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The Season and Seth

As the 2009 basketball season lumbers on, interesting story lines abound. One of the more intriguing comes out of Blacksburg.

logo-virginiatechIt was quite a week for the Tech basketball team. It started with Tech sneaking up on a Wake Forest team basking in the glow of the media glare of their top ranking. They were unprepared for a game against most anybody, even Fallback Dave’s comically-bad Hoos, much less the in your face, ribs, kidneys and spleen intensity displayed by the Hokies. The Numero Uno ranking for Wake lasted about as long as its previous one did.

Tech followed up that big win with a sojurn to South Florida and a clash with the Canes at their BankUnited Center, the place where people exhausted by the frenetic pace of South Beach nightlife go for peace and quiet. It ain’t Cameron.

Despite what seemed to be the studied indifference of the crowd, Tech and the Canes staged an old-fashioned ACC nail biter, with Tech winning. While it might seem odd to mention ‘ACC nail biter’ along with Tech and the Canes, this is a bit different ACC.

Not according to Caulton Tudor of the good old N&O, however. Tudor kicked off the week proclaiming that the ACC was tracking towards three Number One seeds in the NCAA tournament. They would be grabbed by Duke, Wake and Tudor’s beloved Tar Heels. You might want to check the conference standings, Caulton.

Of course, this is the same Tudor who over the last year has regaled the good old N&O’s rapidly-dwindling readership with claims that there was no way Carolina could lose to Kansas in the Final Four, Butch was a dead-solid lock late last October to make a BCS bowl and that Ol’ Roy’s 09 crew of Heels were guaranteed to go undefeated. The guy is money.

With it now having been determined that since Tudor claims the ACC will have three #1 seeds the ACC will most definitely not have three #1 seeds, we move on to other of the not-quite-midseason plot lines.

How about those Hoos? Fallback Dave’s ‘Let’s get way behind early’ strategy is proving that the Hoo basketball coach is every bit as effective as algroh in causing what’s left of the Hoo fan base to scurry for the exits at halftime.

With these things decided in much less time than it took Mr. Jefferson to pen the opening lines of the Declaration, it is probably not necessary for all of those Hoo octagenarians who laid out the big bucks for prime seats in the John to indulge in a heart-healthy glass of red wine. When the Hoos are down by twenty in the First Half, finishes are just about guaranteed not to cause cardiac problems.

Hoo AD Craig ‘Darn it, Tubby, first you turn me down and then you grab Ralph’s kid. What, you don’t like me or something?’ Littlepage is likely considering, as he slips a finger between his neck and shirt collar in an attempt at relieving the tightness, that Fallback Dave is his hire. Craig inherited algroh and can claim, and no doubt is, that it was Dr. Casteen hoo gave the Great NFL Legend that goofy raise and contract extension as part of his ‘Let’s Help Tech’ campaign, but no such excuses can be dug up for Fallback Dave.

Losing by fifteen or twenty would be considered a step in the right direction at Maryland. That was quite the impressive performance by the Terps at Duke. You really have to be impressed by Grevis Vasquez weauxfing in the Baltimore papers about owning Cameron, then not showing up to play. Gary Williams certainly was.

Time was spent last Saturday watching NC State, meaning time again was spent, again, pondering just how it is that a State coaching brain trust that is headed by a couple of former Pack point guards who each directed a State team to an NCAA championship seem utterly incapable of finding or developing a point guard.

As he watches El Sid continue to struggle, Pack AD Ned ‘Uncle Jed’ Fowler might be pondering how badly Frank Haith wanted the State job last time around and how he just might still be available. Haith does seem to be able to produce decent guard play.

For all of the amusement that can be gathered from perusing the bottom of the ACC standings, it is at or near the top that matters, which is where Tech happens to reside these days.

Along with Tech’s rise up the standing has come a lot of chatter about Tech’s very hard and very physical style of play. Among those chattering has been both of the television announcing crews covering Tech’s games with the Deacs and Canes as well as columnist Paul Woody of the Times-Dispatch.

Woody inherited the job of columnist at the T-D mainly by being the last man standing after others dove for Media General’s downsizing buyouts. He often writes as if he has one eye on the guillotine hanging over the heads of most all newspaper employees these days [the Roanoke Times certainly is attacking the ‘newspaper’ problem in a unique way, by declaring it simply won’t pay its employees].

Woody defended Tech’s style by claiming this is basketball, not basketball. If you have to crack a few eggs and ribs to win, then that is what you do. The bulk of Woody’s career has been spent covering the Washington Redskins, so he should know physical play when he sees it. This Tech team certainly hits harder than some recent Redskin ones.

Tech does play a very physical game, a hallmark of all of Seth’s teams wherever he has been, as much a part of Seth’s history as his finding himself needing to get out of town in a hurry. There have been some teams in what has historically been the finesse-oriented ACC that have had trouble adjusting. Check the last few Tech-Wake scores.

There are some ACC coaches [Dino Gaudio, come on down] and observers who think that Tech’s rough style of play too often veers into dirty, but, as Seth says, “If you don’t quit standing between me and the television camera, I will shove you out of the way.”

Seth’s reputation is that of a self-promoting hustler, which is exactly what we are seeing at Tech. He draws attention to himself and his teams, also what we are seeing at Tech. Seth’s history and reputation is also that it never lasts; that does remain to be seen at Tech.

Seth talks [and if there is a television camera around, talks and talks and talks and talks] about intensity. Tech usually displays the intensity Seth demands and when they do, good things happen. The ferocity with which they went after Wake from the opening tip left the Deacons stunned. When they don’t, you get bad OOC losses and a twenty-five point dud at Duke which, while not bad by Maryland standards, was not a good effort.

Seth defended the street gang image his teams project, on television, naturally, by claiming that was the only way Tech could win in the ACC. Well, there is no basis for comparison.

Seth’s 09 Tech team is winning. If there is an NCAA bid at the end of the season, that is where the focus will be, not the way Tech plays. While there might be those who feel that now that Tech is an ACC program it should act like one instead of a Biggie E wannabe that embodies the worst of the brass knuckle play of that miserable league, Seth doesn’t see it that way.


  1. Da Whiskey — February 12, 2009 #

    ‘Let’s get way behind early’ strategy is proving that the Hoo basketball coach is every bit as effective as algroh in causing what’s left of the Hoo fan base to scurry for the exits at halftime.



  2. Da Whiskey — February 12, 2009 #

    Whoa!!! … “Seth’s reputation is that of a self-promoting hustler, which is exactly what we are seeing at Tech. “… I guess you will not be inviting him over for a cup-of-tea. LOL!


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