Yesterday, we kicked off our countdown with a look at redshirt first year Jay Huff, but before we can fully look forward to this coming season - now just 29 days away - we first have to put to rest the 2016-17 Virginia Basketball season.
Virginia finished 23-11 (11-7 ACC) and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament before struggling with Florida. The Hoos dealt with some personnel issues throughout the season with Austin Nichols getting himself kicked off the team after just two games and Isaiah Wilkins struggling with health issues throughout the postseason.
The graduations of now-NBA Rookie of the Year Malcolm Brogdon and Anthony Gill (along with Mike Tobey and Evan Nolte) took a toll on the Cavaliers, but Virginia welcomed newcomers Kyle Guy, Ty Jerome, and Mamadi Diakite to the court for the first time. Fourth year London Perrantes led the charge with 12.7 points per game, Guy shot 49% from three for the season, and Isaiah Wilkins made the All-ACC Defensive team.
Let’s take a look back at the season.
Out of Conference
11/11/16 - No.8 Virginia had no problem dealing with UNC-Greensboro to open the season, cruising to a 76-51 victory.
11/15/16 - Awww. The Austin Nichols game. Virginia handled St. Francis 72-32 behind 11 points from Nichols. It would be the only game he played before being dismissed from the program for breaking team rules (repeatedly).
11/20/16 - The Hoos improved to 3-0 with a 62-38 victory over Yale.
11/22/16 - Make that 4-0. Easy 90-34 win over Grambling State.
11/25/16 - In their first Power 5 test of the season, the Hoos crushed it 74-41 over Iowa in the first game of the Emerald Coast Classic.
11/26/16 - EMERALD COAST CLASSIC VICTORS!! Virginia shot 58% from the field to down Providence 63-52 behind tournament MVP London Perrantes’s 11 points. Red shirt first year Mamadi Diakite chipped in 10 in the win.
The win was Virginia’s fourth straight early-season tournament/challenge victory as the Hoos had previously won the Corpus Christi Challenge (2013), the Barclays Center Classic (2014), and the Charleston Classic (2015).
11/30/16 - Once again, the Hoos pulled their weight in the ACC/Big Ten challenge, defeating Ohio State for the second straight season (oh, so exciting to play the same team back to back) and picking up their sixth win in the last seven years in the challenge. Virginia struggled mightily in the first half, going into halftime with a 12 point deficit.
Then, the London Perrantes show started. The fourth year point guard scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half as the Hoos rallied to a 63-61 record to improve to 6-0 on the season.
12/03/16 - First blemish of the season as the Hoos fall to #25 West Virginia 66-57.
12/06/16 - The Hoos rebound with a win over East Carolina, 76-53.
12/17/16 - Another tune-up non-conference game as Virginia has no problems with Robert Morris. 79-39.
12/21/16 - Virginia traveled west to take on Cal in a super late night game, but Virginia used a stellar performance from Kyle Guy and another good showing from Cali Cool Perrantes in a 56-52 win. The victory ended a 27 game home winning streak for the Bears.
Start of Conference Play
12/28/16 - Oh, Louisville. I do love you so. #12 Virginia got an early start on their ACC slate, having two games before the calendar turned to 2017, the first of which being a road game at the KFC Yum! Center (aka JPJ West). The Hoos upset #6 Louisville 61-53 behind 49% shooting from the field and 10 points from Devon Hall.
12/31/16 - This was the “Almost Kyle Guy Game”. The Hoos and #20 Noles battled back and forth as Dwayne Bacon went off in the second half. With 8.8 seconds remaining, Guy hit a three pointer from the corner to give the Hoos the lead...but Bacon drilled a trey as the clock expired to secure the 60-58 win for FSU. Bacon finished with 29 points, 26 after the half. Ughhhh.
01/04/17 - DAMMIT PITT. WHAT THE HELL. The Panthers shot 62% beyond the arc (and still needed OT) in the 88-76 loss, Virginia’s third of the season. Whatever, Pitt. No one likes you anyway.
01/08/17 - #11 Virginia easily handles Wake Forest, 79-62, behind 24 from Perrantes. Pretty straight forward.
01/14/17 - Playing at Clemson is always a pain, especially when they have Jaron Blossomgame. Perrantes balled out again, this time scoring 25 points as the Hoos earned a hard-fought 77-73 win.
01/18/17 - ILY Boston College <3. Hoos win 71-54.
01/21/17 - SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY. JACK SALT VS. BEN LAMMERS. Ok, it was played on a Saturday, but the idea is the same. Jack Salt played the best game of his career as he played 35 minutes and limited GT’s offensive threat to just seven points in 38 minutes.
