#27 Virginia Men's Basketball 2021-2022 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers
2021-2022 Overall Rank: #27
Conference Rank: #6 ACC
 Virginia Logo
There were some flaws in the 2020-2021 Virginia team, but they still managed to win an ACC title. That was their third in the last four years and their fifth in eight. The defense was not the typical Cavaliers defense that we have seen under Coach Tony Bennett, but they were still good and especially good during conference play. More importantly, they will be better this year. However, the team as a whole will have some growing pains with all three starters who averaged double digits in the scoring department gone.
2020-21 Record: 18-7, 13-4
2020-21 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tony Bennett
Coach Record: 295-103 at Virginia, 364-136 overall
Key Departed Players:
Sam Hauser, Forward, 16.0 ppg
Jay Huff, Forward, 13.0 ppg
Trey Murphy III, Guard, 11.3 ppg
Tomas Woldetensae, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Casey Morsell, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Justin McKoy, Forward, 3.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Kihei Clark, Senior, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Reece Beekman, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 ppg
Kody Stattmann, Senior, Guard, 3.5 ppg
Kadin Shedrick, Sophomore, Forward, 2.5 ppg
Trancisco Caffaro, Junior, Center, 1.2 ppg
Key New Players:
Armaan Franklin, Junior, Guard, Transfer from Indiana
Jayden Gardner, Senior, Forward, Transfer from East Carolina
Igor Milicic Jr, Freshman, Guard/Forward
Taine Murray, Freshman, Guard
Kihei Clark and Reece Beekman are the two returning starters. They both handled the ball last year and will again facilitate the offense. Clark is the top returning scorer at 9.5 points per game and Beekman is more known for his defensive prowess than his offense. Indiana transfer Armaan Franklin will add some more experience to the backcourt. He is a tough defender, but by the end of last season Franklin was a huge offensive threat as well. Incoming freshmen Igor Milicic and Taine Murray are big wings who have the talent to make an impact right away. The addition of East Carolina transfer Jayden Gardner should reignite Virginia’s defense. The 6-6 forward has proven that he can be an anchor in the frontcourt. He can score too and tallied 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds with the Pirates last season. Kadin Shedrick’s development was limited by an injury last season, but the talented 6-11 sophomore should step into a starting spot next to Gardner in the Virginia frontcourt. There are more questions with Virginia than many other teams in the ACC, so do not be surprised to see them fall down the standings a little bit, but this will still be a Cavaliers team that can beat anybody on any given day thanks to their defense.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.2 (251st in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 60.5 (6, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.2 (32, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.6 (73, 3)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (63, 4)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.5 (28, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 81.6 (3, 1)
Rebound Margin: 2.2 (113, 6)
Assists Per Game: 13.8 (120, 9)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.2 (3, 1)