Virginia Fans: Stay Calm, Patient, And Grateful
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Virginia Fans: Stay Calm, Patient, And Grateful

The team is fine, the season is young, and you're in a good place.

Let's look back: It's New Year's Eve as 2014 approaches, and Virginia's men's basketball team sits at 9-4, fresh off a 35-point drubbing at Tennessee. The team appears to be treading water, where they have been most often since Ralph Sampson's departure: somewhere between a cellar-dweller and a run-of-the-mill Power Five program. But then the clock hit midnight, and everything changed.

Fast-forward over three years, and the Cavaliers have just suffered their first double-digit loss since that Tennessee game, and a panic is slowly arising in a fan base that's not accustomed to back to back losses.

Hold it right there. Instead, 'Hoos fans should be feeling calm, patient, and grateful.

If fans take a moment to remember where the team was just three years ago, a last-second home loss to a talented Florida State team and an overtime loss at the Oakland Zoo should not be cause for alarm. Even at this point last year, Virginia was on their way to a 2-3 start in ACC play, with losses to mediocre Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech squads and no marquee road win like this year's team grabbed at Louisville. Last year's team ended up as top seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Sure, this team doesn't have a first team All-American like Malcolm Brogdon to lead the resurgence. But the team is still rated fifth on, a highly respected advanced metrics site, which is cause for optimism.

Virginia fans have quickly learned all too well that seasons are made and broken in March where anything can happen, and coach Tony Bennett's defensive system will keep the team close in every game.

Virginia fans must also stay patient. Expectations for this season had to be re-calibrated after the dismissal of Austin Nichols. No program can lose arguably their most valuable player after the graduation of a signature class and expect to maintain the same level of play.

With how close the losses have been, having a talented player like Nichols playing big minutes in a struggling frontcourt would have this team at 14-1 or even 15-0. The team was constructed as if Nichols would play a big role, and to fault coach Bennett or the players for how this season plays out would be an unfair standard.

Fans must stay patient as players like Mamadi Diakite and Jarred Reuter face an accelerated development schedule. Patience until the end of this season will quickly be rewarded: with London Perrantes the lone expected departure after this season, a senior-laden team with incredibly talented underclassmen should have Virginia back as a top-five team next season.

Most importantly, fans must maintain perspective and continue to be grateful for where the program is situated. Since New Year's Day 2014, no Power Five program outside of Kentucky has won more games than Virginia's 91. But while blue-bloods like Kentucky and Duke pile up wins as expected, Virginia's dominance is the only one that exudes inexplicable brilliance.

The traditional powers of college basketball have produced sustained success through the modern template for building a national title contender: bring in top-10 recruits and produce top-10 draft picks. Virginia has done neither, making the players, coach Bennett, and the program all the more likable.

After one NCAA Tournament appearance in eight seasons, Bennett has transformed the program into one with three combined ACC regular season and tournament titles and two NCAA Tournament one-seeds in three years. Falling short of ACC titles and Final Fours has become a failure in the eyes of some Wahoos fans that used to beg for NCAA tournament appearances.

So Virginia fans: I urge you to enjoy this young, goofy team regardless of the losses that are bound to come ahead. Just remember how fortunate we are to have an elite basketball program with an elite coach.

It's not always worse to lose with dignity than to win at Duke. Withstanding the "rocky" start this season by the high standards that Bennett has set, two things remain certain for Virginia Cavaliers basketball: the present is bright, and the future is brighter.

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The NBA Is Boring, You Say?

The NBA Finals matchups is the same for the third straight season. And it's awesome.

For the third consecutive season, the Golden State Warriors of the Western Conference will match up against the Cleveland Cavaliers of the Eastern Conference to decide who the NBA champion will be. But fans across the world complained all season long about how boring the NBA was and how predictable the outcome would be.

Here's why, despite the fact that this matchup is the third of its kind in the past three seasons, that complaining is ridiculous and fans should know better.

First off, yes it was predictable, and yes we did know that this was going to be the matchup yet again. LeBron James has been to every NBA Finals since 2010, and the 73-win Warriors team from a season ago added superstar small forward Kevin Durant in the offseason. So why bother complaining about the predictability of the NBA when everyone else already knows it's predictable as well? It's called beating a dead horse.

Simple solution: don't like it, don't watch it. No need to complain for seven months about it.

Secondly, the predictability of the NBA may make the semifinal and quarterfinal playoff matchups boring. However, no team in the history of any sport has ever played to be the best in any of those categories alone.

Teams want to win championships. That is the goal, the only goal. And given the great NBA Finals matchups we have seen the past two seasons with the Warriors and Cavaliers squaring off, with the Warriors winning in six games in 2015 and the Cavaliers rallying from a 3-1 deficit to win in seven games last season, no one should be complaining that we are likely going to have another great NBA Finals series.

The predictability guarantees us something that not many other leagues do. It guarantees us that the best two teams will, in fact, square off for the NBA's ultimate prize: the NBA championship.

Yes, this adds to the excitement. Now an average fan might say something like "certainly there can be other exciting series to decide a champion; does it really have to be the same two teams each season?" Well, sure, there can be other teams, but is there anyone out there that wants to watch a Bulls-Blazers or a Pacers-Grizzlies seven-game NBA Finals when you can have Warriors-Cavaliers? I'll wait...maybe someone in Portland, Chicago, Indianapolis, or Memphis will raise their hand...but even in those cities, probably not.

The predictability everyone is complaining about really isn't predictable when you look at it in the long run. A few years ago, would anyone have predicted the rise of these two dynasties at the same exact time? The Warriors set the record for the most wins in three seasons with 207, and LeBron James is making his case as the best NBA player of all-time.

While dynasties do happen and people may be able to predict them, are you telling me that everyone out there complaining about how boring the NBA is predicted that these exact two teams would peak during the same exact time frame? "Predictable"...that's cute.

All in all, the complaining is ridiculous. Fans are wasting their opportunities to witness greatness by crying about it.

Ask yourself: is it really worth it? Is it really worth giving up the opportunity to watch two great teams duke it out for multiple NBA championships just so you can hear yourself and everyone else can hear you whine while changing absolutely nothing? Just a thought...

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Top 5 NCAA Football And Basketball Team Combinations

Which schools have the best combination of a football and basketball team?

Some schools have elite teams at one sport, but subpar teams at others. Here are the schools that had the top five combinations of football and basketball teams this past season. All team records mentioned in this article are from ESPN for football and ESPN for basketball.

A list like this brings forth the question for schools and fans: would you rather be solid at both sports, or elite at one and awful at the other? On this list, none of the five teams won the championships or were even in their sport's Final Four this past season. However, they were all well above average in both sports, unlike a good portion of the country's schools.

5. Michigan Wolverines
The fifth and final spot on this list came down to Michigan and the Louisville Cardinals. Michigan took the spot because they won their conference tournament and took down Louisville in the NCAA tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Both teams lost their bowl games in football, but Michigan was in a New Year's Six bowl while Louisville was not. Both teams were in contention for the College Football Playoff late in the season, and Michigan ended up with the better record, with their 10-3 trumping Louisville's 9-4.

4. USC Trojans
USC was arguably one the best team in the country in football after ending the season on a nine-game winning streak, with one of those nine victories being a win in the Rose Bowl over the Penn State Nittany Lions.

In basketball, USC was underrated all season and earned a #11 seed in the NCAA tournament. They were four points away from qualifying for the Sweet Sixteen with their Round of 32 loss to Baylor. USC is probably the school on this list that was most underrated all season long in both sports.

3. Florida Gators
Florida had a decent season in football, and they actually got to the SEC championship game before being knocked off by the Alabama Crimson Tide, the national runner-up. They won the Outback Bowl and finished with a 9-4 record.

In basketball, they advanced to the Elite Eight for the fifth consecutive time that they qualified for the tournament and for the sixth consecutive time as a top 4 seed. They were ultimately knocked off by the South Carolina Gamecocks.

2. Florida State Seminoles
Florida State knocked off the Michigan Wolverines in an epic Orange Bowl matchup in football before reaching the semifinals in the ACC tournament in basketball. They ultimately earned a #3 seed in the NCAA tournament before being knocked off in the Round of 32 by the Xavier Musketeers.

