Virginia Men's Basketball 2013 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Virginia Cavaliers
ACC (21-11, 11-7)


During the 2011-2012 campaign, Virginia made the postseason for the first time since Coach Tony Bennett took over the program. And this is not an easy system to learn and even a tougher system to get the right players into. It took three years, but that transition time is over now. The expectations for this group were not high heading into the season, but Virginia’s defense put an end to the doubters very quickly and this is a team that can improve on their early exit of a season ago.

Big Wins: 1/6 North Carolina (61-52), 1/29 North Carolina State (58-55), 2/28 Duke (73-68)
Bad Losses: 12/22 vs Old Dominion (61-63), 1/9 at Wake Forest (52-55), 1/12 at Clemson (44-59)
Coach: Tony Bennett (4 seasons at Virginia)

Why They Can Surprise:
The offense may not blow anybody away, but this team has plenty of offensive talent. For the first time in Coach Bennett’s head coaching career, his team scored 78 points or more in back-to-back games. That was in mid-February against Clemson and Maryland. Joe Harris is one of the best shooters in the nation. The 6-6 junior knocks down 43.2 percent of his attempts from long range and leads the Cavs with 16.9 points per contest. Akil Mitchell has emerged as a quality interior scorer and that has given Virginia more options and open looks offensively. But, of course, it all comes down to defense for Virginia. Outside of shot blocking threat Darion Atkins, Virginia is not flashy defensively. They slow the tempo, work for their good look offensively and always play tough defense. If anybody is not playing good defense, they will quickly find the bench.

Why They Can Disappoint:
As good as this Virginia squad can be, there are some very, very bad losses on the schedule. They lost three non-conference games to Colonial Athletic Association teams, including a woeful Old Dominion squad. Losing to subpar ACC teams on the road has also been a big problem. The Cavs did out-Bennett Wisconsin in a 60-54 victory and later beat teams like North Carolina and North Carolina State. Inconsistency like that is in large part due to the offense. Harris rarely has an off night, but he is surrounded by youth. Paul Jesperson, Justin Anderson, Darion Atkins, Taylor Barnette, Teven Jones, Evan Nolte and Mike Tobey are all sophomores or freshmen. If somebody can step up and join Harris and Mitchell as a quality scorer on any given night, this is a team that can be a big surprise in the tournament.

Probable Starters:
Jontel Evans, Senior, Guard, 4.3 ppg, 5.0 apg
Paul Jesperson, Sophomore, Guard, 5.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Joe Harris, Junior, Guard, 16.9 ppg, 2.2 apg, 4.1 rpg
Justin Anderson, Freshman, Forward, 6.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Akil Mitchell, Junior, Forward, 13.3 ppg, 8.9 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Darion Atkins, Sophomore, Forward, 5.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Taylor Barnette, Freshman, Guard, 2.3 ppg
Teven Jones, Freshman, Guard, 2.7 ppg, 1.2 apg
Evan Nolte, Freshman, Forward, 6.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Mike Tobey, Freshman, Center, 6.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.3 (254th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 54.5 (4, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.9 (55, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (20, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (165, 5)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 39.0 (16, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 71.7 (93, 3)
Rebound Margin: 2.3 (111, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (97, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.8 (12, 1)

Last Five Postseason Appearances:
2012    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Florida
2008    CBI    First Round win over Richmond
2008    CBI    Second Round win over Old Dominion
2008    CBI    Semifinal loss to Bradley
2007    NCAA    Round of 64 win over Albany
2007    NCAA    Round of 32 loss Tennessee
2006    NIT    First Round loss to Stanford
2004    NIT    First Round win over George Washington
2004    NIT    Second Round loss to Villanova
2003    NIT    First Round win over Brown
2003    NIT    Second Round loss to St. Johns

*all team stats through 3/10


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules