Inside the Numbers: This Virginia win brought to you by the Pack-Line
For perspective on how good #11 Virginia was defensively on Saturday, we need to look back at the past month in ACC play.
Every one of the Cavs’ first eight conference opponents scored at least 1.000 points per possession, and the average over the stretch was 1.064 points per possession, a middling sixth-best in the ACC.
Louisville, for its part, had averaged 80.9 points per game on 49.1 percent shooting and 1.154 points per possession coming in.
The final tally on Saturday: 47 points, 32.7 percent shooting, .758 points per possession.
The Pack-Line is back.
Take away their strengths
The Pack-Line, at its best, takes away an opponent’s best players, and it did Saturday. Damion Lee was averaging 17.7 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting from the floor and 37.7 percent shooting from three coming in. Lee had six points, was 2-of-7 from the floor and 0-of-4 from three in 27 minutes.
Trey Lewis was scoring 12.7 points a game, shooting 43.7 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from three. He had four points on 1-of-6 shooting from the field.
Chinanu Onuaku was their man in the post, averaging 10.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game, shooting 62.0 percent from the field. On Saturday, Onuaku, limited to 19 minutes by illness, had one point, no rebounds and five turnovers.
Balance for Virginia
Also typical of an old-style Virginia win was that the leading scorers – Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill – had 13 each.
No need for hero ball with a balanced effort that had eight Cavs scoring at least four points.
Kind of wish coach Tony Bennett had emptied the bench a bit earlier. The margin didn’t get below 19 in the final 15 minutes until the walk-ons entered in the final minute, and still London Perrantes got 35 minutes, and Brogdon 34.
Anthony Gill played 28. Isaiah Wilkins and Mike Tobey logged 22 each. Darius Thompson got 21 minutes off the bench.
Devon Hall played 14, and Marial Shayok 13.
After leading for all of 45 seconds in the last-second win at Wake on Tuesday, Virginia led for 39:39 on Saturday, all but the 21 seconds it took the ‘Hoos to score on the opening possession of the game.
The win boosted Virginia from #11 to #5 in the KenPom.com rankings.
The D was ranked 46th nationally in defensive efficiency coming in, and rocketed up to 28th after.
– Column by Chris Graham
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