Home Scott German: Ugly loss at Virginia Tech brings a time for reckoning for Virginia

Scott German: Ugly loss at Virginia Tech brings a time for reckoning for Virginia

Scott German
uva basketball
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

Saturday, shortly after Virginia held off Wake Forest 49-47 for a critical ACC win, Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett admitted the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee may be viewing the conference a bit cautiously.

“Our job is to fight like crazy to not disqualify ourselves,” Bennett said to the gathered media after the home win over Wake on Saturday.

More from Bennett: “You better play at a high level, and all games that are left are that, but common sense should prevail when it comes to the selection committee.”

Fast forward 48 hours.

Virginia Tech used a a 20-0 first-half run to completely embarrass Virginia, 75-41, Monday night in Blacksburg.

That’s right, a 20-0 run.

Tech, leading 16-14, outscored UVA 20-2 over the final 9:43 to comically lead 36-16 at the break.

VPI, which entered the contest as the nation’s 101st-ranked defensive team, per KenPom, would score their 42nd point within the first two minutes of the second half.

Turns out, that’s all they would need.

Virginia scored 41 points against a horrendously bad defensive team.

Talk about disqualifying yourself.

If common sense does indeed prevail within the committee, then the Cavaliers are going to have to bring some hardware home from the ACC Tournament next month to go dancing.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for the latest egg the Cavaliers have laid this season, but as I painfully learned earlier this season, questioning the coaching staff is off-limits.

Since the coaches can do nothing wrong, you must look for answers within the roster.

Monday, Virginia played its worst half of the season, by miles.

How does a team come into a rival’s home gym and sleepwalk?

Virginia went 10-deep in the opening half, tried different offensive schemes, and nothing worked.

Virginia’s frontcourt play wasn’t weak, it was anemic, often looking, simply, intimidated.

By Virginia Tech?

Some thoughts on Ryan Dunn

Now, on to the elephant in the corner of the room, Ryan Dunn.

First, the blowout loss to Tech doesn’t fall on any one player’s shoulders.

This clunker was a complete team effort.

That sasid, I am still trying to figure out why Dunn is still being projected as a first-round NBA draft pick.

The experts point to Dunn’s athleticism, his defensive prowess.

And they are spot-on.

But offensively, it appears, to me as though Dunn has regressed as this season rolls on.

I’m not comparing his play on the offensive end of the floor this season to last year.

Last season, Dunn averaged 12.9 minutes per game.

I’m using the eye test from the start of this season to now.

On the offensive end of the floor, Dunn has regressed this season.

How can anyone argue that assessment?

Against the Hokies, Dunn passed up wide open lanes to the baskets, often against a smaller defensive player.

When Dunn did touch the ball on the perimeter, it appeared as though he was playing hot potato, quickly passing the ball back to the guards.

To be fair, Dunn’s not the only Cavalier reluctant to attack the basket. Only Reece Beekman and Isaac McKneely seem comfortable taking the ball to the paint.

Against Wake Forest, when Dunn roamed out to the perimeter, the Wake defense player never followed.

Monday, to be fair, Dunn was equally bad on both ends of the court.

Again, this loss isn’t due to Dunn’s MIA performance.

I’m simply asking why a player that is still seen as a future NBA player is not getting any better offensively?

Might need to shake things up

Most college basketball staffs are often a carousel of coaching changes.

Not so under Bennett.

The staff has remained constant since Bennett arrived in Charlottesville.

Is that a good thing?

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.