The One Where We Think Happy Thoughts
If, in these trying times, you are searching for a reason to be optimistic--and who isnt?--then I present you with the matter of Virginia's road woes.
Yes, Virginia hasn’t won a road game outside its own state the past season and a half and the Cavs have lost 23 of their last 27 road games dating back to the 2004-05 season.
But coach Dave Leitao clearly gets irritated when the topic comes up. Following Sunday’s home win over Wake Forest, Leitao was reminded of this week’s two road games and his team’s 0-3 road mark this season (losses at Purdue, UNC and BC).
“I know the reasons why. It’s more upstairs. We’ve got to prepare ourselves to play through everything, through the crowd, through the opponent and through runs and just maintain our poise, our focus and our energy. If we do that, I am confident whether it’s Wednesday or whenever, we’ll win some games.”
Just how bad were the Cavaliers on the road in conference play last season? Really, really bad. Were I Dave Leitao, I'd be irritated too. Also, I'd wear my suit inside out. Because I have to change our mojo somehow. Time for the rally...er, pants! Here's how ACC teams fared on the road in 2006, sorted (worst to best) by efficiency margin:
Team OFF_EFF DEF_EFF EFF_Margin
Virginia 87.3 108.3 -21.0
Olé! 106.1 120.8 -14.7
Maryland 89.8 102.2 -12.4
Clemson 92.4 102.4 -10.0
Ga Tech 101.8 110.5 -8.7
Miami 103.2 110.3 -7.1
Va Tech 102.5 107.5 -5.0
Florida State 103.9 108.7 -4.8
Boston College 106.7 106.6 +0.1
NC State 107.2 106.9 +0.3
Duke 115.0 104.9 +10.1
North Carolina 112.6 100.4 +12.2
[EFF Margin is OFF EFF - DEF EFF.
For reference, the conference average offensive and defensive efficiency in 2006 was 104.7.]
As you can see, Virginia was in its own suckosphere. I mean, the Cavs were way out there. Even Wake Forest and its comically bad road defense offered no match.
87.3 points-per-100-possessions? It's like they would forget how to run their offense. The defense wasn't good either, but at least they were only a few points off the conference average at that end. Were there Virginia fans who sat through all eight road games, and if so, have their eyes stopped bleeding yet?
It's too early to know if the pattern will hold with the 2007 Cavs, but the numbers they've posted in their first two road games aren't exactly encouraging. I have to think their road offense will be much better this year...it has no where to go but up. And fortunately for the Wahoos as it pertains to Wednesday, NC State's defense at home has been a joke. It's the movable object and the stoppable force! Who will succumb?