Parity is the name of the game in the ACC
First-place UVa. travels to Wake Saturday
Story by Chris Graham
“Early on it certainly looks like there’s some balance, and as any good league, it indicates if you don’t come ready to play or play at a high level, you’re going to have a hard time being successful,” said UVa. coach Tony Bennett, whose Cavs (12-4, 3-0 ACC) travel to Wake Forest (13-4, 3-2 ACC) on Saturday.
The 4 p.m. game is being broadcast regionally by Raycom-Jefferson Pilot Sports. Viewers in the Shenandoah Valley can catch the game on NBC29.
The Demon Deacons are coming off an 82-69 win at North Carolina Wednesday night. Bennett watched the game on TV and said he is impressed with Wake’s “completeness” as a team.
“Obviously it didn’t look like there was a lot of weaknesses, with their speed in getting down the floor with Ish Smith, and then their size, their play on the glass, the perimeter shooting of their young kids, and just their overall completeness on both ends of the floor,” Bennett said.
One area where the ‘Hoos will need to be on guard – out beyond the arc. While Virginia leads the ACC in three-point shooting (41.9 percent), three-point defense has been a bugaboo – UVa. is 12th and last in the conference in three-point percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot 35.2 percent from long-distance range.
“When teams are shooting a high percentage from the three-point line, you’ve got to take a look at that,” Bennett said. “You’ve got to work harder on closeouts on shooters. Sometimes you’ve got to say, are they getting threes against our set defense, and we’re just breaking down, or is it more in transition where they’re getting them? How are they getting them?
“Sometimes teams just get hot, but I want that to be better for us, because it’s hard if you’re giving up those uncontested shots. Sometimes it’s been breakdowns, sometimes it’s been transition. UNC-Wilmington, all you had to do was watch them in that second half against us. They shot 60 percent against us, almost. We’ve got to keep working at that,” Bennett said.