#15 Virginia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #15
Conference Rank: #5 ACC

Virginia Team Page#15 Virginia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Virginia Basketball Tickets

The Bennett system has worked all over the country, from Green Bay to Wisconsin to Washington State and it is doing more than just working at Virginia. The Cavaliers had an amazing 2013-2014 campaign, going 16-2 in ACC play, earning a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and winning 30 games. UVA’s season ended in the Sweet Sixteen, but this program is ready to prove that last year was no fluke. Recruits are starting to appreciate the slow it down style of Coach Tony Bennett and everybody in the program buys into the tough defense this team plays.

2013-14 Record: 30-7, 16-2
2013-14 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tony Bennett
Coach Record: 106-60 at Virginia, 175-93 overall

Who’s Out:
Virginia does lose a couple key players and starters from last year’s team. Big win Joe Harris was second on the team with 12.0 points per game and was easily the team’s most prolific outside shooter. Losing a scorer of Harris’ quality is never a good thing, but this is a team that has scoring options on the perimeter. Akil Mitchell is the other departed starter. The 6-8 forward ended the season averaging 6.8 points and 7.0 rebounds, but was playing even better basketball during ACC play. Little used Thomas Rogers and Teven Jones have also wrapped up their careers with the Cavs.

Who’s In:
Newcomers Devon Hall, B.J. Stith and Marial Shayok will have to play some quality minutes on the perimeter. Hall, who redshirted last season, is a big 6-5 point guard. However, with his size and strength, Hall could turn into the team’s sixth man if his outside shot has improved as much as hoped during his year on the sidelines. Stith, son of Virginia great Bryant Stith, is a decent outside shooter who should develop into much more eventually. For now, he can provide an offensive spark off of the bench. Shayok, a 6-5 guard, has a massive wingspan and was a great late pickup for Virginia. Shayok originally signed with Marquette before Coach Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech. The frontcourt adds Isaiah Wilkins and Jack Salt. Wilkins is a tough player who has a decent offensive game for a freshman. He will figure into the frontcourt rotation.

Who to Watch:
London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon will lead the backcourt. Perrantes had an absolutely amazing freshman campaign, averaging 3.8 assists and 1.1 turnovers per game. If that ratio is not impressive enough, Perrantes had a 4.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in ACC play. He is a pass first point guard and averaged just 5.5 points per game, but Perrantes is a very consistent outside shooter and connected on 43.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. In ACC play, he went 21-for-41 from long range. Brogdon was the team’s top scorer last season with 12.7 per game and he is another capable shooting threat. But most of Brogdon’s points will come from him attacking the basket with his 6-5, 215 pound frame. With Harris gone, more of the scoring load will fall on Brogdon’s shoulders, but that should not be a problem. Justin Anderson could help some in the scoring department. His shooting numbers dipped as a sophomore, but he still averaged 7.8 points per game despite shooting just 29.4 percent from beyond the arc. Anderson is one of the best defenders in the country though and that is enough to keep him on the floor.

Final Projection:
The frontcourt has a lot of great options even without Mitchell. Mike Tobey slumped at times offensively, but he did improve defensively during his sophomore season. The seven-footer will be asked to do more in the scoring department this time around. Anthony Gill was the most productive scorer in the frontcourt last season, averaging 8.6 points per game. He averaged just 19.8 minutes per game, yet made the most of those minutes. Gill plays like a center, so it remains to be seen if Coach Bennett wants to play Tobey and Gill at the same time for more than a few minutes here and there. If those two do end up splitting time at the five spot, Darion Atkins and Evan Nolte will have to boost their playing time after averaging about ten minutes per game apiece last season. Just about everything seemed to go right for Virginia last season. This is a team that can beat anybody in the ACC on any given day, but reaching that 16-2 mark may never happen again.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
London Perrantes, Sophomore, Guard, 5.5 points per game
Malcolm Brogdon, Junior, Guard, 12.7 points per game
Justin Anderson, Junior, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Anthony Gill, Junior, Forward, 8.6 points per game
Mike Tobey, Junior, Center, 6.4 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.2 (282nd in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.7 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (116, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (9, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (238, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (69, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.3 (256, 11)
Rebound Margin: 6.1 (15, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (142, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.0 (17, 3)

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#74 B.J. Stith
#122 Isaiah Wilkins


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