clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hoo’s Got Tenacious D?

The Cavaliers, that’s who

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

North Carolina v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - FEBRUARY 27: Marcus Paige #5 of the North Carolina Tar Heels dribbles the ball against London Perrantes #32 of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first half during their game at John Paul Jones Arena on February 27, 2016 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Virginia Cavaliers defeated the North Carolina Tar Heels 79-74.
Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

If you get the sense Virginia has built its recent success on surpassingly good defense, there’s a persuasive reason you’ve gotten that impression. It’s true.

Last season was the fifth straight in which Tony Bennett’s Cavaliers led the ACC in scoring defense. The 2016 Cavs held opponents to 60.1 points per game. While that was the worst scoring suppression by UVa in the last five years, and a noticeable dropoff from the NCAA-leading levels of 2014 and 2015, it was still best in the league.

It almost goes without saying that scoring defense is a function of tempo.

Keep the pace deliberate on offense but shoot efficiently – Virginia led the ACC in 2016 in field goal accuracy at 49.0 percent. Minimize turnovers that create open court situations for your opponents – Virginia was second to Louisville in turnover margin at +2.27.

And, voila, you’re well on your way to causing low scoring and enjoying a hefty scoring margin (+10.9, third in the ACC in 2016).

Expect a similar statistical profile from the experienced Cavs this year, as they challenge the ACC record for most consecutive seasons leading in scoring defense. The current run already is second-best in league history, and only the third streak of more than two straight times leading in scoring defense after Maryland at the ACC’s outset and UVa at the start of Terry Holland’s tenure.

By the way, while Virginia also led the conference in field goal percentage defense in 2014 and 2015, it finished fifth in that category in 2016 at .420.

In Row School Years Best
6 Maryland 1954-59 55.7, 1954
5 Virginia 2012-16 51.5, 2015
4 Virginia 1975-78 66.9, 1978
4 of 5 South Carolina 1966,67,69,70 57.4, 1970
3 of 4 NC State 1997,98,2000 54.7, 1997
3 of 4 Duke 2004,05, 07 62.0, 2007

If you're going to shop Amazon, please start here and help DBR and while you're there check out Barry’s book Across The Line | Drop us a line at our new address