Another week’s observation of the games people play produced another interesting week. Well, aside from a Sunday of high comedy. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like watching drivers line up to be interviewed by Fox while NASCAR officials attempt to figure out how to repair a track.
While one would think that for all of the ‘Great American Race’ weauxfing done by Fox and the France family, it would have popped into somebody’s head to check the condition of the track, one would, of course, be wrong. With only two major races a year, you could imagine they would have had the time. It would seem that all of those laid off from VDOT recently are now employed by NASCAR. Official head-scratching over track pot holes certainly kicked off another seemingly endless parade of commercials broken up periodically by a few seconds of left turns in grand style. Paying much of any attention to NASCAR this year pretty much ended with the second stoppage.
The real action had taken place Saturday night, when Virginia Tech had celebrated Alderson’s Birthday by beating the Hoos, again. While pounding the Jeffersons in football year after year has become commonplace, sweeping them in basketball is an unaccustomed delight. Tech’s latest win over the Hoos was accomplished via the rarity of Jeff Allen actually contributing. Tech’s problem man-child through most of his career had found ways to avoid the Hoo game, mostly through suspension and ejection. But, there he was, actually on the floor, living up to all of the recruiting clippings. Allen’s heroics, combined with the tendency of Hoo Sylven Landesberg to disappear late in games, a talent no doubt learned from watching Hoo football fans in the Smithsonian, enabled Tech to gut out yet another win over its in-state rival.
Whenever Tech beats the Hoos, which is often these days, it is always fun to read the Scissors message board. Once again, the Hoo loons did not disappoint. As usual, quite a few of the Hoo losers reacted to losing to Tech, again, by claiming that Tech was not their rival, Carolina was. Well, they have a point. Most rivalries are defined by one team winning at least occasionally, which is not exactly how Tech-Hoo games go these days. The Hoos do find the Heels to be a bit of a softer touch.
Tech is now 20-4, as much of an oddity during Seth’s coaching career as the Hoos beating Tech in football. Tech also still finds itself declared a ‘bubble team’ by the various network blathering heads. This is due to Tech having completed roughly 3/4 of its regular-season schedule without beating anybody worth a sh–of note. It is a testament to both some remarkable OOC scheduling and the overall perceived weakness of the ACC. It should be pointed out that many of the so-called ‘experts’ discounting Tech as being Tournament-worthy are the same ones that continued to rank Georgia Tech among the Top 25, despite the Jackets playing exactly like a team coached by Paul Hewitt. What do they know, anyway?
Tech’s schedule is about to take a turn for the tougher, as 3 of the next 4 games are against the other teams occupying the same ACC standings high ground. This week’s games against the Deacs and Devils and the upcoming one against Maryland should tell the tale as to Tech’s NCAA fitness.
With three weeks to go in the preliminary round of the season, the ACC seems to have separated itself into 3 groupings of 4 teams each. Things can and likely will change, but for the moment at least there is a method to the not-quite-March madness. The old and once-infallible method of determining ACC basketball standings by flipping the football ones is no longer entirely valid, although vestiges can be found when noticing Duke leading the league. The main prize to be grabbed during the next 3 weeks will be one of the first-round byes to the ACC Tournament. Winning the league championship is virtually impossible without one.
Among the more interesting information to be gleaned from perusing the bottom 4 teams in the standings is the identity of 2 of the names. While you could have bet good money that an earthquake would have devastated Haiti before Carolina would have slipped this far and you would have won, it ain’t too often you see the notation ‘3-7’ beside the blue-blooded basketball name ‘North Carolina.’ There did seem to be little wrong with the Heels that another game against State couldn’t cure. Maybe the Heels should demand that Butch be allowed to coach against El Sid instead of Tom O’Brien.
Ah, the Wolfpack. Well, the Loonpack no longer has to gripe about Herb winning his 20 a year and never beating Carolina. After 4 years of El Sid’s stewardship, the Pack can no longer beat Carolina or anybody else. A 20-point home loss to the one team El Sid had demonstrated he could best on a fairly regular basis, Virginia Tech, certainly said much about Lowe’s abilities. Despite the Pack team, or fans, not showing up for the beat down by Tech, there was State AD Lee ‘Uncle Jed’ Fowler giving El Sid the dreaded ‘vote of confidence,’ stating that he would not algroh him this year, but wait until next. Uncle Jed might ask Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, I’m still trying to get Radovich on the phone- he sure seems to be out a lot’ Littlepage how that worked out.