Beating the Virginia Pack line defense is not somthing that many teams have been able to do it this year, but that’s exactly what Virginia Tech did on Saturday.
The Hokies went into Charlottesville and beat the #2 Cavaliers 61-60, snapping Virginia’s 16-game home winning streak and ruining their bid to go undefeated in ACC play. The loss was only the 2nd loss on the year for Virginia, whose only other loss came to West Virginia in early December.
Beating the vaunted Virginia Pack Line Defense is much easier said than done. The Virginia defense is ranked:
#1 Points per game Allowed (52.8)
#1 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency (82.8)
#1 Raw Defensive Efficiency (86.1)
#1 Opponents Free Throws Attempts
#3 Defensive Field Goal % (37.7%)
#4 Effective Defensive Field Goal Percentage (43.6%)
#5 3pt Defensive Field Goal % (29.7%)
Virginia has held 11 of their 25 opponents this year under 50 points, and 20 of their 25 opponents to 60 points or less. The highest total scored against the Cavalier’s defense goes to West Virginia, who scored 68 in one of Virginia’s 2 losses.
So how did Virginia Tech upset the favored Cavaliers?
They got off to a hot start. They had about as good a half as anyone has had against the vaunted Virginia defense. They held a 33-26 lead at the half behind 12 for 21 shooting, including 8 made 3 point shots- and at one point scored 17 straight points.
They guarded. Virginia Tech had one of their best defensive games of the year. Specifically, they held the Virginia guards in check. Virginia’s starting guards were just a combined 14-47 from the field and 9-34 from 3. It was the Hokies’ best defensive field goal percentage allowed against an ACC opponent and the worst shooting night of the season of Virginia.
They took advantage of late game miscues by Virginia. Missed free throws and giving Virginia Tech second chance opportunities cost Virginia late in the game.
This was game in which the areas of strength and consistency for Virginia lost them the game. At times, they struggled defensively, they gave up second chances, and a normally well-balanced offense took a high number of perimeter jumpers.