Virginia Basketball: Numerical Nuggets

Defense! - Joe Robbins

In case you were wondering, Virginia is performing very well statistically this season, especially on defense. Oh, you knew that? Well, here's some numbers just in case you needed to be reminded.

I glanced at the ACC standings this morning and noticed with some amusement that we are listed as being zero games back from Syracuse in the ACC standings - 1 more win, 1 more loss. Not really sure that's how it works, but whatever. That got me thinking about our place in the ACC in various categories. Thus, these nuggets:

We are on the third longest win streak in the ACC.

Syracuse, of course, leads this since they're undefeated. Duke has won five in a row, starting with their win over us. We've won four in a row. No other team is on a streak longer than two at the moment.

In ACC contests, we are tied for the best home record.

Syracuse (3-0), Virginia (4-0), Duke (4-0) and Wake Forest (3-0) are all undefeated so far at home in conference play. Wake Forest hosts Syracuse next, so I have to imagine they will fall from the ranks of the home unbeatens.

In ACC contests, we have the second best road record.

Syracuse, of course, is in first at 3-0. Virginia and Pitt both sit nicely at 3-1 on the road. The Cavaliers can add to that record with a win over the Panthers on Sunday.

Without adjusting for pace, we have the fourth best average margin of victory so far this season.

Duke (15.1), Pitt (14.7) and Syracuse (13.8) are in the lead. Virginia is next at 11.0. No one else has a double digit average margin of victory. For the record, adjusting for pace, we're still in 4th.

Without adjusting for pace, we have the best average margin of victory in conference play.

We have outscored our opponents by 114 points so far this year in conference play. That works out to an average of 14.25 points per game, good enough for the top spot, just barely edging out Duke (13.0).

And adjusting for pace, we have the best average margin of victory in conference play.

With an adjusted margin of victory of 24.3, the 'Hoos lead the conference in this category as well. Duke is second once again at 20.5. Syracuse is next at 19.5 and Pitt is fourth at 13.7

We lead the country in scoring defense when not adjusting for pace.

The Hoos are allowing only 56 points per game through the course of the whole season, good enough for first in the nation.

We're 4th in the country in scoring defense when adjusting for pace.

Even when adjusted for pace, we're still 4th in the nation, allowing only 88.0 PPP. That's also best in conference. The closest is Clemson at 93.0 PPP. As an aside, Boston College allows a staggering 112.5 PPP on defense, which ranks 308th in the nation (out of 351 schools).

We rank first in the conference in two of Ken Pomeroy's defensive statistics during conference play...

We lead the conference in Defensive Efficiency, allowing just 87.1 PPP. Syracuse is second with a PPP of 94.4. That's a staggering 7.3 PPP gap between the 'Hoos and the next contender.

We also lead the conference in defensive turnover percentage, forcing a turnover on 23.3% of our opponents possessions. Syracuse is also second in that category, at 21.2%.

... and second in three more.

We come in second in effective field goal percentage defense (43.1%), three-point percentage defense (30.8%) and steal percentage defense (11.5%). In those three categories we trail Florida State, Wake Forest and Syracuse, respectively. Interestingly, Syracuse is 12th in three-point percentage defense during conference play. Take note, Joe, Malcolm, Evan, Justin, etc.

Our non-AP, non-Coaches rankings are quite nice

We are 19th in the RPI (3rd in ACC), 21st in the BPI (4th in ACC), 25th in the ESPN.com Power Rankings (4th in ACC), 12th in Ken Pomeroy's list (3rd in ACC) and 19th in Sagarin's list (4th in ACC). A win over Pitt on Sunday would go a long way to bumping up our place in all of these (as well as the voting polls).

Our 7-1 ACC start is our best since the '82-'83 season

That squad also went 7-1 to start the season, but lost its 9th game to UNC (both losses that season were to the Tar Heels). If Virginia were to beat Pitt this weekend, it would be the best start to a conference slate since... the year before - '81-'82. The Cavaliers started 12-1 in conference play that season before dropping the season finale at Maryland in overtime. The other loss - in the first conference game of the season - was to the Tar Heels. Man, they were a thorn in our side. Who did they have playing for them back then, Michael Jordan or something? Oh, wait...

Tony Bennett is just the second UVA coach to have a winning record in the conference.

Terry Holland was 111-103 (51.9%) during his 16 season at the helm. Tony is 39-35 (52.7%) in his 4+ seasons. Leitao, Gillen and even Jeff Jones were all under .500. Granted, all of these coaches had their waning years before they left the position and Tony is still very much in his prime. But its certainly interesting. Also, it seems somewhat likely Tony will get his 100th win at Virginia this season. He is sitting at 92-58 overall with at least 12 games remaining (10 regular season, 1 ACC tournament, 1 post-season tournament). Would be nice if that win could come against Syracuse on March 1, wouldn't it?

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