Defense Faltered Other Than Williams’ Plan

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Assane Sene helped slow down Jordan Williams.

The Virginia men’s basketball team used a variety of tactics to slow down Maryland post standout Jordan Williams on Thursday night. The Hoos held Williams, who entered the game with 13 consecutive double-doubles, to 4 points and 6 rebounds on just 5 shot attempts with 0 free throws. Unfortunately for UVa, the effort didn’t pay off as the Terrapins pulled away to the 66-42 victory.

What did the Cavaliers do to slow down Williams? One strategy was the post to post double team, a standard piece of the Pack Line defense. They varied when that double team rotated to further mix things up on Williams in an effort to disturb his rhythm; at times, the double was there on the catch, while at others the double came on the first dribble. The Hoos also choked the post at times with a guard digging down from the wing to disrupt Williams’ movement; this too is a component of the Pack Line. The hosts also played the post straight up at times.

The Terps, of course, countered some of those moves and Williams ended up with 3 assists, 2 after intermission. Sabre contributor Cvillehoops13 plans to break down some counter-attacks used by Maryland, Duke, and UNC in an upcoming EDGE article. Stay tuned.

The bigger problem for the Hoos came when the regular elements of the Pack Line broke down. The Terrapins manufactured straight-line drives toward the basket, simple skip passes over the pack, and other basic offensive actions. The result was 68% shooting in the second half and 54% shooting for the game.

“We put all our eggs on the defensive end. That’s what we hang our hats on is the defensive end,” UVa guard Jontel Evans said. “That broke down tonight. Guys were getting straight-line driven, they were getting to the paint and finding shooters, and we were losing vision. They just killed us tonight.”

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