The Cavaliers come in ranked No.1 in the country for the first time since 1982 and they’ve done it by playing the best defense in the Ken Pom Era. Virginia earned the No.1 ranking despite suffering a devastating 61-60 loss at home to Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Cavaliers earn No.1 ranking despite loss
The Cavaliers fell to Virginia Tech 61-60 in overtime on Saturday in a closely-contested ACC matchup. Devon Hall finished with a team-high 16 points, while Kyle Guy chipped in 13 in an off-shooting night from three-point range. Guy made just 5 of his 21 shots from the field and 3 of his 14 attempts from three-point range in the loss.
Virginia has allowed opposing teams to score at a rate of just 82.8 points per 100 possessions so far this season (1st in the NCAA), which is the best mark of the Ken Pom era. That number jumps to 88.3 points per 100 possessions against ACC opponents, but that still ranks as the best mark in the conference. Opposing teams own an effective field goal percentage of just 44.7 percent against Virginia’s defense this year (1st in the ACC).
ACC teams are turning the ball over on 23.0 percent of their offensive possessions (1st in the ACC) and shooting just 29.0 percent from three-point range against Virginia’s defense (1st in the ACC) through 12 conference games.
Tony Bennett’s squad has done a fantastic job of taking care of the basketball during league play so far this year. The Cavaliers have coughed up the ball on just 14.2 percent of their offensive possessions (1st in the ACC), which has helped them come out on top in several tight games this year.
Virginia slows the pace down almost to a near halt. The Cavaliers are averaging just 59.7 possessions per game and 21.5 seconds per offensive possession so far during ACC play, both last in the ACC.
Hurricanes missing Bruce Brown Jr.
The Hurricanes lost on the road to Boston College on Saturday without guard Bruce Brown. Dejan Vasiljevic scored a team-high 17 points, while Chris Lykes added 16 for the Hurricanes, who squandered a late seven-point lead to fall on the road to the Eagles. Brown suffered a foot injury at the end of January and is expected to miss about six weeks of action.
Miami comes in scoring 107.3 points per 100 possessions (6th in the ACC), while allowing 105.3 points per 100 possessions (8th in the ACC) on the defensive end of the floor. The Hurricanes own an offensive rebounding rate of 30.2 percent (6th in the ACC) and a free throw rate of 33.4 percent (5th in the ACC) so far during league play, however, turnovers have held them back from becoming an elite offensive team.
Jim Larranaga’s squad has turned the ball over on 16.9 percent of their offensive possessions so far during ACC play, which ranks seventh in the conference.
Opposing teams have shot 52.0 percent against the Hurricanes’ defense during ACC play (13th in the ACC), but the Hurricanes have done a good job of limiting second-chance opportunities on the offensive glass. Teams own an offensive rebounding percentage of just 26.6 percent against the Hurricanes’ defense so far during league play (2nd in the ACC).
- Cavaliers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Cavaliers are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. Atlantic Coast.
- Hurricanes are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games.
Virginia lost a tough one in their last game and the Cavaliers have been tested lately. Three of their last five games have been decided by four points or less. However, Miami doesn’t seem to have it all figured out without Bruce Brown, who was the team’s most dynamic player. Look for Virginia to overwhelm Miami on their home floor and cover the spread on the road in this ACC battle on Tuesday night.
Pick: Virginia Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have been one of the best defensive teams in recent memory, despite not having any big named rim protectors. Tony Bennett’s style of play on both ends of the floor has yielded tremendous results at Virginia and Miami isn’t bad on the defensive end either. So look for this game to go under the projected total on Tuesday night.
- Under is 6-2 in Cavaliers last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 35-14-2 in Cavaliers last 51 road games.
- Under is 6-2 in Hurricanes last 8 vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Under is 19-7 in Hurricanes last 26 Tuesday games.