I thought it was important that this was seen, and the game thread is already up to 300 comments, so it probably would have just gotten buried...
Anyway, what we saw tonight wasn't indicative of either team's abilities. UVA is not a team who shoots 70% from the three-point line in 20 minutes. We aren't a team that shoots sub-30% from the three-point line. Simply put, this game was all mental.
Up till tonight (and including tonight), UVA has been next to unbeatable. They are playing the best basketball of any team in the country right now. This was a top ten matchup in their arena where their last loss was against us. They were a very hot team looking to get revenge, and they did it from the outset. They played with swagger, confidence, and discipline.
Our players, on the other hand, came out flat, tight, and undisciplined. JRob was regularly rattled by that one little guard they had (can't think of his name). Every time they hit a 3, we rushed the next offensive possession. Our guys weren't thinking straight all night because, from the outset, they felt like they were the worse team.
Of every sport I've ever watched, I believe basketball is the second most mental with hockey being first. Basketball is not like football where you get a break after every play to recooperate. It's not like soccer where one team possesses minutes at a time without much resistance from their opposition. It's nit like baseball or softball where there's literally a break after every pitch. There is a possession change nearly every 20 seconds, and each of those 20 seconds can yield a moment that changes the momentum and complexion of the game. When there is a stoppage of play that isn't a timeout, the ball is back in play 10-15 seconds later, unless you're shooting foul shots which carries momentum as well. Since UVA believed they were going to win from the tip and our guys were playing not to lose, they had the momentum from the start and rode it to the finish line.
The next time we play these guys, it will be different. They won't be playing for revenge or pride; we will. We'll have the home crowd celebrating every one of our little moves. We'll come out with the swagger and confidence that UVA showed tonight. How UVA responds remains to be seen. If they respond like they did last season when we jumped on them at their place, we'll have a good game on our hands. If they respond like they did against UMBC or WVU last season, we'll run them out of the building.
The bottom line is, they're not 20 points better than us. Better than us? Probably. If we played 10 times, I imagine they'd win 6, maybe 7 times. But as much better than us as they showed tonight? No way.
Time to move on from tonight. Good teams don't let one game affect their next. We need to beat Wake Forest soundly and keep the train rolling until we meet the Wahoos again.