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Three Up, Three Down (sort of): Virginia

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Yes, this is happening. Rob already did a fine job analyzing the game, but I need to get my thoughts in as well. Consider it part of the grieving process.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Bryant Crawford. 22 points.  8-10 shooting.  3-5 from deep.  A rebound, an assist, and 3 steals.  A rim rocking slam dunk that made the Joel nearly explode.  Bryant was absolutely dominant, and he carries with him a swagger that we haven't seen at the point guard position in a long, long time.  I honestly think the future is bright with Bryant as our floor general.  I've been high on him all year, and I feel more and more justified in those feelings with every passing game.  The future's bright with Bryant.

Devin Thomas.. Devin was a beast, a monster, a warrior, every possible superlative I can give to him.  Even after injuring his ankle early in the second half, our veteran big man fought through it on his way to a 19 point (6-11 shooting, 7-11 from the line), 6 rebound performance.  It absolutely kills me that Devin won't (barring a miracle like what UVA got this game) see the postseason in his Wake Forest career.  He absolutely deserves it, as does Codi.  Sometimes the sports world just isn't fair.

Three Point Defense Until The Last Minute. Through more than 35 minutes of this game, Wake Forest held UVA to 1-13 shooting.  I'd like to believe they were doing something right in that time for those kinds of results.  So, just like the rest of the game, job well done gentlemen.  Almost.

The Down

That Final Minute. The Down so big it stands alone.  The Down so big I'm actually writing this first to get it out of my system.  The Down so big it literally depressed me to the point that I'm only now finding the inspiration and energy to write this.  The thing is, there's more than one Down in that final minute to parse.  There were missed free throws.  There were stupid turnovers.  There was terrible defense.  This is a Down so big it has a pulse.  It has a history.  This Down will find you and put a pox on all of your houses.  It is a Lannister at a rival family wedding.  This Down is the nastiest one I've ever written about.  A literal all-time bad collapse is probably enough to stand on its own.  I have never, and probably will never, see a collapse as mind-numbing, as rage-inducing, as dignity-destroying as this loss.  In that sense and that sense alone, it's almost relieving.  I will probably never see a Wake Forest team succeed so completely in snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.  It's kind of like when you get the mother of all stomach ailments and when you finally feel better you tell yourself that's probably the worst you'll ever feel and there's a decent chance you're right.  That, without question, is the nature, the depth, and the power of the collapse that happened against Virginia.  It has been analyzed plenty by now, including by our fine leader, and I'm not sure how much specific there really is left to say about it.

The Bottom Line

That game was a microcosm of the season as a whole.  There were stretches of absolute brilliance.  There were reasons to believe the future is bright.  But there was also agony, frustration, confusion, things perhaps worth second guessing.  I don't want to make it sound like the team doesn't need to learn how to finish, or that the early season successes weren't an agonizing glimpse of what could've been.  That's absolutely true.  But just looking at the team's record or the fact that we've dropped so many games in a row as the only measure of the team's quality and/or the program's longer term prospects is, in my estimation, slightly disingenuous as well.  I'm burying this game as of this moment.  I fondly urge you guys to try to do the same.

On to the next.  Please.  Go Deacs.

--SF