In front of a packed JPJ, the Virginia Cavaliers routed the Miami Hurricanes in a 71-58 victory as Tony Bennett’s team played what was likely its best and most complete game of basketball all season. As the ‘Hoos have look to make a late-season run, there’s plenty to assess and conclude from this momentum-building win.
UVA finally strings together two wins
For the previous nine games before this contest against Miami, Virginia had kept trading off wins and losses in consecutive games. With the win over the Hurricanes, the ‘Hoos win their second straight game and finally start building momentum.
Considering there are just seven games remaining in the regular season, it’s do or die time for this squad in regards to jostling for NCAA Tournament selection. Fortunately, the schedule gives the ‘Hoos opportunities to win games against tournament competition. That first chance was against Miami, and boy oh boy did the ‘Hoos capitalize.
Tony Bennett’s teams are known to come on late in the season and this win seems like a potentially turning point for this group. Miami isn’t Duke — who Virginia will play on Monday in Cameron Indoor — but the Hurricanes are a quality squad who couldn’t stop the Wahoo offense and struggled to score despite their guards’ proficiency at doing just that.
If Virginia can make the NCAA Tournament and achieve something notable this season, this game will be the season’s inflection point. If not, this was just a flash of how good this team could’ve been at its best.
Virginia makes shots
It’s been a rarity this season, but Virginia essentially won this game with three-point shooting. Armaan Franklin in particular was in his bag all game shooting the ball, finishing 3-8 from deep.
Franklin was complemented by Kihei Clark who knocked down a pair of long balls along with Reece Beekman and Kody Stattmann who each knocked down a three-ball of their own as the ‘Hoos finished the evening 8-15 from beyond the arc.
Making those shots helped to open the UVA offense while also just providing some easy points after making the Miami defense rotate. Everything purely worked so much smoother for Virginia because of that perimeter threat. If guys can continue to hit shots just a bit more consistently, this offense has a shot at being a different animal down the final stretch.
Armaan Franklin has arguably his best game as a Wahoo
Undoubtedly the MVP of the game, Armaan Franklin was on it from the get-go against the Hurricanes. His confidence hasn’t wavered this season, but we finally truly saw what Franklin can be at his best.
On the night, Franklin scored 22 on 8-16 shooting while making his presence felt all over the floor. He dished out 4 assists while only turning the ball over once and also was a menace defensively as he wracked up four steals.
When Franklin hits shots he is a different player. His control and patience on the floor goes to another level as he’s able to utilize his talents as a scorer at all three levels and force defenses to over play him in order to involve his teammates.
Obviously this type of performance can’t necessarily be consistently repeated. But if Franklin can consistently produce as a scorer and — more importantly — as a shooter for UVA, this offense becomes far more dynamic.
Miami struggles some offensively
Partially due to a more active, alert Wahoo defense and somewhat a result of the Hurricanes just missing shots, the Miami offense had very little going all game against the Wahoos.
A 36.2% three-point shooting team heading into today’s contest, Miami shot a poor 4-17 from deep against Virginia as the guards couldn’t quite muster a complete-enough performance to keep this one competitive.
That said, it’s a credit to just how complete a performance this was from Virginia as . Of course, if the Hurricanes hit a few more shots, this may be a slightly different story. But the Wahoo defense was disruptive for most of the night and didn’t give up many easy looks.
Against the 21st best offense according to KenPom, that’s impressive especially with how the Virginia defense has had its issues this season. If the ‘Hoos can keep this up along with some slightly more efficient offensive play, there are a bunch of big games UVA could win in this final stretch of play.