01/24/17 - Another road test, another big win. Ty Jerome had a bit of a coming out party as he scored eight points in 14 minutes of play as Virginia defeated the Irish, 71-54, in South Bend. Perrantes scored 22 points despite feeling under the weather.
01/29/17 - Despite a heartbreaking loss, #12 Virginia vs. #1 Villanova in Philly was one of the best games of the season. Two outstanding teams battling down to the wire. If Ty Jerome had a break out against Notre Dame, he was the star at Nova. Jerome scored a game-high 15 points and showed some flashes of brilliance as he waved off help and crossed fools up. If not for a tip in at the buzzer...
Conference Play Continues...
02/01/17 - Beating Virginia Tech is always fun. Beating them 71-48 is super fun. #9 Hoos improve to 16-4 (6-2 ACC).
02/04/17 - I don’t like you, Syracuse.
02/06/17 - I love you, Louisville. 71-55 will cure a lot of ailments.
Where the Wheels Fall Off
02/12/17 - Hey Virginia Tech. Get a real arena. Not one that is 100 degrees with one big fan and stupid baskets that defy physics. You ruin everything.
02/15/17 - This is the “Jayson Tatum is a Freak Athlete and Nothing You Do Will Matter So Why Bother” game. Tatum scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half to lead #12 Duke over #14 Virginia. Three three-pointers as the shot clock wound down. Basketball is a cruel, cruel mistress.
02/18/17 - WOOOOOOOOOOOOF. Sometimes you just don’t have it. Sometimes, no one has it and you can’t hit anything at all when you play on the road at UNC.
02/20/17 - And so continues the worst stretch in recent Virginia basketball history as Miami ekes out a 54-48 victory (in overtime...those are overtime scores). Four straight losses for the Hoos.
The Strong Finish
02/25/17 - Thank goodness for NC State at the right time. #18 Virginia picked up a much-needed win in Raleigh to right the ship. Guy had 19 points in the win.
02/27/17 - BEST GAME OF THE YEAR, Y’ALL. Just nine days after having their lunch taken by the Tar Heels, the Hoos played a phenomenal game against the soon-to-be national champs. Virginia, who was ranked #23 at the time, handled #5 UNC easily as they put on a defensive clinic and held the Heels to their lowest output in ages in a 53-43 win.
03/04/17 - NOT THIS TIME, PITT. Virginia exacted revenge on the Panthers as the Hoos celebrated the remarkable career of London Perrantes with a 67-42 win. Perrantes finished with 22 points and a pair of poetic three pointers on dishes from first years Guy and Jerome (no, you’re crying).
The Hoos finished at 10-7 in conference (20-9 regular season) and earned the six seed in the ACC Tournament
03/08/17 - Oh, hey, Pitt! Virginia had no issues as they dispatched the Panthers for the second straight game, this time 75-63.
03/09/17 - Bonzie Colson and the #3 seed Irish finally got that elusive win over the Hoos as Virginia’s shooting woes continued. Colson finished with a double-double (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Devon Hall and Darius Thompson led the Hoos with 12 points each.
03/16/17 - Virginia picked up a first round win over UNC-Wilmington, 76-71, against a plucky, well-coached squad. Kevin Keatts, the now-NC State coach, will be a formidable ACC foe in the coming seasons. Perrantes had 24 points and Marial Shayok contributed a career-high 23 as Virginia rallied from 15 points down to pick up the win.
03/18/17 - YIIIIIKES. Not the way you want to end the season, but when you don’t have it...YOU DON’T HAVE IT. Nothing went Virginia’s way in a brutal outing against #4 seed Florida as the Hoos fell 65-39 (not a typo) in the Round of 32. Jack Salt and Mamadi Diakite were the lone bright spots as the duo scored eight and nine points, respectively. Salt chipped in 10 rebounds, finishing just a bucket short of a double-double.
Virginia ended their season on a sour note, but overcame significant personnel issues to still challenge talented teams down the stretch. Isaiah Wilkins, who struggled with an undisclosed illness really from the Virginia Tech game on (damn you and your hot gym), only played five minutes in the NCAA tournament. With a season-ending loss that only included 39 points, the criticism of Virginia’s offense seems justified and it’s easy to judge the season as a failure.
On the flip side, the Hoos saw solid performances from young players, and had some really outstanding games against some outstanding teams (namely against Cal, Louisville, Notre Dame [the first time], UNC [the second time] and Villanova). The Hoos had to re-adjust their offense and defense to make up for the loss of Austin Nichols early, and London Perrantes did everything in his power to push the Hoos as far as possible. The 2016-17 season wasn’t as successful as Virginia fans had become accustomed to, but 23-11 is nothing to be ashamed of.
I miss you already, London.
Next up in the Countdown...it’s time to talk defense! Check back tomorrow for more content!