Game Preview: #1 seed UVA set to face Hampton in NCAA Tournament

virginia basketballHampton, facing Midwest top seed UVA on Thursday, likes to push tempo, averaging 72.2 possessions per game, according to

The Pirates don’t do much with the pace, averaging a point per possession on offense, and giving up 1.048 points per possession on defense, by KenPom’s adjusted efficiency data.

On paper, this is about as close to a perfect first-round matchup for the Cavaliers as you could draw up.

Virginia was able to control tempo against three high-octane teams on its 2015-2016 schedule – West Virginia (average tempo: 70.5 possessions; tempo against UVA: 66), Villanova (average tempo: 67.4 possessions; tempo against UVA: 62), and two games against North Carolina (average tempo: 72.0 possessions; tempo against UVA: 63.5).

And the wins came in different ways – beating ‘Nova and UNC in high-scoring affairs (86-75 over the Wildcats on Dec. 19, 79-74 over UNC on Feb. 27), and West Virginia in a slugfest (70-54 on Dec. 8).

Expect Virginia to control tempo against Hampton on Thursday, forcing the Pirates into a half-court slog that isn’t exactly their strength, on either end of the floor.


Inside Hampton

  • The Pirates shoot 41.5 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from three-point range. Their preference for pace leads to issues with turnovers, with Hampton averaging 14 a game.
  • Point guard Reginald Johnson Jr. averages a team-best 18.3 points and 4.1 assists per game. Those are the good numbers. The not-so-good: 37.2 percent shooting from the field, 30.2 percent from the line, 16.3 field-goal attempts per game, 2.8 turnovers per game. It’s feast-or-famine.
  • Forward Quinton Chievous averages 17 points and 11 rebounds a game on 57.1 percent shooting from the field. Chievous gets to the line (5.7 attempts per game), but only shoots 48.3 percent on his charity tosses.
  • Also watch for: Brian Darden (13.2 ppg, 34.6% FG, 33.5% three-point field goal), Lawrence Cooks (8.0 ppg, 40.7% FG, 32.7% three-point field goals).


Inside Virginia

  • The return of Anthony Gill: AG has scored in double figures in five of his last six games after a late-season slump, including scoring 13 on 5-of-8 shooting in the ACC Tournament final against North Carolina.
  • Malcolm Brogdon is coming off probably his worst performance of the season in that UNC game: 6-of-22 from the field and just one free-throw attempt.

– Preview by Chris Graham

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