Moving Scott Paying Dividends For Hoos

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Mike Scott leads the ACC in field goal percentage.

It’s no secret that Virginia’s Mike Scott is having an outstanding senior season. The Cavalier forward averages 17.3 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for UVa’s 21-6 club after all. The scoring number has climbed in conference games to 18.8 points per game, no easy feat when you consider that Scott is literally a marked man for ACC defenses.

The Hoos, however, have made it more difficult for teams to play tag on Scott in recent outings.

After a difficult offensive showing at Clemson on Feb. 14, a game in which Scott had 13 points on 11 shot attempts, the Cavaliers added a new wrinkle to their arsenal. Coach Tony Bennett and staff flipped the script on opponents. Instead of having Scott work almost exclusively as a screener (or blocker), the coaches slid the senior into a role as a cutter (or mover) off of screens for multiple possessions each game. While part of the strategic shift came out of necessity (with Joe Harris ‘ broken hand, making him a screener instead of a cutter sometimes makes better use of him while he’s on the floor injured), the move was mostly motivated by the desire to get Scott more shots.

The proof is in the numbers. In the two games since making the change to feature Scott in varying roles, he has taken 20 shots against Maryland and 16 more against Virginia Tech. Both of those games trump his season averages of 11.1 shots per game overall and 13.5 shots per game in ACC play. Simply put, it’s hard for a bigger post player to chase Scott off of screens where he can hit his deadly mid-range jumper but even tougher for an undersized forward to guard him in the post if you try to mix up defenders like the Terps tried to do in Charlottesville. It’s also more difficult to send a double screen Scott’s way because he’s on the move more often.

“For another big to try to run off screens and stuff, it’s tough because I’ve done it before chasing other people off screens so I know they’re not

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