Home That 73-48 egg that Virginia laid at Duke: It was apparently foreordained

That 73-48 egg that Virginia laid at Duke: It was apparently foreordained

Chris Graham
duke uva
Photo: Duke Athletics

Word postgame is, Virginia, which we knew, didn’t get back from its road trip to Boston College until late, late, late on Thursday, so late it was enough to make Thursday an off-day.

This is why Virginia was beat down on Saturday in Durham.

You see it, don’tcha?

That’s why we saw, two days later, the ‘Hoos get behind big early at Duke on Saturday – it was 19-6 seven minutes in, 40-18 at the half.

The game, which tipped at 6:05 p.m. ET, was effectively over before 6:30.

Virginia, which was never competitive, lost, 73-48.

No, nothing absolutely and totally embarrassing about how that played out.

All about the scheduling.

“Yeah, absolutely, and this has happened to us a few times this year. If our defense isn’t sound, and we’re playing a team with the firepower of Duke, it can get separated quick, and we’ve had a few games where we’ve gotten beat handily, and that’s a humbling place to be,” UVA coach Tony Bennett told reporters after the game.

Virginia is 21-9 this season.

The wins include some decently impressive ones: Florida, Texas A&M, Clemson, Wake Forest.

The nine losses: all by double-digits.

The average margin of defeat: 19.3 points.

Virginia is the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, “There was a little girl,” come to life:

There was a little girl
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

The way this one played out, it was as if Bennett was conceding defeat long, long before the tip.


The offense, with just a walk-through on Friday, was a throwback to what hadn’t been working, a blend of mover-blocker/sides and middle-third screens that produced three straight games in the 40s.

Virginia, ugh, was 6-of-26 from the field in the first half, which, this personnel, in this offense, is unfortunately par for the course, given the way things have been going lately.

The defense was Bennett assigning 6’8” post defender Jordan Minor to defend Duke’s 7’0” stretch-five Kyle Filipowski, an obvious mismatch that Duke coach Jon Scheyer exploited – Filipowski scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the first half, five of the makes at the rim.

Bennett, eventually, made adjustments at halftime, running more ball screens and slip screens to free up Reece Beekman to create for himself and his teammates on the offensive end.

Beekman had 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting and five assists in the second half, but what the f— did it matter, right?

Just like, Filipowski had six points on 2-of-5 shooting after Bennett put Ryan Dunn on him on D in the second half.

But, what the f— ever. Right?

I especially feel for Beekman. Kid played his ass off, scored 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting, had seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, but didn’t get much help.

Isaac McKneely had 12 points; Dunn had nine points, six rebounds and five (!) blocks.

Dunn even made a three – he’s 7-of-32 (21.9 percent) on threes this year.


He last made a three back on Jan. 20 in the win at Georgia Tech.

That’s who is next on the schedule, next weekend in Charlottesville.

A clear must-win to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Not that this team is going to play past the first game.

“We’ve been in this spot before. We’ve gotten blown out by a few teams,” Bennett said postgame. “We’ve got a week now, and so you prepare as best you can, because every game is important. We’re fighting like crazy to try to finish as high as we can in the conference, get the best seed we can, fight for an NCAA Tournament berth. All that stuff matters. And as crappy as I feel right now, we’re still playing meaningful games.”

For now.

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].