Sunday, December 27, 2009

Post-Christmas dribble

Welcome back, basketball lovers. Hope everyone's holiday was as sweet as a Taurasi jum- er, make that Monica Wright jumper. Now let's get back to the hoops.

First of all, Virginia Tech doesn't play today, but the Hokies are offering a free clinic for boys and girls in grades 1-6 from 2-3 at Cassell Coliseum. No pre-registration is required; call Tech director of basketball operations Jill Jameson at 540-231-7629 for more details.

As for those teams that are in action, Virginia doesn't just run the Cavalier Classic; it also owns the event. The Cavaliers have won 20 of the 23 tournaments and five straight dating back to 2004. In case you were wondering, the last UVa. loss in this tournament came by 20 to Lindsay Whalen-led Minnesota in the 2003 final. The following year, the Cavaliers started a new streak by outscoring JMU 95-92 in the title game. It was also victory No. 600 for Cavaliers coach Debbie Ryan.

Monday's action

Liberty (6-2) vs. Cornell (5-4), Cavalier Classic first round, 4:30 p.m. Led by the aptly named Virginia McGunigal, the Big Red is one of the nation's best at shooting the three (43.6 percent). Fortunately for Liberty fans, the Lady Flames rank sixth in the nation at defending the three, and Cornell doesn't have a lot of other ways to beat you if its bombs don't land. Liberty does, or at least it should in this matchup. This tournament is set up in a way that allows the Lady Flames a great opportunity for a second-day showdown with the nationally ranked Cavaliers. They can't let Cornell get in the way. Liberty 72, Cornell 54

(Fred) Samford (8-4) at No. 23 Virginia (7-3), Cavalier Classic first round, 7 p.m. Think Cornell loves the 3-ball? With every member of their starting five willing to pull the long-range trigger, Samford's Bulldogs have jacked up at least 24 of them in each of their last four games. Naturally, when the threes fall, they're dangerous. But this almost certainly won't be one of those days. Virginia 86, Samford 62

Hampton (3-7) vs. No. 24 Georgia Tech (10-2), FIU Fun & Sun Classic first round, 7 p.m. Must be easy to line up teams for this event. "Hey, Team X, we're hosting this tournament in Miami in the dead of winter and we were wondering if - You will? Great!" No wonder this is the second tournament FIU has hosted this season....The Lady Pirates thrive on pressure defense, but Georgia Tech has virtually mastered the art while possessing an array of offensive weapons Hampton at this stage can only dream of. Only one state team has defeated a ranked foe this season - hello, JMU, goodbye, Virginia - and Hampton has very little chance of being the second. But don't feel too badly for the Lady Pirates. At least they're in Miami. FIU and Bryant are the other two teams in the field. FIU continues to be led by former ODU stars Cindy Russo and her associate coach Inge Nissen. Georgia Tech 70, Hampton 52

VCU (5-5) at Longwood (4-9), 4 p.m.: Hats off to the Lancers, who have won two of their last three and posted a respectable showing at No. 25 JMU their last time out. They've also proven to be a pretty tough out at home (3-2). Problem is, the independent Lancers are home for just the second time this month and won't play in Farmville again until Jan. 26. Their bigger problem today will be VCU, which clearly has more weapons at both ends of the floor and must be just itching to beat up on someone after dropping three in a row in Las Vegas. VCU 79, Longwood 64


  1. Is there any way at all, even a little bit, that Virginia falls in the Cavalier Classic? I just can't see it happening, largely due to a lack of competition in the tournament.

  2. Debbie Ryan chose this field wisely so no, I don't see it happening either.