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FSU basketball hosts No. 2 Virginia

Get ready for some dribbling and standing around!

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not just that the Virginia Cavaliers (22-1, 11-0) have the best defense in the ACC. Or that they have the best defense in college basketball. No, this year’s UVA squad has the best defense in the 17-years that advanced data has been available, and it’s not even close. The difference between Virginia and No. 2 (Coach Calipari’s 2008-09 Memphis Tigers) is bigger than the difference from No. 2 to No. 14.

These guys get after it.

In that 17-year stretch, two ACC teams have held conference opponents below 0.9 points per possession. That would be this year’s UVA team, and the 2014-15 UVA team (against which FSU put up 41 points and 44 points in two losses).

That’s the good news for Virginia fans. Their defensive metrics are insane. They’re top five nationally in defensive 2-pt%, defensive 3-pt%, AND steals.

Good luck scoring.

Like all great defenses, the players are connected. They play an extreme gap defense known as the pack-line. They pressure you in to driving, and then double-team everything. They rebound. They contest shots.

The problem, at least as far as I see it, is that Coach Bennett hobbles his offense. Despite having five top 100 recruits on the roster (and only one freshman), and three upperclassmen starters, Coach Bennett insists on his team burning clock on just about every possession. This is the oldest strategy in the book when you’re competing against more talented teams, but he does this every game.

This could be one reason that with two 1-seeds, a 2-seed, and a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament, he’s made it past the Sweet 16 once (to an Elite-8 loss to 10-seed Syracuse).

Of course, UVA is 11-0 in a conference that features Duke (five 5*s plus Grayson Allen), Miami (three 5*s), Louisville (9 blue chip recruits not busted by the FBI), and UNC (the defending champs), so who am I to judge?

Kyle Guy, a 6-2 sophomore, is UVA’s go-to scorer, scoring 15.5 per game. He doesn’t need any space to get his shot off. And though he’s a very good 3-point shooter (41%), he doesn’t settle. He’s a scorer, and UVA runs him through a million very physical screens a game to get him free.

Senior Devon Hall is a similar player, though with better size at 6-5. He’s made 44% of his 3s, and is scoring 12.2 per game.

This isn’t a team that settles for quick 3s (or quick shots in general). They run constant action to try and score in the paint. They don’t turn it over. They don’t draw many fouls. And they’re not a good offensive rebounding team as they send everyone back on defense. The problem is that if they get any rhythm going, then it’s night night. A 10-point deficit against their defense is game over.

For FSU to win, they’re going to have to score in transition. They’re going to have to knock down 3s. And they’re going to have to hope that Kyle Guy doesn’t have one of those PJ Savoy games that just leaves you shaking your head.

The game tips at 7 PM from the Tuck and will be broadcast regionally. Virginia is a 3 point favorite.