Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE
Delaware took out Virginia on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT semifinals. The worst part is that I found myself rooting for the Blue Hens to pull off the upset. I should go hand in my DAC Pack lifetime member card now.
I broke a Miraski house rule Tuesday night: I rooted for Delaware.
You may not understand, but it is so ingrained in me not to that this was somewhat of a shock to even myself. I went to Drexel. We don't do that.
When I was in school, facing Delaware for the North Atlantic Conference title, and later the America East conference title was a yearly event. Later Hofstra would take that place (before they became the silly Pride), but it was too late. Delaware was the enemy. Thou shall not root for the enemy.
Somewhere I still have the spray paint covered rubber chicken that we would wave during the rivalry game.
And yet I raised my hand to cheer for Delaware on Tuesday. Damn you Blue Hens.
It was probably only a matter of time before the Hens finally got a good game from one of their talented guards. It shouldn't have taken three games, but it did. It shouldn't have come against an ACC opponent, but it did.
It helps that Virginia was thin in the backcourt. It helps that the Cavaliers shot 4-for-21 from 3-point range.
But it was Jarvis Threatt that was the real reason for the win. Threatt shot well (6-for-12); he rounded (5); he even played defense, much to the shock of the game's ESPN3 announcing crew.
All of that turned into a 59-53 win for Delaware, the first time that the Blue Hens had beaten an ACC opponent in 50 years. For that they get to go to Madison Square Garden.
That isn't to say that the next step will be easy. Kansas State (the likely opponent, although Alabama-Hunstville has a knack for doing the improbable) doesn't have the same guard problems as Virginia. And Devon Saddler is still shockingly lacking in terms of production.
He was just 3-for-12 shooting, even though he led the Hens with 15 points -- a tribute to his foul shooting. He also wasn't the impact player on the defensive side yet.
He can't play that way against a Kansas State team that will just eat him for breakfast and allow him to shoot all night at that rate.
Tonight was Threatt's night though, whose play down the stretch made the difference when it truly mattered most.
Give credit to Joe Harris, the lone bright spot for Virginia, who scored 20 points, and tried his best to get the Cavaliers in position to tie the game late. He just couldn't do everything, and the rest of the Virginia backcourt was irrelevant on the offensive end.
Congrats *spit* Delaware *spit*. You managed to make me root for you Tuesday night ... twice.