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From the Rafters: Taking a Look at the Charleston Classic

Coming off the disappointing loss to George Washington, the Hoos will have their chance to prove they still belong amongst the top teams in the country as they travel to South Carolina for the Charleston Classic.

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Virginia will play three games over the next four days.  Outside of Thursday's matchup with the Bradley Braves, their exact opponents are unknown at this time. However, this article will be predominantly about Virginia and the things they need to do to bounce back. So, here is what we'll be looking for, From the Rafters.

1) Take the ball to the basket - 24 to 18. That was the discrepancy between fouls committed by the Cavaliers, and those committed by the Colonials. 16 to 28.  That's the discrepancy in fouls shots attempted by the Cavaliers, and those attempted by the Colonials.  With the emphasis on "freedom of movement" attacking the basket is a surefire way to either get to the foul line or get an easy basket.  Malcolm Brogdon figured this out, but too late. In the second half he exploded for 20 of his game high 28 points and seven of those came from the free throw line.  He was assertive and took his game to GW. For the Cavaliers to come back from Monday night's loss, Brogdon will not only have to do that earlier in the game, but he will need some help from his teammates.  On the night, in a combined 84 minutes played, London Perrantes, Darius Thompson, Devon Hall, and Marial Shayok didn't attempt a single free throw.  All of those players have the ability to get to the basket and take the pressure off Brogdon. Now, they just need to show it.

2) Be patient - Whether it's an effect of the 30-second shot clock, or whether there has been a concerted effort to take advantage of their athleticism, Virginia has been playing at a staggeringly increased pace on offense. It's only two games but their average time of possession on offense is 17.5 seconds, compared to 21.1 seconds last year. Everyone's pace is up, but not nearly at the rate of Virginia's (18.4 seconds last year to 16.6 seconds this year). That has translated to poorer shot selection, thus less success at the offensive end. It's a fine line between urgency and rushing, and for Virginia it will bare watching as the season goes on.

3) Win the Hustle - While it may be anecdotal, Virginia really seemed to be out hustled by the Colonials on Monday night. Being hard working and blue collar has always been a staple of Tony Bennett led Cavalier teams, so it seemed odd that every loose ball, every tip-in went the way of GW. The numbers bear it out as well. On the night, Virginia was better on the offensive glass their opponents, outrebounding them 9-7. However, the Colonials were in much better position to capiltalize outscoring Virginia 11-6 on offensive putbacks, including two tip-ins where the Virginia defense was clearly out of position. If the Cavaliers are going to get back to their winning ways, they will have to improve on owning the paint like we all know they can.

Things tip-off tonight at 9:30 p.m. For more information on the weekend check out our How to Watch page, and Go Hoos.