Deciding between Florida State and Florida for the #2 spot was tough, but Florida State won the matchup in both sports and was a factor toward the top of the rankings all season long in both as well.

1. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin made both the Big Ten championship game in both football and basketball. The football team ended up 11-3 and won the Cotton Bowl over the Western Michigan Broncos, and the basketball team knocked off the #1 overall seed Villanova Wildcats before losing in the Sweet Sixteen on an overtime buzzer-beater to the Florida Gators.

Wisconsin was the only team to win a New Year's Six bowl game in football and make it into the Sweet Sixteen in basketball. There was no better combination of football and basketball teams this past season.

If I had to make a decision between a school with football and basketball teams that are both well above average or a school with one extremely elite team and an extremely awful team, I would pick the school with good teams at both sports.

Why? Because not just one but two teams are well above average, and that means two legitimate championship contenders as opposed to just one championship favorite.

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How Well Do You Know College Lacrosse? (Quiz)

The season is upon us.

College lacrosse season means the start of spring and it has begun! How well do you know the history and rules of college lacrosse?

I'm sure you know more about it if you go to a more Northern school (besides the North Carolina schools), but give it a try and see how well you know one of the great forgotten college sports.

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West Virginia Had The Worst Final Possession Ever

Bad. Bad. Bad.

You would have to go all the way back to my sixth grade Biddy Basketball days to see a worse final possession. That was disgraceful. That's Knicks bad.

Two rushed threes with 12 seconds left, rebound after rebound and you still can't even get a last shot off? That's the West Virginia difference. After watching this, all I can imagine is Bob Huggins drinking bourbon in a dark room cursing Gonzaga's name dreaming of the Juwan Staten days.

It's really not fair, but you had to see this coming. Gonzaga is just a better team. You can talk about the weak schedule all you want, the Zags are L-E-G-I-T.

It's too bad cause the whole state of West Virginia really needed this dub. West Virginia is truly a garbage, desolate wasteland. You would think Huggs and squad would come through at least once for the desperate Mountaineers.

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Why You Should Go To College Lacrosse Games

It's the best sport you're not watching.

College lacrosse is one of those low key sports that not many people go to, but the people that do go love it. Besides, there is a consistent cohort of teams in the top 10. This includes Virginia, Duke, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Syracuse (aka the whole ACC), Maryland (practically ACC), Johns Hopkins, Denver, and Loyola.

If you are a student at one of these schools, you know the love for college lacrosse, but if you don't go to one of these relevant schools, you probably didn't even know your school had a lacrosse team.

Lacrosse doesn't get much coverage, unless you're the Duke lacrosse team in 2006. In 2006, the whole country knew about college lacrosse, specifically the Duke University program when a stripper that was hired for a team party accused multiple players of rape.

The latest ESPN 30 for 30 was about this same scandal, and it shed light on the case for people that hadn't heard the story or gotten all the details. The Duke players were not at fault at all, but falsely accused by this woman. And by the way, the stripper and accuser, Crystal Mangum, was found guilty of murdering her boyfriend in 2011. Yeah, nice try Crystal.


Anyways, college lacrosse is highly undervalued, even if you don't go to a school where the team is good. Here are some reasons why.

Lacrosse is a spring sport. That comes with sunshine and warm weather, meaning people laying out on blankets in a grassy area or sitting in the bleachers with a pair of shades.

Tickets are cheap. Since lacrosse is not heavily televised and there is not much money in lacrosse (the majority of professional lacrosse players have second jobs). Tickets are usually free for students and a few dollars for anywhere in the stands for everyone else.

The crowds are small. Even at a Virginia lacrosse game, the crowd won't be overwhelming. The stadiums are small and only have bleachers for the most part, so it will feel calm and relaxed at the game, unless you're at a Duke-UNC game.

There is lots of scoring. Lacrosse is a fast paced sport. Usually, good teams will score in the teens and scoring happens quickly.

Lacrosse has a unique and fascinating history. It originated as a war game played among tribal Native Americans. They would play a much more violent version of the game to prepare for battle against other native tribes.

So, next time you are bored on a Saturday afternoon, see if your school has a home lacrosse game that day and go check it out. Trust me, it's worth it.