After another heart-breaking loss, the Virginia Cavaliers have now blown double digit leads in three straight road games. In fact, UVA has lead in the second half as late as 12 minutes left to go in all six of their losses. The second-half woes have been consistent for the Hoos, whether in wins or losses, all season.
Since ACC play started, Virginia has outscored their opponents by a combined 90 points in the first half, but only by 3 in the second half. The Cavaliers are only 5-4 when leading at the half, but 3-1 when tied or trailing.
It is more pronounced when UVA is on the road. Away from JPJ, the Hoos have outscored their opponents by 65 points in the first half, but have been outscored by 39 in the second half. At home, the numbers improve to outscoring opponents by 25 in the first half and outscoring them by 42 in the second.
The trend applies to the earlier games as well. Overall on the season, Virginia has outscored opponents by 10 points per game in the first half, but only 5 per game in the second. This is a combination of blowing out easy teams in the non-conference schedule and letting leads slip away in ACC play.
As in ACC play, the away stats for the entire season pop out. The Cavaliers outscore opponents by 10 points per game in the first half on the road, which is second best in the country, behind only No. 1 undefeated Gonzaga. However, in the second half, the Hoos are outscored by an average of 1 point per game. That -11 differential is the worst in the entire country, out of 351 teams!
What causes this dramatic shift in play in the second half? One can argue lopsided foul calls, complacency by the offense with a large lead, halftime adjustments by the opposing coaches, or nervousness by a young team on the road. If Virginia is to find consistent success as they round out the ACC schedule and head into post season play, the Hoos are going to have to figure out a way to maintain first half leads.