Tuesday, March 17, 2009

ACC & Tournament notes

Virginia's head coach Dave Leitao resigned after agreeing to a buyout on his remaining contract for over $2 million. Certainly the Cavaliers were terrible this season, who didn't expect that with Sean Singletary departing off a team that wasn't any good last year, but Leitao has a mixed legacy at Virginia. Some folks knocked his recruiting but he was in the mix for players like Patrick Patterson, Ed Davis and Elliot Williams and Sylven Landesburg has the chance to be a star at Virginia like Singletary. A top 75 player in Tristan Spurlock was supposed to be coming next year and holdovers Assane Sene, John Brandenburg and Mike Scott were developing on the inside. The problems with Leitao seemed to be more about his personality which was viewed as abrasive at times. I think the nonconference schedule turned out to be far more challenging than Leitao thought. Their first six games included three against NCAA Tournament teams (Radford, at Syracuse and at Minnesota) along with pretty solid mid-majors in VMI and Liberty. The Wahoos also played Xavier and a bubble team in Auburn putting a young team in a very difficult spot. During their ACC play Virginia played eight straight games against NCAA Tournament teams. If Virginia had played a more reasonable schedule you have to wonder if Leitao would still have a job. Patrick Stevens at the Washington Times pointed out that the new and expensive John Paul Jones Arena might have been a millstone around Leitao's neck. Two seasons ago Leitao won an improbable 11 games in the ACC and went to the NCAA Tournament as a 4 seed. Does Virginia really think they will hire a coach who will do that in his first three seasons? I doubt it.

There are also rumors that Miami's Frank Haith might be looking to get out of South Florida. With Jack McClinton departing off an NIT squad Haith might be looking to get out of this elevator before it crashes to the basement next year.

To all those commentators who were whining about St. Mary's getting snubbed on Sunday please give it a rest. I'm not sure why people think "fairness" involves major conference teams going to play mid-majors on the road. That is the world we live in folks. Many schools have to pay the Title IX bills with home games in basketball and they are not going to give up tens of thousands of dollars so the Missouri Valley conference can get a better chance at earning at large bids. If you want "fairness" then let's eliminate the automatic bids for all conferences from the ACC to the Southland and throw everyone into the same pot. Fact is the current system is much more fair to marginal schools that just have a basketball team because it is the cheapest route to free athletic advertising than any other college sport. If schools like St. Mary's want to earn at large bids then they need to go on the road and play major conference schools. That is just the way it is. I don't want to entertain any complaining about how St. Mary's can't get those games when TWO of their first three games this season were against non-division I opponents. Don't cry about not getting opportunities to play the big boys when you bring in Seattle Pacific and Vanguard. Maybe if they had played another decent Division I team instead of those two opponents they would not have had to schedule Eastern Washington after the season was over in a pathetic attempt to earn an NCAA bid. I'm glad the NCAA didn't reward St. Mary's attempt to schedule their way into the tournament. 

1 comment:

G said...

If I'm not mistaken, a 10th seeded Maryland team defeated a John Calipari-led #2 seed UMASS team in the 1994 NCAA tourney.
Can we do it again?....of course, I hope the players don't look past Cal.