The Virginia Cavaliers and Florida State Seminoles have combined to take the last three No. 1 seeds into the ACC Tournament, and this year is shaping up to take that streak to four. UNC-Duke gets all the press, but Virginia-FSU is quietly becoming to matchup to watch in the conference. Virginia is 11-1 in conference play, and FSU is 7-2. Virginia Tech and Louisville each have three losses, and everyone else has at least five.
There’s no secret what Virginia is going to bring. For the 5th straight year they play at the slowest pace in all of college basketball. They’re efficient on both ends of the floor, and grind teams down. In ACC play they have the No. 2 offense (behind FSU) and the No. 1 defense.
Despite what the announcers will tell you, this Hoos team is loaded with talent. Only Duke and UNC have more blue chips on their roster in the ACC. It starts up front with seniors Sam Hauser and Jay Huff. Hauser (6-8, 218) is a Marquette transfer and one of the best shooters in college basketball. He’s made nearly 300 3s in his career, and shoots 44% from deep. But he’s not limited to the three and has actually attempted more 2s this year that 3s. He gets his shot off exceptionally quick and leads UVA scoring 15.0 ppg.
Jay Huff (7-1, 240) is another tough matchup. He’s made 47% of his 3s this year, and can also play in the post. He averages 13.4 per game.
Junior Trey Murphy (6-9, 206), a Rice transfer, gives them another long body up front. And like the other two, he’s a knock down shooter. He’s made 49% of his 3s, and averages 11.5 per game.
Their backcourt is senior Kihei Clark (5-9, 160), and freshman Reece Beekman (6-3, 174) who are both steady without being good shooters.
They have the 12th rated offense nationally, primarily through great shooting (5th in eFG%) and taking care of the ball (9th in TO%). They’re a bad offensive rebounding team and rarely get to the line.
Defensively, they’re 11th nationally. They cover up their lack of size on the perimeter with their pack line defense, essentially doubling everything within 15’ of the basket. They’re a great defensive rebounding team (14th) and don’t put shooters on the line (11th).
The game tips at 7PM from the Tuck, and will be broadcast on ESPN. FSU is a 1.5-point favorite.