Virginia Cavaliers: NCAA Tournament Team Preview

Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia Cavaliers (1 Seed, East Bracket)

Record: 27-6 (16-2 in ACC)

Coach: Tony Bennett

Tournament Berth: ACC Automatic Bid

Key Wins: Pittsburgh, North Carolina, Syracuse
Key Losses: Green Bay, Maryland

Virginia finished the season with 13 wins before losing the ACC regular season finale to Maryland. The Maryland loss raised questions, but has been filtered since winning against Florida State and Pittsburgh in the ACC tournament.

The Cavaliers are set to play No. 7 Duke in the ACC championship Sunday. The Duke game is an important indicator to determine the validity of Virginia’s success. The defensive minded Cavs, number one in the country in points allowed per game, lost to No. 23 Duke on January 13.

Top Players

POINTS

PPG

FG%

FT%

3PT%

M. Brogdon

12.4

.42

.886

.371

J. Harris

11.6

.438

.646

.413

REBOUNDS

REB

OFF

DEF

BPG

A. Mitchell

6.8

2

4.9

.4

M. Brogdon

5.7

1

4.8

0.2

ASSISTS

APG

SPG

TO

AST/TO

L. Perrantes

3.8

.9

1

3.6

M. Brogdon

2.7

1.2

1.5

1.8

 

Starting Five:

Akil Mitchell

Mike Toby

Malcolm Brogdon

London Perrantes

Joe Harris

Who’s Hot: The Cavaliers pride themselves on stringent defense and offensive distribution. Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris lead the team in scoring at 12.4 points and 11.6 points per game. Brogdon played strong basketball during the 13 game win streak, but has struggled in the ACC tournament. The 6’6” senior guard Harris scored 20 points against Maryland in the quarterfinal matchup and has led the team during the tournament. Both players must step up to beat Duke on Sunday to lead Virginia to the Final Four.

Freshman point guard London Perrantes is another player to radar. The Crespi High School Alumni, go Celts, has scored in double figures three of the last seven games. Perrantes achieved the double digit plateau once before.

Who’s Not: Cavaliers would not be a top 10 team if they were cold. Their biggest weakness would be allowing second chance points off missed rebound opportunities. At 65.8 points per game the Cavaliers are ranked 294 in college basketball. As a team that struggles to produce on the offensive end, limiting second chance opportunities is a necessity.

This is also a team that lacks a go-to scorer who can create his own shot. A handful of teams in the tournament have the next level player that can get a bucket when called upon. Virginia is not one of those teams. Joe Harris is the 88th college prospect, according to Draft Express.

Outlook: Virginia has a strong chance of making the Final Four. Robust defensive teams are qualified to carry their success into the NCAA tournament more than offensive reliant teams. Players can have an off-shooting day, but defense is constant. A scoring drought combined with a hot offensive opponent would be the only reason for Virginia’s demise.

According to Joe Lunardi of ESPN, the Cavaliers are positioned to earn a three seed in the tournament. This will give them friendly matches in the first and second round with predictably a two seed in the sweet 16. Nothing is predictable in the NCAA tournament, though. Virginia is won the ACC tournament championship against Duke today and would presumably steal a NCAA tournament two seed with this win.

Commentary by Niles Olson

Sources:

ESPN

Draft Express

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