Revisiting UVa’s 10 Key Questions, Part II

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At the outset of the season, The Sabre took a look at 10 key questions facing the Cavaliers’ 2007-08 men’s basketball team. Among the 10, some questions focused on defense, Adrian Joseph , the NCAA Tournament, and Sean Singletary . With the Hoos finishing out February on a break, let’s take a look back at questions 1-5 and see why UVa is just one game above .500 and 3-9 in the ACC.

Dave Leitao has not been pleased with his team’s defense at times this season.

5. Will a relatively young team be committed to defense?

No. Not committed enough. Not consistently enough. As discussed in Part I, the circumstances – hat tip to Al Groh – at the center position created defensive mismatches for the Hoos and that often left the defense in scramble mode.

The numbers don’t lie. In ACC play, the 3-9 Cavaliers have allowed a team to shoot better than 45% six times. In fact, those six teams – Georgia Tech, Clemson, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Maryland, and Duke – all shot at least 48% and five of six eclipsed the 50% mark. GT, Clemson, and Wake all shot at least 40% from 3-point range as well. Not surprisingly, the Hoos lost all six of those games. In the three conference wins, UVa held Boston College and N.C. State below that mark (38.7% in the first BC game, 43.3% in the second BC game, and 41.3% in the third BC game). Compare that to last year. In all ACC games last season, the Cavs allowed teams to surpass 45% just three times (at Clemson, Georgia Tech, and NCSU in the ACC Tournament) and they won two of those games.

The good news? Two of Virginia’s best defensive performances have come in the last two games, both wins. That, of course, coincides with the return of Lars Mikalauskas, who allows players to line up – and defend – at their more natural positions.

4. Who will replace the production of J.R. Reynolds