Reviewing UVa’s Hot Start With A Look Ahead

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Tony Bennett’s team owns a 14-2 record.

A little more than midway through the season with the meat of the ACC schedule up next, the Virginia Cavaliers find themselves with a top 20 ranking (No. 15 in the latest Associated Press poll) and a 14-2 record. At 1-1 in the ACC, the Hoos, who just lost a nail-biter to No. 6 Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium, are at an interesting juncture in the season. This team, and even the very program that Tony Bennett is building, is at a potential crossroads.

But before we look to the future to try and gauge what we might expect going forward, let’s take a minute to see what got this bunch to this position in the first place.

Two Main Keys To A Great Start

Defense. This category is kind of a no-brainer, but it’s certainly worth looking under the hood to see exactly what makes this defense run and how it’s able to keep going on all cylinders. For one thing, this is Bennett’s third season at the helm of the UVa program, and many of his players now have two and a half seasons of his system under their collective belts. The much-ballyhooed (at least in Charlottesville) Pack-Line Defense is very formidable when you have a cohesive group of players that are committed to perfecting it, and that’s exactly what Bennett has been striving for since he arrived. Statistically speaking, the Cavs are dominating several key areas that are crucial to winning games on a consistent basis: defensive rebounding, assists allowed, opponent field goal percentage, and most importantly, average points allowed.

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Even with a relatively small lineup compared to many teams (PF Mike Scott, the undeniable star of this team is a mere 6’8″, etc.) Virginia has done a fantastic job of getting great position when the ball is in the air and blocking out, rarely if ever looking for any kind of fastbreak opportunities on the other