Inside the Numbers: Woo, those UVA turnovers

UVA basketballYou don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, sure, but, man, #3 UVA needs to clean up those turnovers.

Monday night, in a 64-58 win at #20 Virginia Tech, the ‘Hoos had 13 turnovers, leading to 13 Virginia Tech points.

On a night that saw the Hokies shoot 39.7 percent from the floor and 3-of-27 from three-point range, they were able to stay in the game because of Virginia’s uncharacteristic sloppiness.

This just in: it’s getting to the point of no longer being uncharacteristic.

Dating back to the 66-65 OT win at NC State on Jan. 29, the Cavaliers are averaging 12.5 turnovers a game.

And, considering Virginia’s pace of play, slowest in college basketball, you’re talking, magnified.

Over their last five, the Cavaliers have been turning the ball over on 20.4 percent of their possessions.

Even with that number factored in, UVA is turning the ball over, season-long, on 15.1 percent of their possessions, which is 15th-best in college basketball.

The kinds of turnovers you saw Monday night were the worst kind.

Best-case, a turnover is still a chance to score points that doesn’t even result in a shot.

Worst-case, a turnover is live-ball and gives the opponent an easy bucket.

At times, it was a comedy of errors out there. Ty Jerome, for instance, found himself doubled near midcourt, a situation that he inexplicably dribbled himself into after catching a pass off a screen, and then when he was trapped with nowhere to go, no one among his teammates came to his aid, leading to a leakout and an easy bucket for Virginia Tech.

Two possessions later, Jerome squared up to take a three, and then at the last second turned to pass the ball to Kyle Guy, who was already backpedaling and watched the ball sail by him out of bounds.

At least the second didn’t lead to an easy bucket, but, damn, it looked awful.

Those were the only two Jerome turnovers on the night, to be fair, and he finished with six assists.

Guy had four turnovers, but also had three assists, and somehow, some way, the ‘Hoos finished with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio – 14-to-13.

That’s going to need to be cleaned up into March.

Column by Chris Graham

uva basketball team of destiny
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, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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