Game Preview: UVA, Syracuse meet with Final Four berth on the line

march madness final four 2016UVA played Syracuse more than two months ago. The world was a different place then. For starters, the starters: Jack Salt. Remember when Jack Salt was getting the start and playing four minutes a game for the Cavs?

Isaiah Wilkins got 19 minutes off the bench. Mike Tobey got 14. Marial Shayok put in five, and did nothing: a row of zeroes in the box score, an incredibly rare 5 quadrillion for his night’s work.

The Cavs got the win, 73-65, to improve to, gulp, 4-3 in the ACC. Remember those days, when UVA needed a win at home to get back over .500 in conference play?

Some takeaways from the Jan. 24 win:

  • The Pack-Line is designed to take away inside action and force opponents into contested midrange jumpers and threes. Syracuse isn’t afraid to hoist jumpers: the Orange put up 30 three-point attempts, and hit 13 (43.3 percent), while shooting just 8-of-24 (33.3 percent) from two.
  • Michael Gbinije had 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting from the field and 5-of-9 shooting from three for ‘Cuse. Trevor Richardson had 23 on 8-of-15 shooting from the field and 6-of-10 from three.
  • The Syracuse 2-3 zone is supposed to force opponents into contested midrange jumpers and threes. (Sound familiar?) Virginia patiently worked the ball into the zone, shooting 17-of-26 (65.4 percent) on twos, and the inside-out action led to 44.4 percent shooting (8-of-18) on threes.
  • Malcolm Brogdon had 21 on 6-of-13 shooting, 3-of-7 from three. London Perrantes had 16 on 5-of-9 shooting, 4-of-8 from three, with seven assists. Anthony Gill had 16 (7-of-11 shooting) and eight rebounds.
  • Virginia led by 10 early in the second half, but Syracuse tied the game with 8:19 to go with a 12-2 run. Back-to-back threes by Brogdon keyed an 8-1 Cavs run that put the Cavs back in control, and Syracuse made the score look good at the end with a pair of threes in the final minute.

 

UVA-Syracuse Game Notes

  • Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, after his team’s 63-60 win over Gonzaga in the Sweet 16, on having a day to prepare for the Cavs: “It doesn’t help us at all. I know them; that’s the problem. They know us and we know them, and what I know about them, I don’t like. They’ve got a great team. I’m going to try not to think about that for another 10 or 15 minutes. They’ve got a great team. I think Tony Bennett is one of the best coaches I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen a lot of coaches.”
  • The ‘Hoos are an 8.5-point favorite in Vegas. KenPom.com gives Virginia a 78 percent win probability, with a projected final score at 64-57. The ESPN Basketball Power Index gives the Cavs a 69 percent win probability.

Preview by Chris Graham

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