ACC Teams Challenge UVa’s Defense

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UVa’s defense often sends a post trap at the opponent.

The Virginia men’s basketball team continues to impress on the defensive end of the floor this season. En route to an 18-3 record, the Hoos have allowed just 50.6 points per game, which ranks second in the nation. The other statistics hold up too. UVa ranks second in opponent assists allowed (7.5), third in defensive efficiency (.83), and fifth in opponent field goal percentage (40.1%). Those numbers all support just how hard opponents have to work to score against the Cavaliers.

On the season, Virginia has held 17 of 21 opponents to 60 points or less. Unfortunately, three of the last six opponents, including two straight, made it to the 60-point barrier. Fortunately, the Hoos won back-to-back games in the 60’s against NC State and Clemson. Duke, the other team to surpass 60, defeated UVa 61-58.

So what are ACC teams doing to attack the Pack-Line defense and find more success?

In recent weeks, conference opponents have added dribble entry post-ups to their game plans to challenge the Pack D. This strategy aims to counter Virginia’s highly effective post trap where the weakside post defender crosses the floor and double teams the opposing offensive post player. UVa periodically uses this post trap to prevent easy looks at the rim. It requires great timing from the trapping player in order to arrive as the ball is caught and it requires decisive rotations from the three perimeter players in the Pack in order to cover any kickout passes to shooters on the perimeter.

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ACC opponents have elected to offset the Pack-Line’s post trap by moving offensive post players off of the block. Teams look to feed their post players in the short corner, around the high post near the free throw elbows, or even on the wing as part of screen-and-roll looks. These areas make it difficult to trap because it lengthens the space that the trapper and the perimeter rotation players need to cover in order to execute the defense. Once the offensive player determines