Virginia's men's basketball team, a decade ago under coach Tony Bennett, has suffered a methodical offense, playing at the slowest pace in the past five seasons. But despite this style, the team always managed to score.
Last season it scored 116 points for 100 possessions, the fourth best in the country. This scoring and traditionally stifling defense of the team led him to the national championship in April, a year after an embarrassing departure from the N.C.A.A. tournament as the first top seed to lose to a # 16 seed in the first round.
Now Virginia is again playing at the slower pace of Division I. But its attack is gone. The team's points per 100 possessions fell to an appalling 88.9, ranked 327th in the country.
It seems impossible to win with an offense that is inefficient. Last season, none of the 64 teams with an average of 99 points or less made it to N.C.A.A. tournament, and the teams around the 88.9 mark scored 5-27 and 3-29.
But so far, Virginia has largely managed to hide its offensive shortcomings. His defense, fabulous as always – kept Maine on 26 points – led the team to start 7-0 and a rating No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 Survey.
So Purdue, who lost to Virginia in last season's regional final, arrived in the city on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers exposed Virginia with a route 69-40. For the first time since the national title last spring, Cavaliers fans may have begun to realize that it was a new and perhaps significantly inferior team.
Virginia is 40.2%, ranking 307th in the country. But your 3 point percentage is the real killer: 23.8%. The country ranks 349th out of 353 teams, just ahead of companies like Florida A&M and Kennesaw State. In Purdue's revealing loss, the team went 4 out of 24 on 3 points.
Among the underperformers on the other side of the arch are two freshmen, Casey Morsell (4-36) and Thomas Woldetensae (3-21), and a sophomore, Kody Stattman (1-14).
Senior swingman Braxton Key, averaging 10 points per game, lost Purdue's match with a wrist injury but is playing 23.5% in not much better 3s.
Make a decline in assists (in 46% of buckets this season, down from 56%) and more turnovers (18 per 100 plays, against 13) and you'll have a team whose record of 7-1 seems extremely unstable.
It didn't help that the team lost three players to NB.A. draft, including De & # 39; Andre Hunter, who was number 4 overall. All three players fired significantly better from the outside. Refueling was not easy. Despite the national title, Virginia did not get any of 50 best recruits sorted by 247 Sports.
Virginia is also struggling in an often overlooked category: getting to the free throw line. Last season, the team was not especially good at it, but this year is absolutely horrible, reaching the line only 0.14 times for each goal attempt. This is the 15th worst rate in the country.
When it reaches the line, Virginia shoots 69.1%, ranked 197th. Last year, they soared 74.4% to 52nd place.
Virginia has its biggest home game of the year this Sunday at home against North Carolina. Optimists would say that Virginia cannot be cold forever, that its external shots should begin to fall. This Sunday would be a good time to start this.