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Virginia’s Defense Is Operating At A Rare Level

As usual, Virginia’s defense is one of the best in the nation.

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North Carolina v Virginia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA - January 6: Isaiah Wilkins #21 and Mamadi Diakite #25 of the Virginia Cavaliers defend Cameron Johnson #13 and Sterling Manley #21 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half during a game at John Paul Jones Arena on January 6, 2018 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Virginia defeated North Carolina 61-49.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

They’re at it again.

This is the third time in Tony Bennett’s nine years his Virginia Cavaliers have led the ACC in field goal percentage defense. Through 20 games, anyway, 13 of them before supportive home crowds from which the players surely drew supportive energy.

We’ll see how things go the rest of the regular season, when the Cavs played six of their final 10 games on the road, all in the ACC, starting with Duke on Saturday.

Right now UVa has the nation’s top scoring defense (51.6), a strength we outlined recently, and trails only Michigan State in field goal percentage defense at .364. (MSU is at .353.)

Virginia’s current accuracy is eighth-best ever by an ACC team, second-best since 1960.

Only three of the previous 11 ACC squads that were best at suppressing opponents’ shooting finished first during the conference regular season, among them UVa in 2015. Two of the suffocating 11 finished with losing league marks.

Best Team Field Goal Percentage Defense in ACC History
(2018 Through Games of Jan. 25)
School Year ACC Finish ACC Record
.320 North Carolina 1954 Fifth 5-6
.334 NC State 1956 First (tie) 11-3
.340 Maryland 1955 Third 10-4
.346 Maryland 1958 Fourth 9-5
.352 North Carolina 1957 First 14-0
.360 NC State 1960 Sixth 5-9
.363 Florida State 2011 Third 11-5
.3636 Virginia 2018 TBD 8-0
.3641 Wake Forest 1997 Second (tie) 11-5
.367 Virginia 2015 First 16-2
.377 Florida State 2010 Third (tie) 10-6
.378 Maryland 2003 Second (tie) 11-5

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