The Davidson Wildcats feel at No. 3 Virginia tonight 83-72 but proved that he squad was for real in the process. For the most part Bob McKillop's squad was supposed to royally struggle in their first year of Atlantic 10 play a la George Mason last year, but the Wildcats find themselves at 9-2 heading into conference play.
Virginia came into tonight averaging nearly a 29 point advantage over visitors at John Paul Jones Arena. Remember, Harvard came in for the Wahoos last home affair and lost 76-27. Davidson however had UVA on the ropes for a good portion of the game an hung with Tony Bennett's squad for almost 40 minutes. The Wildcats even fared better than A-10 favorite VCU did on their home court.
Sure none of Davidson's wins are overly impressive but the Wildcats only two losses came to ACC challengers Virginia and North Carolina. McKillop has to be happy for a squad that lost DeMon Brooks, Tom Droney, and Chris Czerapowicz. McKillop isn't rebuiliding, instead he has Tyler Kalinoski and Jack Gibbs running the show, both averaging over 16 points per game.
Filling in for Brooks and likely leading the way over all of VCU's high profile freshmen is 6-7 Peyton Alridge who is averaging nearly 12 points and 6 rebounds per night.
It seems like this is a vintage McKillop team, not in the vein of Stephen Curry but more in the mold of no stars and a total team effort. The squad actually reminds me of the solid, balanced Belmont teams of the past. The only question now is can they still hang around in A-10 play despite having the third easiest nonconference schedule in the A-10 behind Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure?
I don't know the answer right now, but we'll find out in a hurry when the Wildcats start out their A-10 slate with a home matchup against Richmond before heading to VCU for an early conference tilt on Broad Street.