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ACC champ Virginia tabbed as four seed in West: First-round matchup with #13 Ohio

uva basketball national champs
The scene from Minneapolis in 2019. Photo by Chris Graham.

Virginia is the four seed in the West Region, which features #1 national seed Gonzaga, and Iowa and Kansas as the two and three.

Brutal region.

The ‘Hoos (18-6), the ACC regular-season champion, will face MAC Tournament champ Ohio (16-7) in a first-round matchup.

A potential second-round matchup with Big East regular-season and tournament runner-up Creighton (20-8) sits in the second round.

And then, sitting in the Sweet Sixteen, Gonzaga (26-0), which defeated – emasculated – UVA back in December.

First things first: Ohio

The Bobcats played their way into the NCAA Tournament field as the #13 seed in the West with a three-game run through the MAC Tournament as the five seed, defeating two seed Buffalo, 84-69, in the tournament final.

Ohio finished with an average rating of 85.0 in the five metrics used by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee to select and seed the tourney field, with an 0-2 record in Quadrant 1 games (a narrow 77-75 loss to Illinois on Nov. 27; and a 95-78 loss to Toledo on Jan. 8), and a 3-2 record in Quad 2 (losses to Marshall and Akron; wins over Toledo and Buffalo, one in the regular season and one in the conference tournament).

Breakdown: Ohio

  • 6’4” junior Jason Preston: 16.6 ppg, 7.2 assists/g, 6.8 rebounds/g, 53.0% FG, 40.8% 3FG
  • 6’8” senior Dwight Wilson: 14.9 ppg, 7.5 rebounds/g, 66.5% FG
  • 6’8” junior Ben Vander Plas: 12.8 ppg, 5.7 rebounds/g, 3.8 assists/g, 43.9% FG, 35.6% 3FG
  • 6’5” sophomore Ben Roderick: 12.4 ppg, 48.7% FG, 40.7% 3FG
  • 6’3” sophomore Lunden McDay: 10.3 ppg, 43.5% FG, 35.2% 3FG
  • 6’1” freshman Mark Sears: 8.7 ppg, 3.5 assists/g, 48.0% FG, 28.9% 3FG
  • 6’1” sophomore Miles Brown: 5.0 ppg, 41.9% FG, 35.6% 3FG

Breakdown: Offense

Efficiency numbers from Synergy Sports

Inside game: 26.7 percent of offensive possessions

Ohio is “excellent” on cuts (1.331 PPP) and offensive rebounds (1.217 PPP), and “average” on post-ups (0.812 PPP).

  • Who to watch for: Wilson (84% FG/1.655 PPP on cuts; 80.6% FG on offensive rebounds; 53.4%/0.96 PPP on post-ups), Vander Plas (66.7%/1.429 PPP on offensive rebounds, 70.6%/1.227 PPP on cuts, Preston 66.7%/1.194 PPP on cuts.

Spot-ups: 23.8 percent of offensive possessions

The Bobcats are “excellent,” averaging 1.036 PPP on spot-ups.

  • Who to watch for: Preston (51.2%/1.442 PPP), Roderick (43.7%/1.202 PPP), Sears (43.3%/1.156 PPP).

Pick-and-rolls: 16.9 percent of offensive possessions

“Excellent” at P&R ballhandler (0.851 PPP), “good” at P&R roll man (0.98 PPP).

  • Who to watch for: Vander Plas (50.%/1.129 PPP on P&R roll man), Sears (50.0%/1.090 PPP on P&R ballhandler), Wilson (61.5%/1.043 PPP on P&R roll man), Preston (46.3%/0.838 on P&R ballhandler)

Transition: 15.3 percent of offensive possessions

“Excellent,” per Synergy, scoring 1.175 PPP.

  • Who to watch for: Vander Plas (58.3%/1.344 PPP), Roderick (56.3%/1.292 PPP), McDay (54.5%/1.231 PPP), Preston (68.4%/1.185 PPP)

Breakdown: Defense

Efficiency numbers from Synergy Sports

The best defender is Roderick, who rates “excellent,” allowing opponents 0.654 PPP.

Preston (0.743 PPP), Brown (0.767 PPP) and Vander Plas (0.789 PPP) all rate “very good.”

At a glance

Efficiency data from

  • Offense: Ohio 113.7 (29), Virginia 116.3 (12)
  • Defense: Ohio 101.2 (174), Virginia 92.3 (33)
  • Tempo: Ohio 69.3 (131), Virginia 60.1 (357)

Story by Chris Graham

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