Virginia vs. Syracuse: In-game notes, observations, analysis

UVA basketballLive in-game notes, observations and analysis of the Virginia-Syracuse game from AFP editor Chris Graham.

Pregame Notes

  • What I assume is the Syracuse student broadcast team is sitting on Row 3 in our upper media area. One or both of those kids will host an Olympics or be the play-by-play on “Monday Night Football.”
  • Jay Huff is back in the starting lineup, which is not a surprise, considering Syracuse’s size. Huff had 11 points (on 5-of-6 shooting) and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes in the season-opening win in the Carrier Dome.
  • Over the last six games, Huff has been averaging just 18.5 minutes per game, and in that stretch, he’s averaged 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per contest, shooting 48.4 percent from the floor and 1-of-6 from three. In the first eight games of the season, Huff had averaged 25.8 minutes per game, scoring 10.4 points per game, pulling down 7.0 rebounds per game, shooting 63.6 percent from the floor, and connecting on 5-of-16 from three. Big difference in productivity. Maybe Huff can get a jumpstart.

First Half

  • Virginia is 2-of-7 from the floor with four turnovers in its first nine possessions. Diakite has two of the turnovers, Huff one. Those two are a combined 1-of-4 from the floor.
  • Neither of the bigs looks confident on offense in the middle of the zone. That might be a problem.
  • UVA has six turnovers and is 3-of-10 shooting on its first 14 possessions. But that last one, leading to a make by Diakite, with Clark-Woldetensae-Diakite-McKoy-Morsell on the floor, was the nicest-looking offensive set to this point.
  • Huff has just been too stationary in the zone offense to be in any way effective.
  • Braxton Key needs to be in that spot on offense in the middle of the zone. He can play the Dre/Zay role, penetrating and dishing, or getting the ball to the rim.
  • Morsell and Woldetensae continue to contribute nothing of significance.
  • Half: Syracuse 24, UVA 20. ‘Hoos score 20 on 31 possessions, shoot 8-of-26 from the floor (30.8%), 2-of-11 from three, commit nine turnovers. Diakite/Huff/Clark each with six points. Two ‘Cuse bigs with three fouls, a third with two.

Second Half

  • Syracuse is daring Kody Stattmann to shoot the three from the top of the key. It seems that Tony made an adjustment to have him there on offensive sets. He missed an open one on the first possession, and has passed everything up since.
  • Just don’t know what you do. Kihei has been reduced to being a spot-up three shooter, and he’s hit three of them, but that can’t be sustained.
  • 8-0 UVA run over the last 1:35. Back-to-back threes from Woldetensae (out of the timeout) and Key.
  • Now a 12-0 UVA run over the last 3:41. ‘Cuse has missed its last five shots, and has four turnovers over the last 5:03.
  • Jay Huff has 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting and eight rebounds. It may be the ugliest way anybody has ever gotten to that statline in recorded history.
  • The teams are a combined 4-for-their-last-5. Tied at 39. My eyes are bleeding, my soul, bleating.
  • I’m not sure what to say about the offense except what I’ve been saying for two-plus months now. Just need to make the open shots that you’re getting. It’s really that simple.
  • Virginia was 3-for-18 from the floor in the final 12:03 of regulation.


  • Back-to-back-to-back threes, and ‘Cuse is up 52-45 with 3:20 to go. It’s hard to imagine Virginia getting to 52.

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