If college basketball analysts and experts aren’t going to confirm it, I will. Virginia Basketball is the real deal and can make a deep postseason run come March. Last year, critics dubbed Virginia Basketball as “one of the most boring things ever because of their slow pace. Though this appeared true because of the lack of scoring, Virginia’s offense has transformed significantly. There is a bevy of scoring options to rely on, as Virginia has had six different players score at least 19 points in a game this season compared to only three last year.
Also, three different players have even scored at least 25. Only former point guard London Perrantes achieved such a feat last year. This scoring diversification helps
They are going to siphon every little second off the shot clock before they put up a shot. They don’t strive to blow out teams but instead put them in a stranglehold and make them work tenaciously to earn points. Virginia has made examples of how legitimate their number one defense in their ACC conference as they have not allowed more than 61 points to any of their opponents.
Now, Virginia’s true legitimacy will be tested again with back-to-back road ACC games coming among the likes of Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. Both of these teams have played tough games against Virginia at home, with all of them going down to the wire. Virginia’s last road game against Georgia Tech did not end well, losing 64-68. Georgia Tech pinpoints this win by finding ways to attack the pack-line defense, hitting eight of 15 three-point shots. However, the Tech’s three leading scorers that night have all graduated and they also have a new coach who has implemented his own offensive schemes.
Preview and Prediction: Virginia Cavalier Basketball at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
The trek towards number one continues for the Virginia Cavaliers Basketball team as they bring their undefeated ACC record into the McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta Georgia. In the 2015-2016 season, it was not a memorable experience for the number four ranked Cavaliers as they were upset by Georgia Tech. However, the makeup of these teams has changed considerably.
Georgia Tech was ranked 125th in the nation in three-point percentage, shooting at a clip of 35.7%. This is an important stat, considering this is the biggest flaw to Virginia’s pack-line defense. Any player that is playing off their player may struggle to react quickly enough to close out on the ball. The moment a player knock’s a three-pointer down, the deep-range shooting frenzy begins. Exactly what happened to Virginia as they battled to lessen the deficit throughout the game.
Now in 2017-2018, Georgia Tech’s three-point potency has been subdued. They are ranked 299th in the nation in three-point percentage, shooting at a 31.9% clip, which plays perfectly into Virginia’s defensive schemes. Virginia head coach Tony Bennett has lived with the tough contested shots in the paint. The defensive scheme’s downsides have been the difficulty of gaining offensive rebounds, as the help-side defense sometimes allows opposing players to gain a better position for rebounds. NC State was able to prevent a complete blowout by gaining 14 offensive rebounds to Virginia’s five. NC State was able to capitalize on some of the second chance opportunities.
Overall, Virginia’s defense smothered any shot outside of the perimeter against NC State, as NC State shot a horrendous 12.5%. This is a foreshadowing of what is to come against three-point deficient Yellow Jackets. The Yellow Jacket’s one savior could come in the form of 6’4 sophomore guard Josh Okogie, who is shooting three-pointers at a 43% clip. However, he isn’t a volume shooter at deep-range but if this team wants to have a chance, he better visit Under Armour’s department store and purchase the Curry 4’s. “Make me my like Curry.”
Virginia’s crawled into the national limelight and time can only tell when this team will display some kinks in their defensive armor. I don’t expect it to occur here, despite losing its last road game against Georgia Tech. Virginia has numerous options to go to if someone is cold and they will be able to find ways around Georgia Tech’s rugged defense. It will be a low scoring affair that will be tight until the final waning minutes where Virginia pulls away on a couple key baskets. Virginia 61-52