Friday, March 25, 2011
Intrastate scheduling likely to escalate
Accomplished state players still making choices
Doug Doughty's College Notebook Plus is exclusive to roanoke.com and is posted by 5 p.m. Fridays.
Find his College Notebook from The Roanoke Times in Thursday's college sports section
Miss the Insider column? Check out the Insiders blog
- Linebacker knows Virginia Tech's walk-on tradition
- Hokies, Cavs recruiting ranks 3rd, 4th in ACC, or 6th and 7th
- Green bucks the odds as ACC MVP candidate
- Recruiting updates
If you schedule Richmond or VCU right now, you would be adding a team that might be in the midst of a coaching transition. Get them in November or December while they're still feeling their way.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution sporstwriter Doug Roberson, in his blog on ajc.com, speculates that Richmond coach Chris Mooney may have advanced past the point at which even Georgia Tech can get him, so what are the chances that Mooney will be back at Richmond next year?
Most every discussion of Mooney as a coaching target includes VCU coach Shaka Smart. In addition to Georgia Tech, North Carolina State is looking for a coach, as is Tennessee. And those are just the programs on this side of the Mississippi.
Jon Oliver, Virginia executive associate athletic director, said this week on WINA in Charlottesville that Virginia is "scheduled to play" George Mason, one of five in-state programs to receive NCAA Tournament bids, along with Old Dominion and Hampton.
Oliver didn't say whether a UVa-George Mason game would take place next year. But I've heard that Virginia Tech will be playing George Mason next year, possibly in the preseason NIT.
One thing you can say with a high degree of certainty is that Jim Larranaga, who is 61, is likely to be back in Fairfax. Larranaga has a lot of energy but I don't see a Georgia Tech or N.C. State coming after him at this point.
In case you're wondering, George Mason returns four starters from a team that finished 27-7 this season, including Roanoke's Luke Hancock, who hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the Patriots' 61-57 NCAA Tournament victory over Villanova.
I was surprised to see that Hancock, a Hidden Valley High School graduate, made only 23 3-pointers this season. However, he led the Patriots in assists by a wide margin with 143. None of his teammates had more than 100.
THE PROBLEM in arranging games between the state's two ACC programs and their A-10 and CAA brethren is that Tech and Virginia would prefer that the ODUs of the world come to their place.
However, Richmond and the top CAA programs have reached a stage where they think Tech and UVa should come to their places, preferably in a home-and-home arrangement.
My understanding is that Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has been talking up a holiday tournament involving the state's top two ACC teams, something similar to the old Times-Dispatch Invitational, which had some rocking press hospitality rooms, as I recall.
Here's what I have to say about that: How dare Bob McDonnell or any other politician, for that matter, insert himself into athletic scheduling decisions with as little as this state does for higher education?
I'll never believe that it was politicians like former governor and current U.S. Sen. Mark Warner who got Virginia Tech into the ACC, but everybody wants to take credit for it.
Make the state's public universities more affordable and accessible for Virginia's youth and keep your nose out of athletics.
THERE WAS A TIME when Virginia and Virginia Tech could have viewed games with Richmond and VCU as a no-win situation. A victory wasn't going to help their ratings at tournament-selection time and a loss might be a killer. That would not have been the case this year. If the Hokies had played Richmond and lost, I've got to believe that outcome would have been viewed more favorably than a victory over South Carolina Upstate, Longwood or Mount St. Mary's.
Actually, I think that Tech's 2010-2011 schedule was a vast improvement over its 2009-2010 slate, but let's not forget that the Hokies played only 30 regular-season games instead of the allowable 31.
You've got to wonder if there wasn't somebody out there the Hokies could have scheduled that could have given them the necessary bump to get into the NCAAs.
Of course, you're still relying on 10 people in a room in Indianapolis, including two -- athletic directors Gene Smith from Ohio State and Jeff Hathaway from Connecticut -- who can't get their own houses in order. So who knows?
IN OUR ONGOING quest to track the state's top 100 football prospects, as rated by The Roanoke Times, column contributor Zirkle Blakey advises me that Matoaca High School center prospect John Pond has accepted a preferred walk-on spot at Virginia.
Pond, listed at 6-3 and 314 pounds, was the 73rd-rated prospect on The Roanoke Times' list. Blakey also tells me that Division III Hampden-Sydney is the destination of the No. 78 prospect on that list, highly regarded linebacker-safety Josh Doggett from Atlee High School in Mechanicsville.
Catching up on some other prospects previously listed as uncommitted, Morgan State signed 6-5, 305-pound Portsmouth Norcom offensive lineman Lakendrick Ross. Also, wide receiver Troy Scharfen from Langley High School will be going to William and Mary as a preferred walk-on.
Scharfen caught 96 passes for 1,354 yards and 13 touchdowns this past fall, tying Michael Partlow's record for receptions in a season. What's more, Scharfen played in 11 games, including one playoff game, while Partlow played in 14 for Handley.
The list can be found at the following link: roanoke.com/sports/college/wb/271838