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Virginia damages NCAA hopes / December 09, 2013

Unranked Virginia, now 8-3 overall after Saturday’s disappointing loss at Green Bay, may be well on the way to damaging its NCAA chances in March.

Already, Virginia has suffered two costly misses at home - including losses to Wisconsin and VCU - that might prove troublesome on Selection Sunday.

The Cavaliers had some defensive issues stemming from Saturday’s loss on the road to Green Bay. Virginia allowed season-highs in points (75) and field goal percentage (51 percent) in the 75-72 loss to Green Bay.

Earlier, the Cavaliers learned something about basketball life amidst a desert sandstorm in a tough loss to Wisconsin in the ACC-Big Ten challenge.

The Cavaliers staged an excellent defensive effort against this possible Elite Eight team.

Bo Ryan’s club came into the John Paul Jones arena averaging 76.8 ppg. The Badgers, primarily known for suffocating defense, had been leading the Big Ten in shooting from beyond the arc and were second in field goal shooting overall.

Then, the Cavaliers’ Pac-line defense all but silenced a very good team. Wisconsin shot 28.8 percent from the field, 21.7 percent from three-point range, had a so-so seven-to-seven assist to turnover ratio, got five points from its bench, and had one player in double figures. And the Badgers won.

The Cavaliers were back in film study 101 Thursday after their putrid 48-38 loss to Wisconsin. Virginia connected on 11-of-47 field goals, missed ten of 11 from 3-point range, had a messy 6-10 negative assist to turnover ratio, put no one in double figures.

Virginia had a costly, lengthy stretch of ineffectual offense, following a made 3-pointer from London Perrantes with 2:27 left in the first half, all the way to the 11:17 mark of the second half, when Mike Tobey nailed a jumper with 11:17 remaining in the contest. At the time, Virginia trailed by 11.

And the Cavaliers’ bellweather, Joe Harris, had an absolutely miserable evening. Effective shadowed all night by Wisconsin’s Josh Gasser, Harris went one-for-10 overall, 0-for-4 from three-point range, and never got to the foul line. He had two rebounds, two points, four assists, one turnover and two steals in 33 minutes.

Gasser said, “He’s a great player. I was trying to do my job out there, not give him any easy looks.” Ryan said he’s been highly influenced by Bobby Knight.

Harris, asked about the learning lessons from the Wisconsin mess, said, “We’re going to learn an awful lot about how poorly we played offensively, and how out of sync and out of character we got.”

After the film session, Harris predicted, “We’re all going to be shocked how we played offensively (against Wisconsin). We had played so well up to this point, where guys were so unselfish and we moved the ball well. We focused on getting inside-out.”

Then, Harris had no answers as to why Virginia struggled to this extent against the Badgers.

Asked about Harris’ poor shooting night, Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, “He got a couple of looks. One was over the basket, which he normally doesn’t do. He said, ‘my shots are not working so I am going to try to put my head down’ - and that wasn’t working. They were waiting for him in the lane and sealing every alley to the rim. They made him shoot a lot of uncontested shots. He (Harris) was a bit out of sorts largely due to their defense, but I think he would agree that he was not where he needed to be.”


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