Chris Graham: UVa.’s London Perrantes, Akil Mitchell, Joe Harris

uva unc1The difference between the middling 9-4 non-conference UVa. basketball team and the team that is 5-1 in the ACC is clear: London Perrantes.

Perrantes averaged 3.1 points per game and 2.7 assists per game in Virginia’s 13 nonconference games. In ACC play, Perrantes has been on a different plane, averaging 7.5 points and and 5.8 assists per game, including eight points and nine assists in Monday’s 76-61 win over North Carolina.

Most impressive has been Perrantes’ attention to taking care of the ball. For the season, he has 70 assists to 23 turnovers, an assist-to-turnover ratio of greater than three-to-one.

Since Perrantes’ streak of top-notch play began with the 62-50 win at Florida State in Virginia’s ACC opener on Jan. 4, UVa. has lost just once, a tough 69-65 setback on the road at Duke that saw Virginia rally late from an 11-point deficit in the final three minutes to actually lead in the closing seconds.

Virginia’s five ACC wins have all been by double digits.

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Before the season began, a local postgraduate basketball coach who knows a lot more about basketball than I ever will told me the key to Virginia’s success would be Akil Mitchell. For the longest stretch this season, Mitchell seriously underperformed, but in ACC play he has looked like the breakout performer that he was in 2012-2013.

That was evident again Monday night. Against a rugged UNC front line, Mitchell was able to snare a game-high 11 rebounds, and in the end Carolina was only able to outrebound Virginia by one, 39-38.

Mitchell also didn’t seem to get the credit he deserved for his yeoman defensive effort at Duke last week, holding this spring’s #1 NBA Draft pick, Jabari Parker, to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field.

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Joe Harris missed his last five three-point attempts, but those first three, in the game’s opening three minutes, that went in were key to another hot start from the field for Virginia.

Harris ended up with 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the field.

         
 

UVA Basketball Fans!

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

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