Virginia Basketball Double Bonus: Duke

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The Virginia basketball team hit the road again for a Saturday matchup with Duke and the outcome mirrored the start of the week at Florida State. The Cavaliers gave up too high a shooting and scoring percentage defensively and couldn’t produce enough points to make up for it in a 66-65 loss. The Double Bonus is back for a closer look.

Bad Formula At Duke: 3-Point Volume Down, Turnover Rate Up

The Hoos average 69.2 points per game and 1.106 points per possession (ppp) this season per, both solid numbers for offense. Two key areas fueling that efficiency: 3-pointers and low turnovers. For the season, UVA is shooting 40% from 3-point range (5th nationally) with 41.8% of its shots coming from behind the arc. That’s the highest 3-point rate of the Tony Bennett era and the first time the Cavaliers have been in the 40’s for the amount of shots taken from downtown. For turnovers, the team gives the ball away on just 15.4% of its possessions and that ranks in the top 25 nationally.

That formula – shoot and make 3-pointers without committing turnovers – can lead to an efficient offense and a lot of success. Lately, however, those numbers have flipped out of favor for the Wahoos as opponents do anything possible to get Virginia off the 3-point line and into tough driving, shooting, and finishing situations. Over the last 7 games, UVA is averaging 61.5 points per game. (Before this stretch started, the Hoos were averaging 1.162 ppp as well).

So what’s going on? In the case of the Duke game, the Blue Devils tried to reduce UVA’s 3-point volume through aggressive on-ball defense, limiting help defense off of shooters, by switching defenders on screens, or other tactics. That resulted in the Hoos attempting just 11 3-pointers on 52 total attempts, a volume of just 21.2% – or half of the season rate! The next lowest 3-point rate from these seven games came against Georgia Tech (20 of 49 attempts, 40.8% 3-point rate).

Beyond that low volume game, however, turnovers quickly have become the bigger issue for much of this stretch. Over the seven games, UVA has averaged 11.5 turnovers per game. The Hoos have had 11+ turnovers in five of the last six games. The turnover