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At 2:44 p.m. Monday, Deadspin tweeted out a headline to a story that read: “How an Achilles Tear Affects NBA Players (or why Kobe Bryant is screwed).” The tweet demonstrated a willing conformity to the parameters of the sports world, in which wins are triumphs, losses are tragedies and hard work, resilience and selflessness are the three pillars of excellence. In that context, in which we constantly evaluate and reevaluate legacies by wins and losses, Kobe Bryant’s season-ending Achilles tear after several months of Herculean performances indeed qualifies as something of a disaster.
After opening the weekend with two prolific offensive outbursts, the No. 1 North Carolina baseball team shut out Virginia Tech 3-0 Sunday to complete the sweep and tighten its stranglehold on ACC supremacy. The Tar Heels (34-2, 15-2 ACC) racked up 30 runs in two contests, including a 9-8 triumph in 10 innings Saturday, before slamming the door on the Hokies (22-15, 7-11 ACC). Thanks to a dominating 16 RBIs during the three-game series, North Carolina third baseman Colin Moran earned ACC Player of the Week honors …
As soon as the curtain closed on a surprisingly successful 2012-13 Virginia men’s basketball season, the team and its supporters turned their attention eagerly to next season, when the team was initially expected to return all starters except for senior point guard Jontel Evans and add a slew of new talented contributors.
A Curry School Dean and several Virginia students who ran in Monday’s Boston Marathon are safe after two bombs exploded simultaneously at the finish line just before 3 p.m. Monday, killing three and injuring more than 100 people.
The Masters is similar to the U.Va. of golf majors. Both the green jacket ceremony and our University relish unabashedly in championing pretentious traditions. Both were divinely intended for optimal enjoyment in early April, when the sun casts an uncannily perfect shadow on Amen Corner and the Charlottesville weather becomes paradisiacal enough that neither the specter of finals nor the 280 ill-fated construction projects around Grounds can fully dampen our spirits. And both command fervent adoration despite obvious shortcomings — including the Masters’ perceived redundancy or the University’s tendency to make unpopular decisions the last 11 months. If Jim Nantz were to airily narrate a college experience, this would be it.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday that Virginia legend, WNBA standout, three-time Olympic gold medalist and successful collegiate head coach Dawn Staley will join 12 others as part of the Class of 2013. She will become the first Cavalier women’s basketball player to be inducted into the Springfield, Mass. institution.
The No. 1 Virginia rowing team competed against a vaunted lineup of fellow national championship contenders at this past weekend’s San Diego Crew Classic. Although the Cavaliers failed to capture a grand final title in the Varsity Eight, Varsity Four or Novice Eight races, they more than held their own against a murderer’s row of juggernauts from the West Coast, including No. 2 California, No. 6 Southern California and No. 7 Washington.
Back in January 2007, before I could grow more than a creepy strip of blond peach fuzz above my lip and when all I knew about the University was that its main building looked sort of like a brown Jefferson Memorial, I attended the New Orleans Saints’ 39-14 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bears at the NFC Championship game. To witness in person my beloved, resurgent team come so agonizingly close to actualizing my wildest dreams and lay a “Transformers 2”-like egg hurt worse than a 3-13 disastrous season ever could.
Two and a half weeks ago, Charlottesville bid farewell to its basketball team. After scrambling to erase a 17-point deficit and edge Maryland 61-58 in overtime March 10, Virginia left John Paul Jones Arena and a regular season-closing 17-game home win streak behind for the next weekend’s ACC Tournament — presumably before moving on to the NCAA Tournament.
After sophomore guard Shane Larkin drilled a stepback 3-pointer with one minute remaining for a 57-55 lead, East Region No. 2 seed Miami benefited from a blown out-of-bounds call on the ensuing Illinois possession to escape with a 63-59 victory Sunday and advance to its first NCAA Sweet 16 since 2000. Junior guard Rion Brown led the ACC Champion Hurricanes (29-6, 15-3 ACC) with 21 points off the bench, helping coach Jim Larranaga’s team overcome an uninspiring 40 percent field goal percentage. Miami is one of three teams from Florida to reach the Regional semifinal round along with Florida and Florida Gulf Coast in the South Region.
Other than those who attend particularly enthralling church services, enjoy “Meet the Press” or simply choose to ignore their homework, college students tend to find that Sunday mornings represent the antithesis of fun. In a University culture that emphasizes the balance between academic achievement and social interaction — and especially “lubricated” social interaction — waking up Sunday morning doubly hammers us with a reminder of our cascading workload and the realization that that late-night White Spot excursion was more ill-advised than CBS’s decision to hire Doug Gottlieb. If the college experience marks “The Dark Knight”-like apex of our lives, Sunday mornings definitely equate to all the scenes with Maggie Gyllenhaal.
If the motto for March is “Survive and Advance,” the Virginia basketball team should have left John Paul Jones Tuesday night pleased with the result. But after beating overmatched Norfolk State in the first round of the NIT Tournament 67-56 in an all-around eyesore, the Cavaliers could hardly mask their disappointment.
Before the 2012-13 campaign began, ACC-affiliated media picked the Virginia men’s basketball team to finish a distant seventh in the conference standings and well out of the running for a NCAA Tournament berth. The Cavaliers’ top-four ACC finish and reception of a No. 1 seed in the NIT postseason tournament, then, should qualify this season as a pleasantly surprising overachievement for head coach Tony Bennett’s young, slightly undersized roster.
After dominant regular seasons, Miami and Duke earned No. 2 seeds for this week’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and join eighth-seeded North Carolina and NC State as the ACC’s four representatives in the 2013 tournament. Miami and NC State will both compete in the East bracket, while Duke participates in the Midwest and North Carolina in the South. Miami is the first team in the modern era to finish first in the ACC conference standings, win the ACC Tournament and fail to receive a No. 1 seed …
The only outcome the Virginia men’s basketball team absolutely could not afford at this weekend’s ACC Tournament was a lopsided loss in Friday’s quarterfinal round as it teetered on the brink of NCAA Tournament at-large consideration.
During the first half of the Virginia men’s basketball team’s Senior Night home tilt against conference rival Maryland Sunday night, many observers likely wondered whether the squad that had clawed its way to a winning conference record and at-large NCAA tournament consideration had departed Charlottesville—mentally, at least—with the rest of the student body for Spring Break.
Freshman guard Joe Rahon’s deep 3-pointer with just under 10 seconds left capped a game-ending 12-3 run for Boston College that propelled the Eagles to a 53-52 victory against Virginia Sunday afternoon.
In the classic biopic “Patton,” the titular general describes an ancient Roman tradition. Slaves, George C. Scott related in his crusty voice, would stand behind victorious Roman conquerors during “triumph” parades and whisper in their ears, “All glory is fleeting.” Sobering as that anecdote may strike the Virginia community right now, reveling in its own triumph against a Duke program that many regard as the Lannisters of college basketball, it touches on an understanding vital to maintaining sanity in a chaotic world.
Ask most fans and analysts what ACC college basketball venue features the most intimidating crowd atmosphere, and “Cameron Indoor Stadium” usually rolls off the tongue. Duke, who will visit Charlottesville for a clash with Virginia Thursday evening, undoubtedly owes some of its perennial college basketball preeminence to the luxury of playing at Cameron Indoor, where the 10,000-seat capacity and noisy acoustics enable raucous partisan crowds to inundate opposing players with earsplitting jeers and cheers. Comparing any other arena in the nation, much less the ACC, to Duke’s famous home digs more often than not invites skepticism and scorn.
Another juggernaut is coming to Charlottesville. First, however, the Virginia football team will have to contend with an arduous 2013 schedule.