Virginia Men's Basketball 2014 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Virginia Cavaliers
ACC (28-6, 14-2)


Early out-of-conference losses to VCU, Green Bay and Tennessee made it seem like it would be more of the same for Virginia in the ACC. The Cavaliers have been entering seasons with high expectations ever since Tony Bennett took over as head coach. However, 2013-14 would be different. Once conference play began, it was evident UVA was a different team than in years past. They rode that success, and perhaps being under the radar of some opponents, all the way to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title. It may not have been a surprise that the ACC title was clinched by someone March 1, before the regular season had even wrapped. However, to everyone's surprise that team was the Cavaliers.

Big Wins: 1/20 North Carolina (76-61), 2/2 at Pittsburgh (48-45), 3/1 Syracuse (75-56)
Bad Losses: 12/7 at Green Bay (72-75), 12/30 at Tennessee (52-87), 3/9 at Maryland (69-75)
Coach: Tony Bennett (5 seasons at Virginia)

Why They Can Surprise:
Simply put, and as Tony Bennett-coached teams have become known for, Virginia makes it near-impossible for opponents to score comfortably. This season they seemed to master that sentiment, finishing as the very best scoring defense in the entire nation, at 55.4 points per game. Thanks partly to the system, the personnel and the effort put forth, UVA had a number of the top individual defenders in the ACC, led by Akil Mitchell and Malcolm Brogdon. And while no one blocked a ton of shots or forced an alarming number of steals, all the Cavaliers played tough, move-their-feet defense possession after possession. However, what separated this UVA squad from others coached by Bennett is that they could also score some points. None of the Cavaliers light up the box scores like their peers, but they certainly had weapons this time around. Brogdon was an elite free-throw shooter and very good rebounding guard. Joe Harris, after a slow start to his year, still finished over 40 percent from behind the arc. And London Perrantes, the young freshman point guard, came into his own scoring the basketball near the end of the season, after dishing out assists at an elite level all year long.

Why They Can Disappoint:
Of course, even with the vast improvement over past versions of the UVA offense, the Cavaliers still struggled to score for long stretches of some games. In some of those early losses, they failed to approach 60 points. The Wisconsin loss on December 4, which happened to pit two of the classically slow-tempo teams against each other, saw the Badgers win by a final score of 48 to 38. Perrantes led all UVA scorers in that game with eight points on two made field goals. In close wins throughout ACC play, scoring struggles popped up as well. A 48-45 victory over Pittsburgh and a 57-53 win over Virginia Tech were two of the more egregious culprits. Since Virginia doesn't shoot many threes, they rely on getting good shots within the flow of their offense. If that relationship is out of sorts, multiple minutes of game time can go by without UVA getting as much as a single bucket.

Probable Starters:
London Perrantes, Freshman, Guard, 5.2 ppg, 3.8 apg
Malcolm Brogdon, Sophomore, Guard, 12.6 ppg, 2.6 apg, 5.6 rpg
Joe Harris, Senior, Guard, 11.7 ppg, 2.3 apg
Akil Mitchell, Senior, Forward, 7.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg
Mike Tobey, Sophomore, Center, 6.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.1 bpg

Key Roleplayers:
Justin Anderson, Sophomore, Guard, 8.1 ppg, 1.4 apg
Anthony Gill, Sophomore, Forward, 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Darion Atkins, Junior, Forward, 3.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.3 (282nd in nation, 12th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 55.4 (1, 1)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.1 (130, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.4 (7, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.6 (243, 7)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.9 (73, 3)
Free-Throw Percentage: 66.1 (290, 11)
Rebound Margin: 6.5 (14, 1)
Assists Per Game: 13.4 (121, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.2 (22, 4)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
2013    NIT        First Round win over Norfolk State
2013    NIT        Second Round win over St. John's
2013    NIT        Quarterfinal loss to Iowa
2012    NCAA    Second Round 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 3/9


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules