As the Virginia Cavaliers took care of the Boston College 67-55, the ‘Hoos advance to 13-9 on the season and 7-5 in conference play. With eight games left in regular season competition, it’s do or die time for this squad.
UVA wins playing team ball
For much of conference play the Wahoos have struggled to find one consistent go-to guy. Instead, it’s been offense by committee as UVA relies on a number of guys to produce on a nightly basis in order to produce efficient offense.
That trend held against Boston College. Four different ‘Hoos scored in double figures with Jayden Gardner (17), Kihei Clark (19), Armaan Franklin (12), and Kadin Shedrick (13) all hitting that mark. In fact, this was the third straight game where UVA had four guys with more than 10 points.
Above purely scoring, this was a traditional UVA win in the sense that Virginia only turned the ball over nine times. The ‘Hoos played clean ball and stuck to their strengths to gut out the win.
Pack-line defense is disruptive
Boston College isn’t necessarily a juggernaut, but the Wahoo defense had a solid outing agains the Eagles. Holding Earl Grant’s team to .966 points per possession, the ‘Hoos had nine steals on the night and made BC uncomfortable all night long.
On the game, the Eagles shot 19-46 from the floor and 5-20 from beyond the three-point line. Sure, they did miss some open looks. But the Cavaliers didn’t make it easy for BC and there wasn’t much the Eagles could do in response.
UVA gets easy points at the line
Since so much of the Virginia offense relies on touching the paint and dominating the interior considering the Wahoos’ struggles to make shots on the perimeter, generating looks at the free throw line can be a saving grace.
Against BC the ‘Hoos got to the line a whopping 27 times and were incredibly efficient, making 24 which was more than the difference in the game.
Gardner in particular was aggressive in the blocks as he created contact and found his way to the line on seven occasions, converting all of them as he finished with 17 points on the night to go with 5 boards and 3 assists.
Kihei Clark also made his living at the line as the senior point guard finished 10-10 from the charity stripe.
Admittedly, this was quite a physical game so that’s partially responsible for the high number of Virginia’s free looks. But the ‘Hoos did what was necessary and took advantage of Boston College’s aggression.
Virginia keeps bouncing back
The Wahoos have alternated between wins and losses for the previous nine games since the win over Clemson on January fourth. Fortunately, Tony Bennett’s squad is yet to drop back-to-back games this season. That’s a testament to the coaching staff and the experience that is on this roster.
But — on the flip side – it’s been nearly a month since UVA has won two straight games. It’s that back-and-forth that exemplifies the mediocrity of this group. They’re not good enough to string together wins in a run for the NCAA Tournament or the top of the conference. But they’ve also got the talent and requisite experience to not fall off a cliff.
It’s easy to say that this team has a chance to make a last ditch push for the NCAA Tournament or that a result in the ACC Tournament is possible. But the storyline regarding Virginia’s inconsistency has been a narrative throughout and before conference play and continues to limit UVA’s postseason prospects.
With Miami coming to town on Saturday and Virginia heading to Durham the following Monday, it’s now or never for UVA to start putting together consistent performances.