#7 Virginia Men's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers
2019-2020 Overall Rank: #7
Conference Rank: #3 ACC
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Tony Bennett and Virginia followed up their shocking loss to a 16-seed with the first National Championship in school history. The Cavaliers have now made the NCAA Tournament in six consecutive years and have won at least 22 games every season since 2011-12. This year, Virginia will have to rebuild a bit as the top three scorers from the championship team all left early for the NBA. Bennett has helped Virginia earn the right to be ranked among the elite every season regardless of who is on the roster.
2018-19 Record: 35-3, 16-2
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tony Bennett
Coach Record: 254-89 at Virginia, 323-122 overall
Key Departed Players:
Kyle Guy, Guard, 15.4 ppg
De’Andre Hunter, Forward, 15.2 ppg
Ty Jerome, Guard, 13.6 ppg
Jack Salt, Center, 3.7 ppg
Marco Anthony, Guard, 1.2 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Mamadi Diakite, Senior, Forward, 7.4 ppg
Braxton Key, Senior, Forward, 5.7 ppg

Kihei Clark, Sophomore, Guard, 4.5 ppg
Jay Huff, Junior, Forward, 4.4 ppg
Kody Stattmann, Sophomore, Guard, 1.7 ppg
Key New Players:
Francisco Caffaro, Freshman, Center
Justin McKoy, Freshman, Forward
Casey Morsell, Freshman, Guard
Kadin Shedrick, Freshman, Forward
Tomas Woldetensae, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Junior College
Last year’s trio of stars leaving early for the NBA hurts Virginia’s outlook for this season, but the decision from Mamadi Diakite to return to school will help ease that burden. Diakite averaged 7.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in just 21.8 minutes per game last season. After earning All-South Regional Team honors, Diakite is primed for a breakout season in a bigger role as a senior. Role players from last season Braxton Key, Kihei Clark and Jay Huff also all return. Key played 19.8 minutes per game in his first season at Virginia, averaging 5.7 points and a team-high 5.3 rebounds. Clark started 20 games as a freshman, averaging 4.5 points, 2.6 assists and just 1.0 turnovers per game. With Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy gone, Clark will become the undisputed lead guard for the Hoos. The 7-foot-1 Huff could be most likely breakout candidate of the group. Huff played just 9.3 minutes per game last year, but showed flashes of his diverse game, shooting 45% from three while finishing second on the team in blocks. Kody Stattmann is the final returner after playing in 18 games as a freshman. Stattmann is a 6-foot-7 guard who has experience playing in FIBA Championships for Australia. Tomas Woldetensae is the lone non-freshman newcomer. Woldetensae is a junior college transfer who earned First Team NJCAA All-American honors last season. Woldetensae averaged 17.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 47.6% from three. Virginia will need his scoring ability to translate to the high-major NCAA level this season. Finally, Virginia welcomes in four freshmen to the roster. Tony Bennett doesn’t typically rely on freshmen for production, but this season could require it. The most likely to contribute in their first season are four-star recruits Casey Morsell and Kadin Shedrick. Redshirt freshman Francisco Caffaro is also a former four-star recruit, though the 7-footer could have trouble finding playing time behind Diakite and Huff. Virginia has become a mainstay at the top of the ACC, and as long as Tony Bennett remains on the sideline the Cavaliers will be contenders.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 71.4 (209th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 56.1 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.4 (38, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.5 (5, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.4 (97, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.5 (7, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 74.4 (50, 4)
Rebound Margin: 5.1 (30, 3)
Assists Per Game: 14.3 (98, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.0 (1, 1)
Madness 2020 NBA Draft Rankings:
#37 Mamadi Diakite
Madness 2019 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#56 Casey Morsell
#62 Kadin Shedrick