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Cracking The Whip On Defense

Virginia’s defense this year is good, but it’s not the best we’ve seen lately.

NCAA Basketball: Syracuse at Virginia
Jan 9, 2018; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Syracuse Orange guard Tyus Battle (25) drives to the basket as Virginia Cavaliers guard Devon Hall (0) defends in the first half at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers won 68-61.
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Folks ooh and aah about Virginia’s ability to limit opponents’ shooting accuracy. While UVa’s field goal percentage defense has been impressive under coach Tony Bennett’s guidance, it’s not record-setting. Not quite, anyway.

Only twice in Bennett’s first eight years – 2014 and 2015 – did the Cavaliers pace the ACC in FG percentage defense. Not coincidentally, Virginia finished first in both of those regular seasons.

As we approach the mid-point of the ACC regular season, the Cavs are holding opponents to .366 shooting accuracy, best in the league. And they’re in first place.

The current shooting suppression is the best of Bennett’s tenure at Charlottesville, and falls just short of the 1997 Wake Forest squad that was eighth-best since the conference was founded.

Florida State enjoyed the best field goal percentage defense of modern times -- .363 in 2011. Since 1960 no team has done better. Not yet.

Best Field Goal Percentage Defense in ACC History
(Through Games of Jan. 19, 2018)
Opp Opp
FG% School Year FG-FGA Games Record
.320 North Carolina 1954 422-1320 21 11-10
.334 N.C. State 1956 696-2086 28 24-4
.340 Maryland 1955 517-1519 24 17-7
.346 Maryland 1958 583-1687 29 22-7
.352 North Carolina* 1957 720-2043 32 32-0
.360 N.C. State 1960 559-1551 26 11-15
.363 Florida State 2011 696-1918 34 23-11
.364 Wake Forest 1997 667-1832 31 24-7