The Virginia defense held strong, but it was the offense that struggled on a night where every possession mattered. This is the start of a recap to a basketball game, not the 2013 football season. Behind an abysmal 22.4% shooting, the Cavaliers fell to No. 8 Wisconsin, 48-38. Those numbers are not typos.
But Wisconsin didn't exactly light it up either. The Badgers shot 28.8% from the field and just 21.7% from beyond the arc, though they average 48% from the field and 43.6% from the three. But, while Wisconsin just raked in the second chance points, Virginia failed to hit the boards. Coupled with poor shot selection and an inability to finish what seemed like at least fifteen easy layups, well, it's not a recipe for success.
Silver lining? For perhaps the first time this season, free throws were not a major concern, with the Hoos shooting 78.9% tonight.
Points of note:
- Despite having a size advantage over the Badgers, the Hoos were largely outrebounded during the bulk of the game, though the final stat shows 40 to 38 in favor of Wisconsin. Part of this, of course, is by design on the offensive end of the court. The other part, well, is inexplicable, except that Virginia struggled all night long against Frank Kaminsky.
- The refs did Virginia no favors, with several calls coming late, a missed timeout call, and just a whole slew of stuff I'd like to complain about. But that would make me salty. And I'm not a salty kind of guy. Refs notwithstanding, you don't win shooting 22.4% from the field. You just don't.
- Doris Burke is the single worst commentator on the air.
- Joe Harris, like the rest of Virginia's offense, had a quiet night, shooting 1-10, including 0-4 from the three. Notwithstanding, Harris had five of Virginia's six assists tonight. Wisconsin's defense is no joke, and even without UVa's shooting woes, the Badgers' defense would have held their own tonight. Harris was covered up all night, so the fact that he was able to provide nearly all of Virginia's assists makes me feel a little better that his night wasn't as bad as what a quick glance at the box score might suggest.
- Big man Mike Tobey had led the team with seven points and three field goals. That's right. Three field goals led the team tonight. In fact, Virginia only scored three field goals in the entire second half.
What does this mean going forward? A win would have been nice - a real quality win against a major conference foe. The loss doesn't hurt the Hoos too terribly, but it does expose Virginia's weaker offense, in case that has not been noticed yet this season. Mark my words, the Cavaliers will likely not have another night like this again for the rest of the season. In part, this is because I'm not sure the Hoos play another team as strong on defense as the Badgers, but also, it took a perfect storm of ice-cold shooting from an otherwise very deep squad to put together a night like this.
What are your thoughts? Does this affect Virginia's NCAA Tournament chances? Are you rethinking how the Hoos will fare when conference play opens up?