UVA Pounds Miami 59-50

UVA Pounds Miami 59-50

PhilWood
In front of a near sellout crowd at the Watsco Center, the Canes had their chance to notch a season defining victory on Tuesday night. What ensued, instead, was downright ugly.

Just yesterday, Virginia took over as number 1 in the AP poll and found themselves ranked as the number 1 overall seed in the preliminary bracket revealed by the tournament selection committee. But, despite the national praise, the Cavaliers were also beatable, a fact proven just this past Saturday in a home 61-60 loss to rival Virginia Tech. The Canes were coming off their own disappointing loss, a road game to Boston College which they led by 6 points with 6:17 left, before failing to score for the remainder of the game. On Tuesday night Miami had a chance to wash the bad taste out of their mouth and pick up what would surely be one of the biggest wins of the college basketball season.

Instead, Virginia scored first and never once relinquished the lead, as Canes fans had to sit through the bleak, defensive struggle, which saw the Canes shoot just 38.3% from the field. Chris Lykes was about the only player who showed up offensively for the Canes, scoring 19, while turning it over only twice, but his effort wasn't enough to overcome the stifling Virginia defense.

How bad of a loss is this really, for a team that is playing without their best player, and still stayed within 9 against arguably the best team in the country? On paper it doesn't seem so bad, but it's how the Canes looked on the court that makes it much more demoralizing. Losing by 9 to Virginia is like losing by 20 to Duke. Virginia doesn't want to outgun their opponents, they want to suffocate them. Tonight, Miami was suffocated.

Right off the bat, Virginia jumped out to a 10-2 lead. Miami fought back, and with just over 9 minutes left in the half, Sam Waardenburg hit a huge three that cut the Cavaliers lead to 1. That was the closest the Canes would get for the remainder of the game. After Waardenburg's three, the Canes didn't score for over 7 minutes, as Virginia went on a 13-0 run. Against many teams, a 14 point deficit is surmountable. Against Virginia, you may as well put a tally in L column. The Canes entered the half down 11, and posted only 16 points.

After the break the Canes came out hot, going on a 10-2 run of their own to cut the lead to 3. For awhile the Canes kept the Cavaliers within reach, before an 11-2 run by Virginia opened up a 13 point lead and sealed the deal.

There is fight in this Miami team, there is no question about that, but aside from Chris Lykes and some huge minutes off the bench from Ebuka Izundu, the Canes looked lost offensively. Virginia does that to teams, but in front of a home crowd that was foaming at the mouth for an upset, it's disheartening to see a performance that looked so... flat. The Canes held Virginia to only 59 points, 9 points below their season average, but considering the Canes were never able to threaten, it's hard to judge how many more points Virginia could have scored.

De'Andre Hunter had a game-high 22, as he provided huge minutes off the bench for the Cavaliers. Kyle Guy added another 13 and Jack Salt led the team with 7 rebounds. In the loss, Ebuka Izundu had 8 points and 5 boards, while Amp Lawrence led the way with 7 boards, but went 0-7 from the floor.

What does this mean for the Canes as March Madness quickly approaches? Really not much, but a win here would have been huge. The remaining 5 games of the regular season are winnable and it all starts on Saturday when they host Syracuse, a team that is sitting squarely on the bubble. For a team that was ranked as high as 6th earlier in the season, winning the next 5 would be huge for their psyche as they head into tournament season and inch closer to getting Bruce Brown back. The loss to Boston College was beyond frustrating, and Tuesday night the Canes did not look like a team that had recovered from it.

Here's to hoping Saturday is better.
 

Comments (18)

Unfortunately Coach L runs no offense and until he does, teams that play solid team defense will beat us.

Virginia doesn't play solid defense. They are going away the best defense in the country and they play the pack-line defense this year probably the best they ever have. They lost to Virginia Tech by giving up 61 points. Their other loss against West Virginia they gave up a season high of 68. They are outstanding.

Despite that Miami was hesitant last night. They had open passes down low in the first half and refused to take them. We had 6 assists. We gave away 4 possessions by not controlling rebounds. We missed open shots badly. Lawrence and Walker combined for 2 for 15 and 0 for 7 from 3-point range. Huell has completely disappeared offensively.
 
Miami also had at least 3 three pointers go more than half of the way in and come back out. Amp and Newton both had bad bounces on what easily could have been and 1s. Basically the difference in the game. No, we didn't have an answer for the defense (no one does), but we were within striking distance with about 6 minutes left. It's not like we were down 20 the whole game.

