Virginia basketball returns to ACC play on Wednesday night when the Cavaliers host Clemson.
Here’s everything you need to know before the announcement:
The game: Clemson (8-4, 0-1 ACC, # 333 KenPom) at UVa (7-4, 1-0 ACC)
When: Wednesday December 22 at 7:00 p.m.
TV: ACC network
Flux: The game is also available to ACC network subscribers through the ESPN app and ESPN.com.
Last match : UVa defeated Clemson 85-50 at Littlejohn on Jan.16, 2021
Listen : The contest can be heard on Virginia Sports Radio Networks in the Commonwealth and live on VirginiaSports.com
- A list of stations can be found here
Two key matches:
– Kadin Shedrick vs. PJ Hall- Just like, in my opinion Armaan franklin is the x factor for offensive UVa, Kadin Shedrick is the same on the defensive end of the ball. He has always been the elite on that side of the ball for UVa this season, with the caveat that his minutes have been limited at times, especially in the first half of games as he has faced some issues. fault. For a team that is still working on issues with the Pack Line defense, it can clear up a lot of mistakes with its rim protector. Plus, for a team struggling to give up offensive rebounds, his presence helps in this area as well. Hall is Clemson’s top scorer, averaging nearly 15 points per game and over six rebounds. He’s one of the most improved players in the conference, averaging less than four points per game in his freshman last season. A more traditional tall man, much of his work is done inside the arch, although he also has reach beyond the three-point range. His free throw shot is a strength (almost 78%), so Shedrick and UVa will do well not to give him too many opportunities to show that strength. One thing to watch out for will be UVa’s post-post brace, and Hall is averaging nearly 1.5 turnovers per game.
– Armaan franklin vs. David Collins- Saturday’s win over FDU was a bit of a microcosm of Franklin’s season – battling three but shooting well inside the arc. He broke his long streak of misses from a distance, but still only shot 1-3. He was, however, 4-5 from inside the arc and scored 12 points in just 21 minutes. Put simply, if UVa is to have the season he wants, he has to find his shot which he showed at IU last season (and / or UVa is going to have to give Milicic and Murray more minutes). His play inside the arc offensively, however, impressed me and he can be a go-to guy when UVa sometimes needs to bask in his ability to get into the lane and shoot with a dribble. Collins is using his COVID year at Clemson after four seasons at USF, so he’s got plenty of experience. Considering UVa’s struggles defending all three, he could be a very important player as he shoots over 47% from deep, despite making less than one per game. Another area where UVa struggles is defensive rebounding, and from the guard post he averages almost seven rebounds per game, so UVa will need to make sure he doesn’t get free possessions from Clemson with offensive rebounds.
Four players who could impact the game:
– Jayden Gardner – Gardner showed exactly what UVa fans expect from him against FDU, a dominating indoor scorecard. The question will be, as the ACC game starts, how it is able to cope with bigger and more athletic ACC teams. Considering his stats against ranked teams at the ECU, I have no doubt that he can still produce. And given UVa’s difficulty in shooting the ball, they’ll need him. When UVa needed a bucket, I would always go to him and let him go to work in the paint. Clemson’s length, however, could cause him some issues and it will be interesting to see how that affects him in the future.
– Igor Milicic / Taine Murray- I combine these two because they go hand in hand in the minds of many UVa fans. The question remains for these fans: why aren’t these two playing more? While they can have a hard time on the defensive end at times, some of the guys who play ahead of them in the rotation don’t play better on the defensive end of the ball and give much less UVa offensively. It will be interesting to see if Tony bennett let these two play through some growing pains defensively. In my opinion, it’s worth it not only in the long run, but also in the short run as it not only gives UVa more shots but unclogs the lane for guys like Franklin and Shedrick to score on the inside.
– Al-Amir Dawes- Finally, we come to someone who has played UVa before. It’ll be interesting to watch, and guys playing the Pack Line for the first time can often struggle and Clemson (like a lot of teams across the country) has some new pieces. Dawes is another shooter UVa needs to watch out for, as he shoots 43.5% on almost six attempts per game. Put simply, Dawes is someone who can pull UVa out of the gym. UVa shut him down (and the whole Clemson squad to be honest) last season, holding him scoreless in 20 minutes. If UVa is able to do something close they’ll be in good shape, but for a team struggling to defend all three, Dawes isn’t the type of player you want to see on the other side (shoots well , pulls a plot)
– Hunter Tyson- Tyson is another guy who can injure UVa in a number of ways – indoors, outdoors, or on glass. At 6’8, he’s shooting almost 38% on three and averaging more than one offensive rebound per game. These are UVa’s two Bugaboos defensively (I feel like a record broken), but because of that Tyson could be an x ââfactor in this one.
Seven important statistics:
– UVa is ranked 48th in defensive efficiency *
– Clemson is 28th in offensive efficiency *
– Clemson is # 5 in shooting on all three *
– UVa is # 159 in defense of the three *
– Clemson is # 132 in two-point shooting *
– UVa is No. 16 in two-point defense *
– UVa is # 15 at block percentage *
*Statistics via KenPom.com
Like many games we’ll see in the ACC this season, this is a clash between two roughly even teams that could go either way. Much will depend on what UVa is able to force to do. If they make Clemson look good on three, Clemson will like their chances. However, if UVa forces Clemson to do more work inside the arc, it plays for UVa’s hands. I trust Tony bennett teams keep improving as the season progresses, especially a team with so many new pieces. Speaking of new pieces, the rotation will continue to be interesting to watch – will Murray and Milicic have more time than established players with lower ceilings but higher floors possible? I made my opinion known, because I think they are positive both now and in the future, but Tony bennett has seemed to trust Stattmann and Poindexter more so far. This game should go all the way, but I will choose UVa since the game is in Charlottesville. UVa gets enough points from his veterans and some three points to keep the defense honest, and wins a close one to go 2-0 in the ACC game.