Breaking Down The Hokie Loss

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Mike Scott’s 13 boards helped the Hoos rebound well at VT.

The first meeting between Virginia and Virginia Tech was a battle and matching the emotional tenor from that game seemed like a difficult task for both teams heading into their second contest in Blacksburg. Not only did the two teams match the intensity, they exceeded it in a game that was in doubt until the final 30 seconds. Neither team took a big lead and neither seemed to be able to pull away and take control. I’ll do my best to explore what made this game so tight and the factors that swung the second game toward the Hokies.

Building on a loss

In the first game these two teams played, Virginia played an excellent game for 37 minutes only to struggle for the final 8. The Hoos were unable to match Virginia Tech’s intensity down the stretch and some poor decisions combined with a few breaks for the visitors left UVa with a difficult loss.

In that first game, UVa lost both the turnover and rebound battle, something that had been one of the strengths of Tony Bennett’s squad entering that game. Virginia Tech also presented several looks on offense that the Cavaliers hadn’t seen much of since earlier in the season, if they had seen some of them at all. In this second contest, Virginia would almost certainly have to adjust to those sets by the Hokies and lessen the turnover differential.

Virginia struggled defending Malcolm Delaney , Dorenzo Hudson and J.T. Thompson in the first game between these teams. That triumvirate combined to score 52 of the Hokies’ 76 points. Knowing that Virginia Tech had the opportunity to adjust to some difficulties against Virginia, it was crucial for UVa to reverse a number of these trends or the final three minutes of the game in Charlottesville could repeat itself for 40 minutes in front of a capacity Cassell Coliseum crowd.

Fortunately almost all of those numbers were reversed as Tony Bennett did an excellent job preparing his squad for the second game between the two