Anyway, I don't really care about this game. Whine and complain about BC, not UVA.
 
Sorry for the long rant that follows. These past two games have been more that a bit frustrating.

I will start out by saying that I am a big Coach L fan, and I love what he has done over the past several years to energize our program. How quickly we forget the state of our program just a few years ago, and few, if any, could have done what he has.

That said, at this point in the season, I don't know how you can look at our play this year and conclude anything other than that this year has been a failure and a missed opportunity. And I am not talking about things outside of our control -- injuries to Walker and Brown, the FBI investigation and related missing on 2018 recruits, etc.

No, what I mean is strictly from a coaching standpoint. Things like player cohesion, playing smart basketball, use of personnel, etc. The last two games in particular have been a trainwreck. The inability to score ANY points in the last 6 minutes of any basketball game is inexcusable. But it's also things like Amp saving the ball under the basket to BC with less than 6 seconds in regulation (something that players first learn not to do in elementary school), and the inability of our players to talk to each other (note the two situations last night where we fumbled an uncontested rebound out of bounds).

This is a team that has talent, and we are simply not maximizing its use. Our approach to the packline defense of UVA was absolutely awful last night, particularly in the first half. The idea that we were going to play 2-man basketball is absolutely the wrong approach against a packline. (Six assists in any game is not going to cut it.) Moreover, we can complain all we want about players not making shots, and we did miss several open shots. However, a hallmark of the packline is that it causes shots to be contested, and we did very little to free up players to shoot uncontested shots for huge stretches of the first half. For example, haven't we all learned this year that DJ is not going to make contested threes? Yet, we did nothing to free him up to even have him attempt uncontested threes. Same with Walker. When last night did you see an off-ball screen to free up an open shooter?

I tend to think of UVA is similar to GT in football -- their packline defense is a bit different, and you need to modify your gameplan a bit to develop an approach that will work against it. (Think about how we prepare for the GT option attack.) However, it took our coaching staff a full half to even realize that our conventional offense wasn't going to work. It was almost as if we didn't realize that UVA would be running the same packline defense that they have operated for Bennett's entire tenure as coach! How many times do we need to watch Newton continue to dribble through a ball screen and completely miss the roll -- I don't recall him actually passing once to the screener, nor do I recall a single time when the screen actually developed into anything when Newton was the point. At least Lykes could use his speed to avoid the double -- but we need to be smarter than that!

Honestly, I found myself questioning what on earth our staff does between games. Do we actually took at opponents' tapes and develop a unique gameplan for each game? Do we look at who is peaking or slumping on our team and try to figure out better ways to incorporate those who are peaking (Sam, Chris, and Ebuka), as well as what we can do to best utilize the strengths of talented players who are slumping (Dewan, Amp (last 3 games), and Lonnie (last 2 games)).

I am perfectly fine with losing games where we are simply beat by more talent, but it drives me crazy to watch teams beat us because we simply don't give our talent the best chance to win. That has happened far too often this year.

Go Canes!
 
Sorry for the long rant that follows. These past two games have been more that a bit frustrating.

I will start out by saying that I am a big Coach L fan, and I love what he has done over the past several years to energize our program. How quickly we forget the state of our program just a few years ago, and few, if any, could have done what he has.

That said, at this point in the season, I don't know how you can look at our play this year and conclude anything other than that this year has been a failure and a missed opportunity. And I am not talking about things outside of our control -- injuries to Walker and Brown, the FBI investigation and related missing on 2018 recruits, etc.

No, what I mean is strictly from a coaching standpoint. Things like player cohesion, playing smart basketball, use of personnel, etc. The last two games in particular have been a trainwreck. The inability to score ANY points in the last 6 minutes of any basketball game is inexcusable. But it's also things like Amp saving the ball under the basket to BC with less than 6 seconds in regulation (something that players first learn not to do in elementary school), and the inability of our players to talk to each other (note the two situations last night where we fumbled an uncontested rebound out of bounds).

