Strong Defensive Effort Propels Cavs

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Tony Bennett’s club had a strong defensive outing against BC in the ACC Tournament.

Virginia’s defense has struggled quite a bit at times this season, particularly in the last five weeks. And if one thing proved to be poison for the Pack-Line defense much of the time, it has been the flex offense. Against Boston College on Thursday, however, UVa seemed to find a magic antidote for the flex, which keyed a strong team defensive effort and propelled the Hoos to victory.

BC utilizes the flex as its base offense, aligning its players tightly around the paint, setting physical screens and posting up strong on the blocks. Perhaps even more important from UVa’s standpoint, though, was the track record this season against flex looks in general not just the Eagles’ physical version. The Cavaliers struggled with variations of this offensive attack throughout the season, particularly in road games at Maryland and Boston College.

In the ACC Tournament match-up with the Eagles, the Hoos defended the flex so well, however, that Boston College moved away from the flex for most of the second half.

“I think it helped us to play those three games at the end of the season; they were really close together. We got better, we got used to the flex,” Cavalier senior Jerome Meyinsse said. “I think we made an adjustment for Boston College this game, and it really helped us out.”

Let’s take a look at what the Cavaliers did so much better against the flex this time around.

Flex screens. The flex screen portion of the flex offense features a player standing on the opposite block when the ball is up high near the elbow of the lane. The block player turns to face away from the ball and screens for a teammate starting on the opposite wing from the ball or in the opposite corner. That wing player cuts hard off the block screen looking for the pass near the ball-side block.

The way Virginia dealt with the flex screen on Thursday in the ACC Tournament is a fairly common strategic approach against the offensive