Jed’s Best Seat Buzz: Does Leitao’s Team Have "It"?

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“Jed’s Best Seat Buzz”
with Jed Williams


The latest, greatest sports platitude – heir to the “help my team win” and “give 110 percent” throne – “it” gets tossed about these days without much hesitation or thought.

All of which seems unfair, untrue, and misplaced. Because only a select smattering of teams exude anything remotely resembling “it.”

My take on the most loaded, overused two letters in sports is a vague stab at best. “It” isn’t crystallized by championship banners (although those are nice, yes?!) or defined by All-American heroics. “It” seems far more fundamental, almost visceral. A style, a flair, camaraderie, a connection, an appeal. “It” is intangible, but “it” is there. And the dyed-in-the-wool fan – he who measures every breath by the bounce of the ball – knows “it” when he sees “it” … and understands how rare and special “it” is.

Of the UVa programs that I’ve covered directly as a broadcaster and reporter over the last seven years, I recall only three “it” squads, each for very different reasons: 2002 Virginia Football (when was the last time a football team that young did something that special?!), 2004 Virginia Baseball (Brian O’Connor’s first in the UVa dugout), and 2006 Virginia Lacrosse (for every reason imaginable – simply one of the greatest outfits ever assembled).

This winter, I think we may have a fourth. Only time – and games – will tell, but I detect “it” qualities about Dave Leitao’s second team in men’s basketball. I also catch a heavy whiff of longing. Never in recent memory has a Cavalier fan base been more anxious to wrap its collective arms around a single program and a single team than this year’s Hoos.

To understand that want is to trace back years along the timeline, well before Leitao ever strode