NCAA March Madness Preview – Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia Cavaliers

ACC (22-10, 11-7)

 by Joel Welser

Virginia was the last team to fall victim to Syracuse’s amazing run in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Cavaliers cruised past Hampton, Butler and Iowa State before falling 68-62 to the Orange with a trip to the Final Four on the line. Coach Tony Bennett has built a program that can continuously make deep tournament runs and this year should be no different.

Big Wins: 12/28 at Louisville (61-53), 1/24 at Notre Dame (71-54), 2/27 North Carolina (53-43)

Bad Losses: 1/4 at Pittsburgh (76-88), 2/4 at Syracuse (62-66), 2/20 Miami FL (48-54)

Coach: Tony Bennett

Why They Can Surprise:

Virginia will always be in games due to their stellar defense. The Cavaliers allow a mere 54.9 points per game, which is the best in the nation. This is a team that will slow things down to a crawl and they have thrived in that system. The Cavaliers do not allow the opposition to get any easy shots. And they make the most of their possessions by not turning the ball over and making the opposition work hard defensively on every possession. That usually results in a smart shot by UVA and they have the players who can knock down those shots. London Perrantes is the team’s only double digit scorer and will take most of the big shots for this team. However, Marial Shayok, Devon Hall, Isiah Wilkins, Kyle Guy and Darius Thompson are all capable of having quality scoring outputs.

Why They Can Disappoint:

The key to beating Virginia is to get them to hurry on offense. That is not easy to do with Perrantes running the point. He dished out 3.8 assists per game and is a huge reason why Virginia rarely turns the ball over. But if the team does start pressing and forcing passes and forcing shots, they are beatable. There is a lot of depth and talent on this team, but they cannot score quickly. Fortunately, it is very rare for Virginia to need to come from behind.

 

Probable Starters:

London Perrantes, Senior, Guard, 12.5 ppg, 3.8 apg

Devon Hall, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg, 1.9 apg, 4.4 rpg

Marial Shayok, Junior, Guard, 8.6 ppg, 1.0 apg

Isaiah Wilkins, Junior, Forward, 7.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.3 bpg

Jack Salt, Sophomore, Center, 3.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg

Key Role Players:

Kyle Guy, Freshman, Guard, 7.8 ppg, 1.4 apg

Darius Thompson, Junior, Guard, 6.1 ppg, 2.2 apg

Jarred Reuter, Sophomore, Forward, 3.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Mamadi Diakite, Freshman, Forward, 3.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Ty Jerome, Freshman, Guard, 4.4 ppg, 1.5 apg

By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 66.6 (308th in nation, 15th in conference)

Scoring Defense: 54.9 (1, 1)

Field-Goal Percentage: 46.6 (68, 7)

Field-Goal Defense: 39.1 (11, 1)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.9 (222, 13)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.9 (29, 2)

Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6 (160, 9)

Rebound Margin: 3.5 (75, 5)

Assists Per Game: 14.3 (128, 11)

Turnovers Per Game: 9.6 (2, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:

2016    NCAA Round of 64 win over Hampton

2016    NCAA Round of 32 win over Butler

2016    NCAA Regional Semifinal win over Iowa State

2016    NCAA Regional Final loss to Syracuse

2015    NCAA Round of 64 win over Belmont

2015    NCAA Round of 32 loss to Michigan State

2014    NCAA Round of 64 win over Coastal Carolina

2014    NCAA Round of 32 win over Memphis

2014    NCAA Regional Semifinal loss to Michigan State

2013    NIT     First Round win over Norfolk State

2013    NIT     Second Round win over St. John’s

2013    NIT     Quarterfinal loss to Iowa

2012    NCAA Round of 64 loss to Florida

2008    CBI     First Round win over Richmond

2008    CBI     Second Round win over Old Dominion

2008    CBI     Semifinal loss to Bradley

2007    NCAA Round of 64 win over Albany

2007    NCAA Round of 32 loss Tennessee

2006    NIT     First Round loss to Stanford

2004    NIT     First Round win over George Washington

2004    NIT     Second Round loss to Villanova

2003    NIT     First Round win over Brown

2003    NIT     Second Round loss to St. Johns

*all team stats through 3/5

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