as soft a schedule among the top league contenders, especially considering they only played one of the top 3 teams in league on the road.

    UVA won the ACC outright and they are deserving of it, but they still have some questions to answer in the ACC tournament, considering they have losses to Green Bay and Tennessee on their slate. That Tennessee loss (a 35 point beat down) still has me scratching my head. Was that the Tennessee ceiling, Virginia’s floor or just a random college basketball happening?

  • @justanotherfan People used to say that about KU playing round-robin with the Big12 North and only 1 game with each of the South. If you are not a Jayhawk in the mid-west, there seems to be an awful lot on resentment, anger and jealousy towards the Jayhawks through the local media. Kietzman’s rant about how KU gets all the call with Wiggins every time he drives and how tired all of the BIG 12 schools are with KU winning every year. Then there is Jack Harry with his hatred and now the Financial editor of the KC Star calling Self a $5,000,000 Jerk because he wouldn’t let his players cut down the nets at OSU. You can always tell if KU ever loses on the road by the court storming. I’ll give Marcus Smart a break because he is only 19 but someone needs to find out which Coach gave him the Idea that Bill Self would cut down the nets at his Alma Mater or if Marcus just actually slandered Bill Self on National TV.

  • @wrwlumpy Speaking of court storming - that was the highlight of the game for me. I literally laughed out loud. How sad is your program when you rush the court after coming from behind at home to beat a team that now has seven losses?

    Maybe I should just be proud that no matter how bad we are ( by our own standards ) people still act all stupid when they beat us.

  • Virginia has the Tony Bennett effect. The name Bennett and coaching is synonymous with basketball in Wisconsin. And it’s synonymous with successful basketball.

    While Dick never won national championships at UW Stevens Point, he did put Terry Porter into the league. His brother took over after a great HS coaching career and won back to back NC’s in the 2000’s. Dick Bennett put UW GB on the map in the 80’s and 90’s and his son Tony hit one of those legendary buzzer beaters in the tourney in the early 90’s. Dick then took an 8th seeded Badger team to the final four in 2000 drawing the ire of Roy Williams after they and MSU played to a 21-19 halftime score in the final four. Tony’s sister won a national championship at UW Oshkosh and eventually was the head coach at Indiana, and is currently at NIU.

    Tony led Washington St. to their ‘glory years’ a few years back when they had a strong team. He headed to Virginia and is using that same style his dad used. Hard nosed defense. It aint pretty, UW seemed to have 8 minute scoring droughts in every game I watched when he coached there, but it’s generally effective. I believe he is UW’s next coach whenever the legend Bo Ryan steps down, although that is just speculation on my part, nothing firm to base it on.

    So I’m proud of Virginia doing what they’ve done. Interestingly they’ve lost to both Wisconsin and UW Green Bay this season, travelling to Green Bay, name another major conference winner who played at a mid major’s gym this year!

    As you can tell, I follow Wisconsin basketball almost as closely as KU, thus the history lesson!

  • @wissoxfan83 I’m impressed w/coach Bennett! Love his post-game interview about what advice his dad gave him. Thanks for info, didn’t know anything about them.

  • @wissoxfan83 Hey! Tony Bennett is going to be in concert at the Stiefel Theatre in Salina on May 24th.

    Wait - we may be talking about different Tony Bennetts…

  • @wissoxfan83

    Thanks for that update on Bennett.

    I’ve got your Badgers as a WARMER WARMER WARMER… a team capable of winning it all. Close to HOT HOT HOT!

  • @drgnslayr They’re playing good, but they were at the end of last season too, and were a trendy final four pick and then lost in the first round to Mississippi.

    By the way, while not as impressive a streak as KU’s, Bo Ryan has never finished worse than 4th in the Big 10. He’s been there for 13 seasons. When you consider they’ve had a few pros and that’s it, it’s pretty impressive.

  • Virginia’s big advantage is their coach and the brand of ball he coaches. Dick Bennett, Tony’s father, could and did win with nothing. When Dick retired, Tony stayed on and assisted Bo Ryan. Ryan is obviously one of the exceptional coaches of the game. Tony Bennett learned from a guy, his dad, how to win with nothing at all; then he learned how to play Ryan’s game. Bennett and Ryan’s games are idiosyncratic and something opposing teams run into infrequently. It is a different way of playing the game, not just a heavily physical way of playing (which it also is).

    The ACC’s dominant teams–UNC and Duke–have always relied on a lot of finesse and athleticism, so the ACC has always produced countervailing threats that were VERY physical, like Gary Williams’ Maryland teams. Since Williams left, the ACC softened up. Turg has not produced a super physical team since he got there. Syracuse and Pitt seemed to toughen things up, but Pitt didn’t have much this season, so they were not a force. Syracuse is alway zoning so while they are hoppy, they are not necessarily bruisers. Thus, Bennett came to the ACC at the perfect time to introduce some rock 'em, sock 'em ball into the ACC. I suspect Virginia is for real and going to make everyone miserable that plays them in the Madness. Florida has the most talent, but teams are not used to the way Bennett teams play. And they never really do get used to it either. Dick Bennett developed a style of play that is kind of like what Bill Fitch used to coach in the pros. It is very hard nosed. Tony has introduced more complexity and finesse into it, but bottom line the Cavs will get in your jock and kick you till it hurts.

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