In terms of Virginia basketball, the early part of this season has been a flat-out disappointment. Normally, we see Virginia teams ranked close to the top of the top-25 rankings. This season, with the loss of talent, the Cavaliers have not been ranked since the preseason rankings.
They lost the first game of the season to Navy. That loss was eventually followed by another loss to Houston. After one more loss to Iowa, Virginia came into a matchup against James Madison with a 6-3 record. The Cavaliers came into the game after winning their first ACC game against Pittsburgh. In a game that was supposed to get Virginia back on track, James Madison took it to them, beating Virginia, 52-49.
Virginia’s Horrible Shooting Proves to Be Their Downfall
With a team that no longer features Sam Houser, Jay Huff and Trey Murphy, points are becoming increasingly difficult to come by for Virginia basketball. That rang true in this game against James Madison. Kihei Clark, who is projected to be one of the best guards in the country, is struggling to find his footing. Against James Madison, he shot 4/10 from the field and 3/9 from the three-point line. He was the best shooter for the Cavaliers on the night, as the team shot a combined 19/50 from the field and 4/26 from beyond the arc.
In contrast to the rest of the team, forward Jayden Gardner shot 6/9 from the field. He scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds. Guard Armaan Franklin, who scores close to 12 points per game, only scored nine on 4/14 shooting and 0/6 from the three-point line. Outside of Clark and Gardner, no other Cavalier scored in double figures.
James Madison shot 47% from the field and 31% from the three-point line. Not playing much better than Virginia, James Madison’s Takal Molson scored a go-ahead basket with 1:10 left. The Dukes held off Virginia to win by three.
Virginia Basketball Moving Forward
Virginia has obviously struggled this year, but in terms of losing to unranked teams, this does not seem like a Tony Bennett-coached team. Their defense is always going to be there, proved by them only giving up 55 points per game (No. 5 in the country). What they excel at on defense, they lack on offense. The Cavaliers score 61 points per game (331st in the country). They are currently behind Bennett’s alma mater Green Bay, who score 61.5.
The Cavaliers have Farleigh Dickenson left on the schedule for the upcoming week. This should allow Virginia to get back on track as ACC conference play continues next week.