The Virginia Cavaliers won big once again over an overmatched opponent, squashing the Tigers of Tennessee St. 79-36 in Charlottesville behind Justin Anderson's 20 points on perfect shooting.
As in the Hoos' earlier wins over South Carolina State and Norfolk St., it was clear from the opening seconds that there was a serious mismatch in talent, athleticism, and especially size. The Tigers hit some shots early, and pulled to within 30-17 with 2:50 remaining in the first half. They didn't score again for over 10 minutes. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, put up 32 unanswered points to lead 62-17. With nine minutes to play, four first-years were on the court, and the walk-ons streamed in before the first TV timeout.
In the 55 possession game, UVA scored 1.43 PPP to TSU's .66 PPP despite not playing its starters for the last 10 minutes. There are 2 stats to look at in realizing why the game was a blowout: 1) UVA made 62% of its 2s, and 2) UVA rebounded 84% of TSU misses and 52% of its own misses. If you make most of the shots you take and rebound most of the ones you miss, you'll probably win by a lot.
Tennessee State had no way to matchup with Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey on the interior. Gill finished with 16 points, making all 6 of his shots from the field, and adding 9 rebounds, 5 on offense. Tobey had 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting. He pulled down a game-high 16 (!!) rebounds, including 4 on the offensive side. Basically, either of those two could have done whatever they wanted all game.
Somehow, neither of those guys was the story of the night. Justin Anderson shot a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, including 5-for-5 from behind the arc, to finish with 20 points. He's now 15 for 28 on 3s (68%) this season, and he looks good doing it. The rest of the ACC better watch out, because this version of Justin Anderson is scary good.
On the other hand, Malcolm Brogdon and Evan Nolte have gotten off to a chilly shooting start, shooting 0-4 and 0-3 from three-point range, respectively. Brogdon is now 2-12 on the season, and Nolte 1-9.
In the long run, most of this should even out. Anderson won't shoot 68% on the season...but even that seems more likely than him shooting 29%, (where he was last season). Brogdon and Nolte should find their touch too. Evan's situation is more pressing, as he doesn't have the ability to impact the game in the ways that Brogdon does. Additionally, Nolte shot 33% from behind the arc last season, below the D-I average; he's looking better and better moving around the floor, but less and less like a "three-point marksman."
Looking down the rest of the stat sheet, everyone on UVA's roster scored except for Isaiah Wilkins and Maleek Frazier (13 players total) - that includes buckets from Jeff Jones, Rob Vozenilek, Caid Kirven, and BJ Stith It was great to see BJ Stith get his first college points. He hit a layup on a nice cut to the hoop and a jumper from the baseline to finish with 4 points.
The good news is that we don't have to feel sorry for any more of the teams that UVA dominates. The Hoos have just 2 games left on the schedule against teams outside KenPom's top-150, and both are against the Hokies. The team is back in action Friday and Saturday for the Barclay's Classic in Brooklyn, where they'll take on La Salle then either Vanderbilt or Rutgers.