Home Listless Virginia pantsed by Virginia Tech in front of national TV audience

Listless Virginia pantsed by Virginia Tech in front of national TV audience

Chris Graham
uva virginia tech
Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia just failed the eye test. Miserably.

Whatever the computers say after the 75-41 loss at Virginia Tech Monday night, it doesn’t matter.

No team can play the way Virginia did in Blacksburg and hope to do much more in March than lay a massive egg in the First Four or the Round of 64.

The Hokies (15-11, 7-8 ACC), who most definitely will not be taking part in meaningful games in March, had lost four of five coming in, giving up 80.8 points per game, the lowest total surrendered in that stretch being the 75 allowed to Florida State in a win at home last week.

So, naturally, UVA (20-7, 11-5 ACC), coming off an anemic 49 points in a win over Wake Forest on Saturday, still its ninth win in its last 10, had 16 at halftime, going 8:57 without a bucket as Tech went on a 20-0 run to decide the outcome before the halftime break.

Not exaggerating there when I say that, either.

It was 36-16 Virginia Tech at the break; Virginia didn’t get to 37 until a pair of free throws from Jordan Minor with 2:34 to go.

The ‘Hoos shot 32.7 percent from the floor, 2-of-12 from three, 3-of-20 on midrange jumpers.

Twelve turnovers, which is a lot in a 59-possession game.

The defense, if it’s possible, was worse – Tech shot 50.9 percent, and most of that was breaking down Virginia’s interior D, or lack thereof.

The Hokies had seven dunks and shot 16-of-21 total on shots at the rim – 16 of their 27 makes being point-blank.

They only shot 8-of-23 from three, and got a combined 14 points from their double-digit-scoring guards, Sean Pedulla (eight points, 2-of-8 FG, 0-of-4 3FG) and Hunter Cattoor (six points, 2-of-6 FG, 2-of-4 3FG).

Didn’t need ‘em – the bigs dominated, if you can call finishing at the rim with no resistance dominating.

6’10” senior Lynn Kidd had 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting; 6’9” grad transfer Robbie Beran had 13 points on 4-of-4 shooting, 2-of-2 from three; 6’9” senior Mylyjael Poteat also had 13, on 5-of-9 shooting.

Those three were a combined 11-of-13 at the rim.

Utterly ate alive Virginia off backscreens and cuts.

Most distressing, from the observational standpoint, was that Tony Bennett and his staff had no answers.

The mover-blocker and triangle offense was sputtering, and the fix was – guys, c’mon, run it harder.

The defense was constantly getting beaten on the back end – at least there was eventually a fix in the form of trying post doubles, but all that did was change who got the backdoor pass for the shot at the rim, because of the lack of help behind.

I’ll correct myself here on one thing: I said the most distressing thing to what we saw tonight was the lack of substantives fixes.

What was harder to stomach than that was that nobody on the Virginia side seemed to take what was happening personally.

Even a sliver of pride seemed due, a message that Bennett tried to send to his group when he subbed in starters Reece Beekman, Isaac McKneely and Andrew Rohde, along with Blake Buchanan and Jake Groves, at the 6:34 mark, down 32, just trying to give his team something positive to build from going forward.

They subbed back out three minutes later having scored one bucket, the margin having grown to 36 with what on a lot of nights would be the finishing lineup on the floor.

This Virginia team will likely still get an NCAA Tournament berth, but man, oh, man.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].