Virginia basketball has been on the rise the past few seasons.
The Cavaliers are having their best season and haven’t been ranked as high (No. 2 now) since 1982-1983. With all the success so far, it won’t lead them to a national championship.
Tony Bennett has turned the entire program around. He has won 147 games in just his sixth season, and has the program on pace to capture its fourth season in a row with at least 20 wins.
Defense is the name of the game for Bennett’s team. Since he took over in 2009, Virginia has allowed an average of 56.8 points per game, including just 49.3 this season. His offenses have averaged just less than 65 points (64.9).
Last night, Virginia held Georgia Tech to 28 points.
His group is solid again this season. A lot of the group, led by juniors Justin Anderson and Malcolm Brogdon, has returned after winning 30 games last season.
But come tournament time, it’s not about what team plays the best defense. It’s about how well a team can score.
Virginia is averaging 69.3 points per game this season. The last team to win a national championship while averaging under 70 points goes back all the way to the 1985 Villanova Wildcats. The Wildcats averaged 68.7 points per game that season.
Virginia has played a more than favorable schedule so far. While winning games on the road against Maryland earlier in the year and against Notre Dame two weeks ago is impressive, it will finally get tougher for the Cavaliers.
They will play Duke, at North Carolina, and host Louisville after it travels to Virginia Tech on Sunday. The Blue Devils are averaging 82 points and North Carolina a cool 79.4. Louisville brings up the rear at 72.6.
No more games against Tennessee State, South Carolina State, and James Madison.
Come “March Madness” time, a lot of experts will be telling you to pick Virginia.
I would be hesitant.