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Five Good Minutes: Virginia Basketball Preview With From Old Virginia

To get the scoop on tomorrow afternoon's ACC matchup between Boston College and Virginia, we welcome back Brendan from the excellent UVa blog From Old Virginia. In exchange, we answered some questions on the Eagles over on their site. Be sure to check em out. 


BC Interruption: Boston College is squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble and Virginia is, well, not. But since we last met, Virginia is 4-5 in conference play while BC is just 2-6. How has Virginia been successful against ACC teams named Tech and Clemson?

From Old Virginia: Most teams are pretty successful against Georgia Tech, but I think UVA happens to match up very well against our country cousins in Blacksburg. VT is a small team - one of the few where UVA actually has a legit size advantage. And VT is not, in my opinion, a disciplined team. They don't have patience to find a good shot and they're not too good at sticking with a defensive responsibility. They'd prefer to playground up the game and out-athlete you. Tony Bennett has the perfect demeanor to beat that style. Our offense isn't good enough to score consistently if you're playing good defense, but it's got the shooters to hurt you if you get undisciplined. Tech wants to play fast, we want to play real slow, and we've done the better job of imposing our style.

As for Clemson, I think it's just a matter of them getting used to a very different style - they're learning to slow the game down under a new coach and not run a transition game at all times - and when they face a team that plays that style they're learning, and does it better than they do, they struggle. We uglied up that game something fierce and they looked uncomfortable.


BCI: Virginia has won 10 of its 14 wins at home in the friendly confines of JPJ Arena. BC is just 2-6 in true road games. Have the Cavs historically played well at home? What, if anything, about JPJ Arena gives UVa a decided home court advantage?

FOV: This business of overachieving at home and underachieving on the road has been a UVA copyright ever since I started school there. Nothing new. JPJA is tough to fill because it's huge and we're a significant drive from most of our fanbase, but when we do fill it, it's loud. 


BCI: Earlier this month, North Carolina beat BC 48-46 and Virginia beat Clemson 49-47. Which game was more offensive to the gentle sensibilities of the late Dr. James Naismith?

FOV: Gonna go with the homer pick and say the UVA-Clemson game. The UNC-BC game didn't have that free-throw spike in points at the end; without the flurry of UVA free throws and Clemson's super-quick buckets in the final minute, that game wouldn't have reached 85 points let alone 90. And the UNC-BC game was just a steady flow of ugly ball; the UVA-Clemson score was the result of a miserable, pathetic second half by UVA and an even worse first half by Clemson. How many games do you see a team score 13 points in a half? Dr. Naismith didn't content himself by rolling over in his grave, he got up and took his revenge on UVA by aiding and abetting the basketball gods in their intervention in UVA's game (and semi-epic collapse) against Miami a couple days later. (Losing 49-47 to UVA was punishment enough for Clemson.)


BCI: Mustapha Farrakhan leads all Cavs scorers, averaging 13.3 points per game. How can opposing defenses slow Farrakhan down?

FOV: Farrakhan is equally good at shooting the three or going to the rim, but he won't blow you out of the building with either. He turns it over a little too frequently; the best way to deal with him is to take his teammates out of the equation. If they're not able to help him out, he'll still get points but he's not the kind of all-everything talent that'll burn you each and every time. Don't foul him, he's the team's best free-throw shooter, and don't give him options. Eventually he'll dribble into trouble he can't get out of.


BCI: Last one. Prediction time. Who ya got in this one? What's the final score?

FOV: This was a close one last time. Forget Reggie Jackson; UVA never seems to have an answer for Joe Trapani and that was obvious in January. But, our defense has improved quite a bit since then after an ugly swing through the early part of the ACC schedule, and the team has the right mentality. I think UVA comes through with a third straight win, 67-62.

BCI: Thanks for joining us, Brendan.


For more info on the Virginia Cavaliers, be sure to check out From Old Virginia.