The women's basketball team gets a chance to play on national television, at home, and Monica Wright breaks Dawn Staley's career scoring record for the UVa women. Sounds like a perfect night, huh? It was, except for the final score. A disappointing loss, one that drops the Hoos to 0-2 in the conference. Ugh.
Good opportunity to watch Monica Wright and the UVa women's basketball team tonight on ESPN2 at 7:30. The Hoos are facing Maryland. The Great Blog reminds us that Wright has an excellent shot at passing Dawn Staley to become Virginia's all-time leading scorer tonight. Don't miss it.
In the interest of trying to forget about football entirely, let's talk hoops for a minute. I have a big stack of Virginia basketball links that I've been meaning to post (and I want to stay positive, so no discussion of the Assane Sene suspension), but I went out of town this weekend and am just now getting around to it. Before the link roundup, however, a note about my expectations for the 2009-2010 men's basketball squad. The Good Ol Blog is running a poll, asking for predictions on the number of ACC wins Tony Bennett's squad will reach this year. I voted for 7, which seems to be a popular selection.
Seven wins would be a great result in Coach Bennett's first season. The team is predicted to finish next to last, which I think is absurdly pessimistic. We don't have top-four talent on this roster, but there's enough there for Bennett to fashion a competitive squad. I think the Hoos are going to finish in the bottom half of the conference, but they will have at least one big ACC upset, and they will be blown out of very few games.
More than that, I think they will be fun to watch (something we can't say about the football team, unfortunately). They are going to scrap and claw and fight to the end of every game. It's their coach's disposition (ask his Washington State players), and I really believe his players are going to buy into it.
I'm very high on Tony Bennett, if you haven't noticed. (Take that with a grain of salt, however; I was high on Pete Gillen and Al Groh, too).
Anyway, on to the links:
--The poll above was prompted by Dear Old UVa's interview with John Gasaway, of the ever-popular Basketball Prospectus (here is part one of the interview, and here is part two). Gasaway predicts that Virginia will go 8-8 in the ACC. That, my friends, would be a spectacular success, as far as I'm concerned.
--The Daily Press had a couple of outstanding articles on Coach Bennett this weekend, and they are both worth a read. This one focuses on the fact that rebuilding is in Coach's blood, and this one is a collection of items about Bennett that didn't make it into the main story. There is a ton of great stuff in there for UVa hoops junkies. Like me.
--Looking back at one of our favorite Hoos ever, JR Reynolds (some great video at that link). Although it's looking increasingly unlikely, I'm still hopeful that JR will get a shot at the NBA sometime.
--Shifting over to women's basketball for a moment, Monica Wright's name is on the finalists list for the Senior CLASS award. That won't be the last time we hear "Monica Wright" and "award" in the same sentence.
Lots of great items in Jeff White's UVa notebook: --Sylven Landesberg isn't happy about missing out on the pre-season All-ACC team; he finished sixth in the voting. Let's hope he uses that as motivation.
--Another Virginia hoops star fared better in preseason voting:
On the women's side, that distinction belongs to senior guard Monica Wright, who Monday was named the ACC's preseason player of the year at the conference's media day in Greensboro.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the young women's team fares this year. Wright is the only senior, but there are five freshmen on Coach Debbie Ryan's squad.
--I love this:
Landesberg's new coach, Tony Bennett, made 49.7 percent of his 3-point attempts during an illustrious career at Wisconsin-Green Bay.
That's still an NCAA record, and Bennett, from all accounts, hasn't lost his touch.
Asked if he ever challenged his players to games of H-O-R-S-E, Bennett smiled and shook his head. "That'd be like taking candy from a baby," he said.
Lots of other great stuff over there; read the entire thing.