Tony Bennett

Trio of sophomores improving this summer for Virginia

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With Virginia losing a few transfers and dealing with injuries to seniors Joe Harris (stress fracture in foot) and Akil Mitchell (broken bone in hand), it was important for the sophomore trio of Justin Anderson, Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey to develop in the offseason in preparation for a difficult 2013-14 ACC season.

Anderson, Nolte and Tobey have been three of the biggest improvers for Virginia this offseason according to a report from Whitelaw Reid of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Strength and Conditioning Mike Curtis has been giving head coach Tony Bennett updates and consistently has good news on Anderson, Nolte and Tobey.

While Tobey and Nolte are focused on adding muscle, Anderson has a different program since his physique is already NBA-level.

Anderson, who had the physique of an NBA player before he even got to Virginia, has had a slightly different training regimen from Tobey and Nolte.

Curtis said the goal this summer for Anderson, 6-6 and 225 pounds, was to gain “more trunk strength and postural stability.”

“He’s been able to move a little bit better,” Curtis said, “and not kind of get going one way and not be able to stop the train.”
The 6’11” Tobey has added 20 pounds in muscle to go up to 247 while Nolte has added 17 pounds to increase to 225 pounds as a 6’8″ forward.

The difference has been noticeable in pick-up games as Curtis notes the three are doing new things this summer.
In recent pickup games, Curtis has detected a difference in Tobey, Nolte and Anderson.

“They’ve been more physical and have done things they haven’t done before,” Curtis said, “so, hopefully, that translates when it’s time for us to get out there.”

Virginia will need the three of them to contribute this season as the seniors come back from injury.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: