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Is Virginia the Most Dominant Team in the Country?

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Virginia’s starters have spent a lot of time cheering from the bench, but how does that compare to the rest of the country?

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, at the suggestion of our friend at Blogger so Dear, Riley Johnston, Streaking the Lawn’s Danny took a look at the Virginia Cavaliers’ dominance noting Virginia could stop scoring and still win a lot of games. The premise being that there comes a point in Virginia’s blowouts where their point total exceeds their opponent’s eventual point total for the game. You can call it the moment when UVA hits the “game winner.” Regardless, it’s pretty staggering how dominant Virginia has been and that this is even a question. But how does it compare to the rest of the country.

Here’s the Top 11 in the country in scoring margin (11 so I could get another ACC team in there)

Margin of Victory

Rank Team Margin of Victory
Rank Team Margin of Victory
1 Gonzaga 25.1
2 Virginia 21.5
3 Duke 21.2
4 Tennessee 17.2
5 Virginia Tech 17
6 Michigan State 16.3
7 NC State 15.9
8 Houston 15.5
9 Michigan 15.2
10 Nevada 15
11 North Carolina 14.3

From there, I looked through each team’s game log and noted the minutes left in the game when they could stop scoring and still come out victorious (rounding to the nearest minute for simplicity). For losses, teams received a zero. Then by simply dividing total minutes by games played, I came up with a new stat I’m calling Minutes of Victory (shout out to STL’s Pierce who wanted to call it “Nap Time” and Will who wanted to call it “Flip Time,” an ode to Lil Flip’s diddy titled “Game Over”).

Here are the results.

Minutes of Victory

Rank Team Games Minutes of Victory Avg/Min of Victory
Rank Team Games Minutes of Victory Avg/Min of Victory
1 Virginia 19 218 11.5
2 Gonzaga 21 223 10.6
3 Duke 20 192 10.1
4 Virginia Tech 19 169 8.9
5 Michigan 20 174 8.7
6 Tennessee 19 165 8.7
7 Michigan State 21 159 7.6
8 Houston 21 145 6.9
9 North Carolina 19 128 6.7
10 NC State 20 126 6.3
11 Nevada 20 116 5.8

As you can see, on a per game basis, the Hoos do a better job of closing out games earlier in the contest and that scoring margin doesn’t tell the whole tale. But here’s the kicker and most intriguing. You could argue that teams can pad their stats against the Coppin States and Morgan States of the world. But Virginia has been consistent. Just take a look at a team’s Minutes of Victory accounting for conference games only.

Minutes of Victory (Conference games only)

Rank Team Conf Avg Min of Victory
Rank Team Conf Avg Min of Victory
1 Gonzaga 14.9
2 Virginia 10.9
3 Tennessee 7.3
4 Houston 7
5 Michigan State 6.9
6 Nevada 6.7
7 Michigan 6.3
8 Duke 5.8
9 North Carolina 4.3
10 Virginia Tech 4
11 NC State 0

I don’t think anyone is surprised that Gonzaga rises to the top of this list given they actually get a reprieve once they begin conference play. But look at where the other four ACC teams fall in conference games only. Virginia is dominating the same teams as Duke, UNC, Virginia Tech, and NC State. Incredible.

Here are some other nuggets that stuck out in this analysis.

  • North Carolina is 3-0 against teams on this list notching six, one, and eight minutes of victory against Gonzaga, NC State, and VaTech respectively.
  • Virginia scores the win for most minutes of victory over a team on this list thanks to closing out the Hokies with 11:39 left to play.
  • Tennessee and Gonzaga are tied with three games apiece in which “Nap Time” or “Flip Time” occured in the first half. UVA, Duke, VaTech, and NC State each have two.
  • VaTech and Gonzaga each share the title of most minutes of victory in a game with 25. VaTech breaks the tie given they achieved victory over Central Connecticut with 5:29 left in the first half, beating out the Bulldogs’s close out of Santa Clara with 4:47 left.

While Virginia in recent years has been more dominant that most give them credit for, this year has been just incredible. Let’s hope the trend continues and we won’t have to refill our prescriptions for heart meds.