This is a team that has talent, and we are simply not maximizing its use. Our approach to the packline defense of UVA was absolutely awful last night, particularly in the first half. The idea that we were going to play 2-man basketball is absolutely the wrong approach against a packline. (Six assists in any game is not going to cut it.) Moreover, we can complain all we want about players not making shots, and we did miss several open shots. However, a hallmark of the packline is that it causes shots to be contested, and we did very little to free up players to shoot uncontested shots for huge stretches of the first half. For example, haven't we all learned this year that DJ is not going to make contested threes? Yet, we did nothing to free him up to even have him attempt uncontested threes. Same with Walker. When last night did you see an off-ball screen to free up an open shooter?

I tend to think of UVA is similar to GT in football -- their packline defense is a bit different, and you need to modify your gameplan a bit to develop an approach that will work against it. (Think about how we prepare for the GT option attack.) However, it took our coaching staff a full half to even realize that our conventional offense wasn't going to work. It was almost as if we didn't realize that UVA would be running the same packline defense that they have operated for Bennett's entire tenure as coach! How many times do we need to watch Newton continue to dribble through a ball screen and completely miss the roll -- I don't recall him actually passing once to the screener, nor do I recall a single time when the screen actually developed into anything when Newton was the point. At least Lykes could use his speed to avoid the double -- but we need to be smarter than that!

Honestly, I found myself questioning what on earth our staff does between games. Do we actually took at opponents' tapes and develop a unique gameplan for each game? Do we look at who is peaking or slumping on our team and try to figure out better ways to incorporate those who are peaking (Sam, Chris, and Ebuka), as well as what we can do to best utilize the strengths of talented players who are slumping (Dewan, Amp (last 3 games), and Lonnie (last 2 games)).

I am perfectly fine with losing games where we are simply beat by more talent, but it drives me crazy to watch teams beat us because we simply don't give our talent the best chance to win. That has happened far too often this year.

Go Canes!
Agree that this year is all on the coaches.. whoever has responsibility for the offense needs to find a new profession, cause they have set basketball back to the 60's when I was playing and growing up.. they have no identity. We have no shooters on this team... As I have stated on other forums, Blake has a tough decision coming down the road. If the FBI mess continues to linger and the men's team plays like this for another year, he can't have a possible 3rd year cause then he loses the whole community and he will have an empty building again..

Hoping for the best, expecting we win 3 out of the last 5, Syracuse will beat us.. cause we can't beat a zone team.. ND will play harder than this team.. if we go to the NCAA this team will be 1 and done..
 
Some how over the last few games we seem to be so unprepared and hesitant.... looks like the coaching staff is dropping the ball big time in terms of executing the fundamentals ... either that or this is just a "dumb" team ... some mind numbing, sloppy, "want tear my hair out" turnovers.
Never been a Newton basher but he is just been horrible in terms of turnovers, especially for a senior.
 
Like HLS said, you can't beat this defense playing a two man pick and roll game. You need ball movement and off the ball screens. How do we come out and for the first half not adjust our offense based on their defense? Between BC and Virginia, we went over 10 minutes without scoring. There are no excuses for that. And for everyone saying we missed shots, the reason we miss so many shots is because they are out of rythm contested shots which typically don't go in. If we moved the ball and set off the ball screens and actually got players open then more of our shots would go in.
 
Am thinking our coaches are thinking more about this FBI investigation than getting these kids ready to play. I loved what Coach L did at George Mason and most of what he’s done here, but this team has been a mess.
 
Tell us about the plays. i will concede the pick+roll which all of these guys probably learned a decade or more ago. its a good play though i used starting with 7 year old travel kids
 
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Agree that this year is all on the coaches.. whoever has responsibility for the offense needs to find a new profession, cause they have set basketball back to the 60's when I was playing and growing up.. they have no identity. We have no shooters on this team... As I have stated on other forums, Blake has a tough decision coming down the road. If the FBI mess continues to linger and the men's team plays like this for another year, he can't have a possible 3rd year cause then he loses the whole community and he will have an empty building again..

Hoping for the best, expecting we win 3 out of the last 5, Syracuse will beat us.. cause we can't beat a zone team.. ND will play harder than this team.. if we go to the NCAA this team will be 1 and done..

looks like the FBI thing is mostly done on our end but the NCAA issue is a different story
 

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6'4"
255
Miami, FL
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6'2"
295
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290
Miami, FL
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6'5"
210
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WR
6'2"
180
Miami, FL
RB
6'0"
225
Hollywood, FL
TE
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210
Frisco, TX
STR
6'3"
190
Melbourne, FL
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5'11"
200
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