Tony Bennett’s team is struggling to snap a six-game losing streak.
Through nine ACC games, UVa stood at 5-4 and things seemed to be set up nicely for a stretch run. Virginia was on a two-game losing streak but the Cavaliers had battled those two opponents, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, down to the wire coming up just short in both contests. Following the game in Blacksburg the Cavaliers headed to College Park to take on Maryland but the team that took the court in the Comcast Center didn’t resemble the crew that had shown so much promise during the first nine games of conference play. The switch had been flipped and UVa has proceeded to drop three more relatively uncompetitive contests since the debacle in College Park.
I’m going to do my best to explore what happened in those games, what has changed for this team in that period, what problems were factors in all four contests, and take a look at what is going on each side of the ball and what, if anything, can be done about it.
Maryland: Heading into the Maryland game, I speculated in the scouting report that the Terps’ flex offense would give UVa trouble because less efficient flex sets had caused problems against both Wake Forest and Virginia Tech. Even going in thinking that it was a tough match-up for the Cavalier defense couldn’t have prepared anyone for the performance that ensued. Maryland shot 70% in the first half, the worst half of defensive basketball UVa had played since Pete Gillen’s final year in Charlottesville. The Terps were 21 of 30 from the floor, and of their nine misses only one was outside of 15 feet. Maryland very easily could have gone through the half with only a single missed shot. For comparison, when UNC put up 66 first-half points on UVa in 2005, the Heels were 21-32 from the floor, only good for 66%. When the game ended at Maryland, it was the poorest defensive efficiency rating (points per 100 possessions) UVa had posted since current assistant Ritchie McKay and his Liberty Flames took down the Cavaliers last year.
While defense was the story of the game, the offense didn’t...
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