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Virginia’s Overtime Loss to Pitt Displays Rare Defensive Lapses

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It was one of Virginia’s worst defensive outings in at least three years.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers dropped their second straight game last night in an overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers, 88-76. The final score is eye-popping considering UVA came into the game with the stingiest defense in the country at 48.6 points allowed per game. Just how rare was the lapse in Virginia’s defense last night?

Consider this: the Cavaliers haven’t given up 88 points in almost four years — the last time they did so, it was 93 in a loss to North Carolina on February 16, 2013. It’s actually just the third time in the Tony Bennett era that an opponent has scored at least 88 -- the only other time was a 106-63 blowout to Washington in Maui on November 22, 2010.

Virginia’s defensive efficiency rating of 131.0 was its worst in over three years. By comparison, the Hoos’ defensive rating in the infamous Tennessee game on December 30, 2013 was 139.3.

The Panthers shot an unsightly 61.9% from three point range. The Hoos had not allowed that high a percentage in more than six years. Washington shot 65.4% in that Maui Invitational blowout. Even Florida State only shot 53.3% last weekend. Pitt’s Jamel Artis went a whopping 6-7 from beyond the arc, while Cam Johnson went 4-5.

In the unlikely event that Pitt managed to miss a bucket last night, Virginia allowed the Panthers to grab 40% of their own misses. That is the worst defensive rebounding percentage for the Cavaliers in almost three years. UNC grabbed 41% on January 20, 2014.

Hitting three straight threes in overtime all but sealed the deal for Pittsburgh. The double-digit loss was Virginia’s first in a long, long time. The Cavaliers had not lost lost by double digits in their past 109 games, the longest such streak in the country.

UVA had been 68-1 in the Tony Bennett era when scoring at least 73 points. Now, the Hoos are 68-2.

Not all is gloom and doom for Virginia. Keep in mind that UVA started 1-2 in the ACC last year as well and still ended up as a #1 NCAA seed. It was the Hoos’ best offensive production vs. the six top 50 teams they have faced this season so far. The young team has plenty to learn from this game going forward and can get back to their lock down defensive ways.