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The Big ACC Tourney Preview: Virginia and Louisville

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Basketball kicks off their postseason with a late game against the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC Tournament in Brooklyn. The game is scheduled for 930, but will tip-off roughly 30 minutes following the conclusion of the previous game.

These two teams, of course, faced off on Saturday in Louisville, with Virginia coming away with a 10 point win. Here is our preview from that game.

In that game, the Cardinals actually started off hot and led 8-0 at the first media timeout. Virginia missed it’s first four shots and also committed two turnovers in the early going.

After exchanging buckets immediately out of that under-16 timeout, Virginia went on a 34-7 run to close out the half and take a 36-17 lead into halftime. Although Louisville did fight back to get within seven, they got no closer than that.

The Cardinals’ comeback was fueled by 7/15 (46%) second half shooting from behind the arc. They knocked down their first two and the three in a row around the eight minute mark. This is from Malik Williams, who was 2-2 from downtown in the game. He’s a 31% shooter for his career.

That’s a good way to stage a comeback. It wasn’t enough, as Virginia also knocked down some big threes, none bigger than this one from Reece Beekman.

I get that Beekman isn’t considered a shooter. But he’s up to 35% on the season (just under 40% in ACC play) and was 2-2 in the game at that point. How does nobody from Louisville even attempt to contest the shot? Good job from Kody Stattmann on the drive and kick. The Aussie wing had a big game with 11 points in 29 minutes.

Not much has changed since that game for either team. The Cardinals overwhelmed Georgia Tech early on in yesterday’s matchup, shooting 6-12 from three and 53% overall in the first half to take a 45-28 lead into halftime. The three point barrage was Noah Locke (3/7) and Jarrod West (2/3).

The second half was back to usual for the Cardinals, who shot 5/16 (31%) from downtown and 43% overall. Much closer to their usual performance. The Jackets cut the lead down to five, but West put the game away with a pair of dagger threes.

These are both deep threes against a Georgia Tech zone. West will not be that open with Beekman (or Kihei Clark) on him.

Like any other team, Louisville is tough when the three point shot is falling. They shoot a ton of threes, and they do not shoot it well. As you can see above, West is the best option there, and has been shooting the ball very well of late. There is a belief around college basketball that it is difficult to beat a team three times in one season. But the evidence doesn’t match that belief, and Louisville is simply not very good right now, nor are they acting very interested most of the time.