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Virginia vs. St. Francis (NY): The Big Preview

Hoos host the Terriers in their home opener for the 2016-2017 season.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at NC-Greensboro Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Hoos took care of business in the 2016-2017 season opener on the road at UNC-Greensboro, winning 76-51. Though the Spartans played the Hoos even in the 2nd half, the game was out of reach long before that thanks to a late first half Cavalanche. We got our first glimpse of Kyle Guy (impressive), Ty Jerome (not so impressive) and the new look Hoos.

Tonight, the Hoos host St. Francis of NY, a team that started four seniors and a junior and finished 15-17 despite having one of the easiest schedules in the nation. Their best win came over 263rd ranked Mount St Mary’s (who they also lost to twice). They lost to 346th ranked Bryant. That’s bad.

Having lost four seniors from last year’s team, this year’s team is likely to be even worse. The Terriers opened this season on the road at NC State, falling 86-61, shooting just 33.9% from the field against the Wolfpack. The lone junior in last year’s starting five is 5’10” PG Yunus Hopkinson, who took 60% of his shots from beyond the arc in 2015-2016, making 35% of them. Against NCSU in the opener, he was just 3-for-9 from downtown. Next to Hopkinson is 5’11” Glenn Sanabria, a redshirt sophomore who received a medical hardship redshirt last year after a shoulder injury sidelined him just five games in. As a freshman, he shot 44% from three (and just 35% from two). He scored 11 points last year against Louisville.

So, yeah, the Terrier’s backcourt is small. They’re both shooters and they’re pretty quick, but they’re going to have trouble getting shots off consistently against the bigger Hoos. And if Virginia decides to go Hall or Shayok at the two, one of those guys is going to have to guard a 6’5” wing.

Against NC State, the Terriers started 6’10” Josh Nurse at center, but he played just five minutes and picked up three fouls. Not surprisingly, the Pack dominated inside. After missing the opener, Austin Nichols is likely to get the starting nod, and he should be able to have his way inside against Nurse and the rest of the Terrier’s undersized frontcourt. They will miss 6’9”, 270 pound sophomore Cori Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.

The Terriers don’t shoot the ball very well, and they don’t have the size inside to contend with the Cavalier front court. They aren’t a particularly good defensive team. This game is very likely not going to be close, and I’d get your checkbooks ready, because they are probably not going to score 55 points. KenPom predicts a 77-49 win for the Hoos. I would say that 77-49 wouldn’t be a terrible outcome for the Terriers, although the Hoos’ bench is likely to get a lot of playing time in this one.

This is the first game for each team in the Emerald Coast Classic. The Hoos will host Grambling on November 22nd in a second round matchup (they also host Yale on Sunday November 20th in between the two rounds) and then will head down to Niceville, FL for a third round game against Iowa on November 25th.

Game Information:

Who: St Francis of Brooklyn

Where: JPJ

When: 15 November, 7pm

TV: ACC Network Extra/ESPN3/WatchESPN