The Jack, JC, and Mean Seth
Quite an atmosphere last night at John Paul Jones Arena, not named for the Revolutionary War hero or the Led Zeppelin bassist. Virginia's seminal win, one that likely gave them the ACC regular season title, closed a tremendous first season at JPJ. There was some trepidation before the season that the switch from 8,000-seat U-Hall would cause lots of empty seats and a sterile atmosphere for some games, but that was never really the case, particularly for ACC games. It was a wonderful first for season for the Jack.
(We're calling it The Jack for now, because Jack is the nickname of the John Paul Jones who the arena was named for. I think we need something better; perhaps The Admiral, after that John Paul Jones? Or how 'bout The Zep after this JPJ?)
Also, I saw the "VT" logo someone carved into the JPJ court and inspected it with Daily Press Beat Man and general menace Darryl Slater, a good friend from our college days at Syracuse. He theorized that Dave Leitao himself carved the insignia for motivation's sake (going so far as to "guaranteee" it), which, of course, is patently absurd. I immediately told him how insane that idea was and, true to form, offered to bet him, but he, true to form, backed down.
The carving in question is right in front of the end of Virginia's bench, in the corner of the court. It's the size of a thimble, really, and not that big of a deal at first glance. But it's pretty cool lore for a burgeoning (odd to say an 85-year series is burgeoning, but that's how it feels) rivalry, and stuff like that helps. I think Virginia would be wise not to remove it. While it may defile the court, it's a cool little piece of charm for in-state rivals and it can help the identity of the series grow some.
Walking back from the the locker room last night, I struck up a conversation with affable Virginia Pilot Cavs Beat Writer and noted classic rock maven Ed Miller. Seeing that we were on deadline for one of the most consequential Virginia games in recent memory, the talk naturally turned to Jason Cain's post-game threads.
Cain sported an AC/DC thermal long-sleeve shirt during the interview session, which Miller and I agreed was pretty sweet. Miller had found himself one-on-one with Cain and the shirt came up, and some disappointing news was mined: Cain told him he didn't know who AC/DC was, but the shirt was on sale and he didn't want to pass up a black thermal for only 10 bucks.
Now, I find it hard to believe any 20-something can not know who AC/DC is. If true, that's shameful, Jason. Also, it's hard to believe because the JPJ speakers blare "Thunderstruck" just before tip-off, and fans replace the "Thun-der" chant with "Wa-hoos" (a wiiticism school founder Thomas Jefferson would certainly be proud of). Anyway, if I get a chance on Saturday I'll check with Cain to see how it's possible he doesn't know who one of the most righteous rock bands in history is.
We'll get to some more high-quality Virginia news in tomorrow's paper (only 35 cents in the District), including a testy testimonial for Virginia's role players from Seth Greenberg.
Greenberg was a little hot under the collar for much of his post-game presser last night. Greenberg mentioed in his opening statement some players had not competed hard enough in the closing munutes of the first half. Roanoke Times Bulldog Tech Beat Man Mark Berman had noticed Greenberg yelling at Collins in the team huddle during that span, so he asked Greenberg if Collins was one of those players. Greenberg asked Berman, "Were you in the huddle?" then reiterated his earlier assertion that the Hokies had lost as a team and snapped, "next question." Never want to be too presumptious, but it's not a huge leap in logic to believe Greenberg was none too pleased with Collins' play. And considering Collins' 1-for-6 shooting, there's no reason he shouldn't be.
As for Greenberg's reaction, there was probably a better way to handle the moment than going all "next question," on Berman. But Greenberg is an emotional, volatile man who is naturally inclined to seek confrontation, and all those qualities were ratcheted up in the moments after a disappointing loss. Those qualities are also what makes him the hard-driving, program-building success that he's been, so you take the good with the bad (and the good, in the end, certainly outweighs the bad in his case).
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