Sunday, January 24
TV: ACC Network
The Hokies will face perhaps their biggest challenge of the season when #2 UVA comes to Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The Hoos are 18-0 on the season, and they are trying to earn their second consecutive #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
UVA is battle tested, particularly on the road. They have knocked off three ranked teams away from John Paul Jones Arena.
76-65 at #8 Maryland
74-57 at #16 VCU
62-56 at #9 Notre Dame
Those three teams have combined to go 49-7, and UVA was able to beat them all on the road, and two of them by double-digits. If you were wondering whether or not UVA deserves their #2 ranking, I believe it’s pretty clear that they absolutely do.
Virginia’s projected starting lineup looks like this…
G London Perrantes (6-2, 191, So.): 5 ppg, 73 assists to 23 turnovers. Perrantes isn’t flashy, but he’s the ideal point guard for Tony Bennett.
G Justin Anderson (6-6, 228, Jr.): 14.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg. Anderson used to only be a great athlete, but he has now developed into an excellent basketball player. He leads the team in scoring and is shooting 52.6% from three-point range. Anderson plays with a ton of energy. He could be a first round pick in June’s draft.
G Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, 215, r-Jr.): 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 51 assists. Brogdon is another long-armed wing who is a great fit for Tony Bennett. He is very capable of exploding offensively.
F Darion Atkins (6-8, 241, Sr.): 6.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg. Atkins is the only senior who plays major minutes for the Hoos.
C Mike Tobey (7-0, 253, Jr.): 7.8 ppg, 5.8 rpg. Tobey is a very skilled center. His 75.7% mark from the free throw line makes him a very dangerous player.
Anthony Gill (6-8, 230, r-Jr.) has started 17 games this year for UVA, but he is listed as a reserve for this game according to the UVA game notes. Last year he was the ideal sixth man for Tony Bennett, and this season he is averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Of note, the Hoos also have freshman wing Marial Shayok (6-5, 207, Fr.), who originally signed with Buzz Williams at Marquette. He is shooting 45.2% from three-point range and averaging 4.7 points per game.
As a team, UVA shoots 48% from the field, 39.9% from the outside, and 74.3% from the free throw line. Their opponents are shooting just 33.5% from the field and are scoring only 49.3 points per game.
A quick look at the efficiency ratings shows how far apart these teams are…
Offensive Efficiency: VT #149, UVA #8
Defensive Efficiency: VT #208, UVA #3
Rebounding Rate: VT #323, UVA #3
Turnovers per possession: VT #154, UVA #6
Opp. Turnovers per possession: VT #108, UVA #314
The Hoos rank in the top 10 in four of those five categories, so it’s easy to see why they are ranked #2 in the country. Even though they don’t force a ton of turnovers, they more than make up for it by playing suffocating defense. In their last game, they held Georgia Tech to just 28 points, and the Yellow Jackets are a team that took Notre Dame down to the wire on two occasions.
Tech nearly beat UVA at home this year, and they could potentially do the same this year, but only if the Hoos are caught playing a sloppy game, or perhaps looking ahead to their January 31 home matchup with the Duke Blue Devils.