Wednesday, March 12, 2008

THE EXISTENTIAL SETH GREENBERG

2008 TAH DARJEELING LIMITED COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD

In the Darjeeling Limited, the latest film by Wes Anderson of Rushmore, The Life Aquatic and Royal Tenenbaums’ fame, three American brothers (Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman) who have not spoken to each other in one year set off on a train voyage across India to re-bond as brothers and to ultimately pay a surprise visit to their mother (Anjelica Huston) who is a nun at a temple at the foot of the Himalayas. Seems as she ran off when the old man died suddenly after getting hit by a taxi in New York City, but that’s not really important.

(Oh by the way, there’s a cobra in the box and a tiger is terrorizing mom’s temple, but we digress.)

One morning the boys wake up to find their ride to spiritual enlightenment and brotherly love, the train, has stopped in the middle of nowhere. And when you’re in the middle of nowhere in India, you really are in the middle of nowhere.

The boys detrain only to be told by Francis’ (Wilson) assistant Brendan (Wallace Wolodarsky) that the steamer is “lost.” Of course, the logical question is asked regarding how exactly does a train get lost? “It’s on rails,” says youngest brother Jack (Schwartzman). It seems a good point.

Nearby, a group of official looking train types are huddled over a map in a manner which frankly looks a bit like a time-out huddle. This causes Francis to inquire, “Well, where are we?”

Gesturing toward the lost train and the heretofore unhelpful map, Brendan replies:

“We haven’t discovered us yet.”

+ + + + + + +

You don’t have to be a Quentin Tarantino to know that the whole scene is symbolic for Virginia Tech’s 2007-2008 basketball season. Maybe Wes Anderson’s a fan?

With that in mind, Hokie head coach Seth Greenberg gets the TAH Darjeeling Limited Award for Coach of the Year because, although he hasn’t fully discovered his team, he has worked wonders with this new group of brothers in arms as they have made their way across the difficult landscape that is the ACC regular season.

Evidently, the boys over at the ACC agree as late yesterday they named Greenberg Coach of the Year as well.

Maybe Coach Seth has a little zen master in him after all? One minute Tech looks like the red-hot Houston Rockets overwhelming Wake in the first half just two games back, then next out they come within seconds of the all-important 10th regular season win. Some days they are painfully close to being really good and some days they are…well…not so good. (Yes, sort of like Maryland, only much more consistent on the good end.)

Greenberg lost two top players in Jamon Gordon and Zabian Dowdell from last year's squad, and still managed to field a highly competitive team that earned a first round ACC tournament bye. Considering that Gordon and Dowdell scored almost 30 points per game, and the Hokies are scoring almost ten points less per game on average as a result of their departure, Greenberg’s coaching job looks even better.

With the exception of rebounding margin, almost every major statistics is down for VT this season. And yet they finish fourth after being picked 10th in the pre-season polls.

Add to that a 39 point disheartening drubbing in Chapel Hill and the Hokies strong finish is that much more impressive.

Credit fast-maturing freshmen stud Jeff Allen and the coach who crafted a rotation that includes six freshmen and a sophomore to complement leading scorers Deron Washington and A.D. Vassallo.

Later this week, the Hokies most likely will face a rematch with Miami in the second round. The Hokies lost to the Canes in Blacksburg 74-71 back in February. Bad news is the Hokies may need to win that one to get an at-large invite to the Big Dance.

Win or lose, enjoy your train ride across metaphoric India, coach. You deserve it.

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

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