Good, Bad, And Ugly Of UVa’s ACC Start

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Senior Jontel Evans committed 4 turnovers at Wake.

The Virginia men’s basketball team has played two ACC games thus far: an encouraging 61-52 win against North Carolina at home, and a disappointing 55-52 loss to Wake Forest on the road. Much like the out of conference schedule, the young Cavalier squad played up to its level of competition in one game and then played down to its level of completion in the next. These are the signs of a team playing with a low number of veteran players and having to depend on freshmen and sophomores for extended minutes, but that doesn’t explain it all.

In this article, I’ll break down what I thought were the good, bad, and ugly details of the two contests.

The Ugly – Turnovers

When I was assigned this column it was just prior to the Wake Forest matchup. All I had to work with was the North Carolina game. And I thought, “That was a great game in most all phases. I’m not sure I can find the “ugly.” Well, look no further than the Wake Forest game, which clearly defined the term ugly.

So, where do I start? How about the first few minutes of the game against the Deacons where UVa committed five early turnovers with no assists? And while the media and fans can suggest, “They’re young”, that ‘excuse’ doesn’t carry much weight when the players turning the ball over are the three veterans of the bunch. Virginia committed a season-high 17 turnovers in the contest with a combined 11 coming from Jontel Evans , Joe Harris , and Akil Mitchell . That left coach Tony Bennett scratching his head in disbelief. In contrast, the five freshmen who saw action against Wake had, cumulatively, just three turnovers.

The Demon Deacons were a solid defensive team Wednesday night and they extended their pressure out to the 3-point arc, which took away a lot of UVa’s perimeter