Who says February sucks? Well, I do. I hate February. One of its few redeeming qualities is that it's the shortest month, so we get out of the misery quicker and into what is supposed to be spring. But another redeeming quality is that it's the beginning of the spring sports season and so we get to witness a lot of wins. Especially if the hoops team is playing well.
Which it so happens they are. At some point as the Hoos were busy pulling away from Georgia Tech I thought to myself, "man, this would be a blowout if we'd ever hit a damn three pointer." Not long afterwards, Taylor Barnette dropped in two three-pointers easy as you please and it was a blowout.
I've been beating the drum that UVA's suddenly dynamic offense is not dependent on the three-pointer, and there couldn't have been a better example than this Georgia Tech game. UVA's game plan took GT's shot-blocking maestro Daniel Miller totally out of the shot-blocking business - in fact, Tech only had one blocked shot all day. Akil Mitchell was astoundingly wide open underneath the rim; sometimes so much so that Jontel Evans realized it before Mitchell did. And GT lived in deathly fear of leaving three-point shooters open, allowing Evans a lot of clear and easy lanes to the rim, which he took well full advantage of.
Toss in a few bad-idea defensive switches that left Joe Harris guarded in the post by GT's rail-thin backcourt (their guards are all awfully skinny and Harris's time in the weight room has borne fruit) and UVA just had its way inside the three-point line. That the Hoos could effect such a blowout while shooting a measly .316 from three (and getting the first 0-fer from Harris in that regard since the Mississippi Valley State game) is one of the biggest reasons to be excited about this team's chances in their remaining games. And really, they were already up 14 when Barnette popped those two three-buckets, and two more came even after that point. (Mike Tobey's was the best. It's not the first he's shot this year, so we knew he could do it, but basketball is the kind of messed-up game where your center comes back from mono and is maddeningly short on all his shots so of course his longest one is nothing but net.) We've always said "man when Tony Bennett's teams learn to play offense, watch the hell out" and it's starting to come true.
If you want to start giggling like a schoolgirl during a UVA basketball game this year, wait til they have a 20-point-and-widening lead on an ACC team and then say to yourself "and next year we get Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill."
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