Steady as She Goes

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the cold and the ice and the crunch of snow beneath my cold feet.  Remarkably, I’ve managed to hold onto my scarves, hat, and gloves this winter without a single loss.  On that note, Kentucky will not lose its first game either this evening against my Alma mater, Auburn, at Rupp Arena.  The Wildcats seem intent on cruising and, scary as this sounds, getting better game-by-game.

Virginia’s identity remains clear at this point:  their stifling, pack line defense will carry the day for the remainder of their season.  It is truly who they are and if they win games 50-46, so be it and good.  It’s often said that defense wins championships, particularly in football, and that’s true, but in college basketball  you need a shooter or two who can hit 3’s.  The guess is here is that the Cavaliers will continue to ride their defense on cruise control from here on out while, more importantly, getting Justin Anderson ready to come back in March because they’ll need him for tournament play.  He’s their best 3 point shooter.

Stay warm, avoid icy spots this weekend, and immerse yourselves in those ESPN shots from various spring training sites with lush green grass, gentle breezes, and warm Florida sunshine!   I’m sure Bostonians will.

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President’s Day Weekend

Virginia had a tough but impressive road win this past Wednesday against N.C. State in Raleigh, 51-47.  These are the kind of gut-it-out games on the road that prove championship-caliber teams are greater than their parts.  The challenge for Virginia now as they enter the soft part of their ACC schedule (beginning today at home against Wake Forest) is to remain focused and work hard while Justin Anderson’s recuperates from his fractured finger.  Anderson himself will need to stay engaged with the team during games and, more importantly during practices while training hard to retain his conditioning and timing.  Unbeaten Kentucky meanwhile continues to flirt with its first loss, coming within a 3 pointer of losing last Tuesday against LSU.  There’s not a game remaining on their schedule that the top-ranked ‘Cats should lose.  Still, the thinking here is that a loss before the SEC and NCAA tournaments in March wouldn’t be the worst thing for the young, talented team.  Remaining regular season games against Arkansas and Georgia offer the best chance for a loss.  Enjoy your college basketball viewing during a cold President’s day weekend in February!