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Why Virginia basketball is better than last year’s NIT team even though its roster is similar

When Virginia was ranked 18th in the preseason AP Top 25, it was mostly thanks to the Cavaliers nearly 95% of their scoring from the past season.

But was all that returning experience a good thing? After all, last year, Virginia missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, had major struggles scoring and — unlike most of Tony Bennett teams of the past — defending. But early returns this season say the age-old mantra of coaches wanting their teams to “get old and stay old” still applies. The Cavaliers beat then-No. 5 Baylor and then-No. 19 Illinois en route to winning the Continental Tire Main Event in Las Vegas, are No. 5 in the latest AP Poll and very much look the part of a top team. Here are three reasons why.

After losing its top four 3-point shooters from 2020-21, Virginia needed to replenish its outside shooting and called on Armaan Franklin. The Indiana transfer shot 42.4% from deep in his final season as a Hoosier. But Franklin plummeted to 29.6 percent in 2021-22, second-worst of any ACC player taking at least five 3-pointers per game, and the Cavaliers shot just 32.3% on 3-pointers, 257th in Division I, .

There was hope, though. While all eyes were on the NCAA Tournament, Franklin connected on 12 of 23 threes in the NIT after Bennett spotted “a little tiny mechanical thing” in his shot that needed adjusting. That “little tiny” change made a big difference then, and it’s making a big difference now. Franklin is 10 for 22 so far this young season, and his shooting has been contagious. Entering Tuesday, Virginia ranked fourth in Division I at 46.9 percent from deep.

The sample size is obviously very, very small. Will Virginia continue to shoot nearly 47% from behind the arc? Probably not, considering no D-I team has shot that well in the past three decades. Again, these are extremely small sample sizes. But last season, Virginia had zero reliable 3-point…


Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/why-virginia-basketball-is-better-than-last-years-nit-team-even-though-its-roster-is-similar/

Author : Zachary Pereles

Publish date : 2022-11-23 17:40:40

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2022-11-23

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