#26 Virginia Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Virginia Cavaliers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #26
Conference Rank: #4 Atlantic Coast

Virginia Team Page#26 Virginia Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Virginia Basketball Tickets

The Virginia Cavaliers have slogged their way to the middle of the pack in the Atlantic Coast Conference for a number of years running now. The expansion of the conference helps the overall outlook of the ACC but does little to aid Virginia this coming season. It just makes life harder for the Cavaliers. However, tides seem to be turning and shifting around Charlottesville. Expectations are high for this season and everyone loves what Coach Tony Bennett has done with the program. Now it is time for results though. Good feelings can only take you so far.

2012-13 Record: 23-12, 11-7
2012-13 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Tony Bennett
Coach Record: 76-53 at Virginia, 145-86 overall

Who’s Out:
Looking at the overall numbers from last season, it makes sense that this team was around the middle of the ACC. They are absolutely fantastic on defense and horrendously slow and methodically boring on offense. That style of play is the ultimate equalizer. It allows them to beat Duke when the Blue Devils are ranked third in the nation and it allows them to lose to a 5-25 Old Dominion team. In that loss, guard Paul Jesperson hit only one field goal and Jontel Evans did not even play. These are the two biggest departures that will hit the Cavaliers this season. Jesperson started nearly every game last season and was one of the team's better long range shooters. And once Evans got into the season following a foot injury, he started 22 of his 26 games. He probably had a bigger impact than Jesperson even with the missed time. Not only did he lead the team in assists in his shortened year, he was also named to the All-ACC defensive team, production Coach Bennett will surely need to replace.

Who’s In:
UVA will look to acclimate a couple of incoming freshmen who will try to contribute right from the jump. Guards Devon Hall and London Perrantes have some high regard coming out of high school but will need to prove it in the rigors of the ACC. Really though, the only man Cavalier fans needed to see in this season was senior guard Joe Harris. Harris returns for his fourth year after averaging double figures each of the first three. He shot a career best last season from the field and from distance on his way to being named first-team All-ACC. As one of the best players in the conference, Joe Harris had, and will continue to have, an inordinate amount of pressure on him to score buckets. For a team that scores so few points, it is up to him to do most everything offensively; a pressure perhaps only matched in the ACC last year by Erick Green. Mixing in some new rotation players and freshmen is all well and good but this team will only go as far as Joe Harris takes them on the offensive end.

Who to Watch:
With that huge caveat about Harris, there are other solid players on this roster. One to keep an eye on is sophomore Justin Anderson. As a freshman last season, he played in all 35 of the Cavaliers' games, starting 17. More impressive though was his highly unusual skill set. He was second on the roster in assists, had a nearly 2:1 assist to turnover ratio, as a freshman mind you, and led the team in blocks from the guard position. It will be interesting to see what types of steps his game takes and how he can develop that unique skill set even further.

Final Projection:
The ACC is going to be tough; everyone knows this. Perennial powers still remain. New teams are entering the fray who are used to playing deep into March. That being said, Virginia has the makings of something here. Their defense is legit. It can keep them in any game, against any opponent. They had the fifth best scoring defense in the country a season ago. Paired with a roster who can shoot well from three and which has a legitimate scoring star in Harris and teams should be afraid of Virginia this season. I am sure opponents hate playing Bennett's squad already because of the style. But now, they should be afraid of losing as well.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA

Projected Starting Five:
Joe Harris, Senior, Guard, 16.3 points per game
Justin Anderson, Sophomore, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Akil Mitchell, Senior, Forward, 13.1 points per game
Evan Nolte, Sophomore, Forward, 5.7 points per game
Mike Tobey, Sophomore, Center, 6.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 64.2 (256th in nation, 11th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.6 (5, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.7 (54, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.8 (16, 2)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (169, 5)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.5 (17, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 70.6 (132, 5)
Rebound Margin: 1.5 (130, 6)
Assists Per Game: 14.0 (90, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.2 (27, 3)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#59 Akil Mitchell

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#99 Devon Hall


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