VIRGINIA TECH BASKETBALL COACH JAMES JOHNSON terms Robert Brown’s decision to transfer “a surprise,” adding that he still believes in him. “He struggled a little bit this year,” Johnson says. “He fought hard. He’s very talented. We’re going to miss him. He was a talented guard who’s able to put the ball on the floor and score. He was up and down this year.” Berman has more here.
-When I talked with Brown after the loss to N.C. State in the ACC tournament, he said he planned to make 30,000 shots this offseason in preparation for his junior year. He didn’t mention that it would be outside of Blacksburg, but then again, I did not ask.
-I always enjoyed talking to Brown, but it was clear he wasn’t enjoying playing too much this year — at least not after his (and the team’s) hot start faded. Sometimes a fresh start is needed. Best of luck to him.
-And yes, it’s definitely a blow to the “We Are Family” mantra.
-Andy takes a look at the Hokies’ new offensive coaching staff led by coordinator Scot Loeffler, who will start simple in spring drills. “Without great fundamentals, without a mentality as a unit, all that great scheme you can throw right out the window,” Loeffler says. “That has no value. It’s going to be the bare bones of it. If you throw the whole kit and caboodle at them, they’re going to play slow. And we don’t want to play slow.
“We want to find out who our play-makers are and build the entire package around [them] — who we can count on, who’s reliable — and worry about the true scheme whenever the fall comes around.”
-I know, I know. Talk is cheap. But I really like that quote. A lot of us have thrown around the “lack of identity” phrase regarding Tech’s offense, but it sounds like Loeffler has a solid plan to create one.
-Virginia hosts Iowa tonight in the quarterfinals of the NIT. Doug has a preview here. Both teams have struggled away from home, but Doug notes that two of Virginia’s three road victories came at venues where Iowa lost — at Wisconsin and at Virginia Tech, where the Hokies beat the Hawkeyes 95-79 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
-NASCAR chairman Brian France essentially says “That’s racin’” when asked about the contact between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin last weekend. “I have said repeatedly, every minute, that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that’s not only going to happen — that’s expected,” France said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “Both of them did exactly what I think you would do when you really, really want to win. Getting some contact, trying to race extra hard to win the race, that’s what we’re about.”
-Hamlin will miss up to six weeks with his spine injury. “If me getting back in a car was based on pain tolerance then I would be in the car next week,” he says on Twitter. “There’s just more to it that I can’t control.”
-The U.S. plays Mexico to a scoreless draw in World Cup qualifying, gaining a critical point on the road. I didn’t see the match, but the ESPN gametracker said the Americans took only one shot and it wasn’t even on frame. Mexico, meanwhile, took 15 corners. A Houdini act by the U.S., in other words.
-Maryland beats Alabama 58-57 to advance to the NIT semifinals in New York.
-The Pittsburgh Penguins win their 13th straight.
-CBSSports.com has the Nationals atop its MLB power rankings heading into Sunday’s opening day. I think they have the Angels (seventh) and Rays (10th) rated too low, but I do like that they put the Blue Jays at eighth instead of higher than that. Five of the top six teams on that list are in the National League.
READER COMMENT O’ THE DAY
From Tom L: Hope Brown lands in a school where he is happy and can thrive in. Now lets take that spot and go get a strong post player from the JUCO ranks. Raines has improved but needs help. Van Zegeren needs a lot of work in the weight room. Bottom line is neither one is a true center. We need someone who can work with his back to the basket and bang inside on defense and for rebounds. Perfect opportunity.
NAME THAT TUNE
Living life is fun and we’ve just begun
To get our share of the world’s delights
(HIGH!) High hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
(WE!) No we don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong