Usually November is a conflicted month for myself.  As excited as I am to see college hoops get underway, I’m not exactly pleased how early it’s gotten underway over the last 5-10 years.  Not to sound like grumpy old man, but back in the day teams would tip off their regular seasons November 15-20… play a game or two before Thanksgiving and then play a month of virtual preseason tests before conference play would begin January 2nd (can’t play hoops on New Year’s Day).  But nowadays we’re robbed of giving closing month our full attention.  As the…what is that you say?  Maryland, Virginia Tech and Virginia are all 4-6?  On a combined 4-11 swoon?  Injured, inexperienced and incomprehendable?  And Alex Len posted a double double against Kentucky?  The Cavaliers held an opponent to 15 second half points?  The Hokies are 2-0 and bound for Bubbleland once more?  I can already hear the CBS College Basketball theme…
Alma Mater Update– go figure, the weekend hoops is here the Orange pull off a ridiculous upset of #11 Louisville.  Is this the type of win like SU’s upset of Nebraska in 1984 that went a long way towards reviving the program?  All of a sudden the postseason is a major possibility with games against Missouri and Temple on deck as the Tigers are probably recovering from it’s first fall in the SEC… and the Owls are– well, Temple.  And just to show that Sign of the Whale isn’t just a football hangout…. the next day my group enjoyed the SU-San Diego State Carrier Classic with a solid crowd at SOTW– with Dinosaur BBQ, nonetheless.

Maryland lost its fourth straight… falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter before losing at #10 Clemson 45-10.  What was once a pleasant surprise (4-2 and 2-0 in the ACC) has been replaced by a young, thin roster with minimal margin of error.  Terrapin Triumphs– Brandon Ross ran for 100 yards… the punt team notched a fumble recovery that led to the team’s lone touchdown… and nobody suffered any season-ending injuries (thus far).  Terrapin Troubles– three fumbles for Shawn Petty…the offense converted just 1 of 13 third down attempts… the defense allowed over 300 yards in the first half.  Next Up:  Saturday vs #10 Florida State.

Virginia kept its slim postseason hopes alive with a 41-40 come from behind win over Miami.  The Cavaliers need to beat North Carolina and Virginia Tech– no easy tasks– in order to pull off one incredible resurrection.  Cavalier Congrats– Michael Rocco throws for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns– including the game-winner to Jake McGee with :06 remaining…the offense converted 9 of 14 third down situations.  Cavalier Concerns– the running game averaged under 3 yards a carry… UVa had trouble containing Hurricane freshman RB Duke Johnson (150 yds rushing, a TD pass and a KOR for a score). Next Up:  Thursday vs North Carolina.

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