#4 Virginia Men's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers
2020-2021 Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #1 ACC
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Fresh off their national title win in 2019, Virginia entered a transition year in 2019-20. The Cavaliers struggled early in the season, getting blown out by Purdue and losing at home to South Carolina. Virginia was 4-4 in the ACC at one point, but found their footing as the season went along and won 11 of their last 12 games. This season, Virginia loses their top scorer in Mamadi Diakite, but return most of the roster and add some talented new players. Sam Hauser was one of the top transfers last season and two top-75 recruits join Virginia as well. With Tony Bennett at the helm, Virginia is always likely to be at the top of the ACC.
2019-20 Record: 23-7, 15-5
Coach: Tony Bennett
Coach Record: 277-96 at Virginia, 346-129 overall
Key Departed Players:
Mamadi Diakite, Forward, 13.7 ppg
Braxton Key, Forward, 9.9 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Kihei Clark, Junior, Guard, 10.8 ppg

Jay Huff, Senior, Forward, 8.5 ppg
Tomas Woldetensae, Senior, Guard, 6.6 ppg
Casey Morsell, Sophomore, Guard, 4.0 ppg
Kody Stattmann, Junior, Guard, 3.6 ppg
Francisco Caffaro, Sophomore, Center, 1.4 ppg
Justin McKoy, Sophomore, Forward, 1.0 ppg
Key New Players:
Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Freshman, Guard
Reece Beekman, Freshman, Guard
Sam Hauser, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Marquette
Carson McCorkle, Freshman, Guard
Kadin Shedrick, RS Freshman, Forward
Virginia loses two key starters in Mamadi Diakite and Braxton Key, but return everyone else from the rotation last season. Kihei Clark became the full-time point guard as a sophomore in an up-and-down season. Clark struggled shooting the ball with just a 37.5% clip from the field, but had a strong stat line of 10.8 points, 5.9 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Jay Huff also became a full-time starter and averaged 8.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. Tomas Woldentensae and Casey Morsell split time as the fifth starter with both having average debut seasons with the Cavaliers. Kody Stattmann, Francisco Caffaro and Justin McKoy also all return as role players off the bench. Where Virginia is most likely to improve this season is with their new additions. Sam Hauser will play just one season at Virginia as a redshirt senior and has the potential to be an all-conference player this year. Hauser was an All-Big East player in his junior season at Marquette where he averaged 14.9 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists while shooting 40.2% from three. Virginia’s recruiting class is also strong and should make an instant impact. Jabri Abdur-Rahim is a 6-5 guard and a four-star prospect ranked in the top-40 nationally. Reece Beekman is also a four-star guard and is ranked in the top-70. Kadin Shedrick redshirted last season and also was rated as a four-star recruit inside the top-75 in 2019’s class. Tony Bennett’s defenses are always elite and make Virginia among the best teams in the nation regardless of personnel. However, last year’s team showed that the Cavaliers still need reliable offensive production to be among the nation’s elite teams. This season’s roster should help Virginia get back to that status.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 57.0 (348th in nation, 15th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 52.4 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.3 (296, 13)
Field-Goal Defense: 36.9 (2, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.7 (304, 12)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 30.4 (312, 14)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (144, 8)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (70, 4)
Assists Per Game: 11.4 (294, 14)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (94, 8)
Madness 2020 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#39 Jabri Abdur-Rahim
#58 Reece Beekman