(Editor’s Note: This is Part 2 of 3 in looking at the basketball season so far)
With the holiday season quickly approaching, we continue our series in looking at the state of the basketball team. If the last article was “The Ghost of Basketball Past”, this one is “The Ghost of Basketball Present.” Unfortunately to us, he is not a jolly, fat, Bacchus-esque figure, but more of a skin-and-bone, “Ghost to Most” apparition telling us about our woeful transgressions. But, it is not all bad, as we delve into some statistics the Wahoos have amassed so far. As we talked about in Part 1, we will be comparing UVa to the rest of the ACC.
Good: The Tiny Tim Chronicles
1. (1a) Three Point Percentage: 40.3% (ACC rank: 1). This is a great sign that surely has Tony Bennett happy. Three pointers have helped us build early leads or kept us in games when we have given back those leads. Consistency is still an issue throughout the game, but it’s good to be first in something.
2. (1b) Three Points Per game: 6.5 (ACC rank: 4). It’s hard to compete with Duke and Miami who live behind the arc, but the ability to make threes against varying talent is a plus.
3. Free Throw Percentage: 71.6% (ACC rank: 2). Another thing that we have always done well in. The ability as a team to shoot well from the line can help ice a game or come back when we start fouling (see Auburn game).
4. Defensive Rebounds Percentage: 75.8% (ACC rank: 1). This is a little bit of a smoke screen. We are not getting a lot of second chance points (offensive rebounds), which pushes up our average. But this means that a least we are holding teams to one shot a possession, a staple in Tony’s defense.
5. Assist to turnover margin 1.25 (ACC rank: 5). This is a decent rank based on the rest of the quality teams in the league that specialize in very few turnovers per game. But we aren’t turning the ball over as much as anticipated, which is a good sign.
Bad: The Bob Cratchit Tales
1. Three Point Defense: 39.2% (ACC rank: 12) and Field Goal Defense: 43.9% (ACC rank: 11). The hallmark of Tony Bennett’s system is defense and it’s not quite clicking yet. Mediocre teams are kicking out to the open shooter on fast breaks to often this season and making their shots. Major improvement needs to be done on checking shooters above the arc and not getting caught off screens so often.
2. Rebounds Per Game: 34.9 (ACC rank: 11), Rebounding Margin: +4.2 (ACC rank: 10), and Offensive Rebounds Per Game: 9.9 (ACC rank: 12). Yikes. I know we are small and the new offense slows down the game, which results in fewer possessions, but quality ACC teams will be speeding up the game and we cannot continue to hack up shots and then set up on defense if we wish to be competitive in close games. The big guys need to step up and get some more tip ins.
3. Total Defense: 62.2 ppg (ACC rank: T7), Total Offense: 68.8 ppg (ACC rank: 11). We were going to have lower scoring games under Tony Bennett, but going shot-for-shot against good talent will catch up with up very soon. If we are going to limit possessions, we need to take better quality shots, not letting the clock run down to 5 seconds and throwing up a shot.
Luckily, UVa will have 5 more games and 3 weeks of practice to work out most of these issues. But if these trends continue, it will be another long season. Tomorrow, we will look at the “Ghost of Basketball Future”, as we run down the remain non-conference schedule.