Virginia Hopes Nation's Top Defense Will Once Again Carry Them


For a team that ranked third to last in the NCAA in scoring a year ago, Virginia enters the 2020-2021 campaign with the substantial challenge of replacing 40-percent of their points from last season. 

The departures of big man Mamadi Diakite (13.3 pts) and wing Braxton Key (9.9 pts) will make offense even harder to come by in Charlottesville and put an even greater strain on the defense to remain the best in the country as it was in 2019-2020.

Watch UVA at the 2020 Bubbleville LIVE on FloHoops!

But of course, defensive dominance has been the hallmark of the Tony Bennett era at UVA, and the Cavaliers’ No. 4 preseason ranking reflects the overwhelming expectation that this team will continue to hound opponents into submission. Surrendering only 52.4 points/game-- the best in the country by over a point-- can cover up a lot of shortcomings.

To be sure, Virginia will miss Diakite-- a prolific shot blocker and elite perimeter defender-- just as much for preventing points as scoring them, but a program that has consistently ranked at the top of college basketball defensively for over a decade isn’t reliant on specific personnel to remain elite.

The Hoos, led by junior guard Kihei Clark and senior transfer Sam Hauser, open their season on Nov. 25 against Maine (2:00 PM on FloHoops), a team that knows all too well how suffocating Bennett’s group can be. The Black Bears managed just 26 points on 18-percent shooting a year ago, the lowest point total Virginia allowed all season.

The 5’9 Clark runs the UVA offense and brings invaluable experience as a crucial piece from the team’s title run two years ago. His 5.9 assists/game ranked 24th in the country, and coming off a career-high average of 10.8 points per contest the junior will be a double-double threat every night. Clark is a pass-first point, but he also knocked down 38-percent of his threes last season.

Speaking of threes, Virginia should find plenty of space in the paint by stretching the floor with Marquette transfer Sam Hauser. The 6’8 Hauser and his 40-percent three-point shooting will be a welcome addition for Coach Bennett’s offense if he can replicate the 88 treys he recorded in 2018-2019 for the Golden Eagles. Hauser cleans the glass well, too, to the tune of 7.2 per game that same season.

Highlighted by wing Jabri Abdur-Rahim and guard Reece Beekman, Virginia also brings in two freshmen who could contribute right away. Abdur-Rahim, a 6’7 slasher who can score from 15 feet in, is the son of former All-Star and 13-year NBA veteran Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

As usual, Virginia isn’t going to wow you with future lottery picks like some of their ACC counterparts, but their experienced roster and ability to play consistently stout defense gives them an edge despite a talent deficit relative to the likes of Duke and North Carolina. 

Former William & Mary Star Nathan Knight Carves Out A Role In The NBA

Nathan Knight, W&M

The question stumped Nathan Knight: With the Atlanta Hawks among the NBA teams not sending a team to the G-League bubble, how and where would he be honing his craft right now if he hadn’t made the Hawks out of training camp?

One Stat To Explain Each Big East Team


With all the postponements, cancelations, and programs on pause, it's difficult to say exactly where we are in the Big East season. Some programs have played a robust schedule, others are just getting started. But it's not too early to dig into the stats and try to make sense of where each team sits in the standings.

The Weekend That Was: Northeastern Tops Hofstra Twice & Charleston Magic


It didn’t take long for Northeastern to get the green light for the sequel to its adventure in time travel.

Big East Women's Notes: Can St. John's Close The Gap?


The women's basketball season continues to be hampered by postponements. Last week, UConn's showdown with Baylor was called off after Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19. 

March 10, 2020: The Pandemic, The CAA Championship & Hofstra-Northeastern


As the sun rose over Washington, D.C. on March 10, 2020, the only certainty about the outcome of the night’s biggest basketball game in town was the reverberations of the Hofstra-Northeastern clash would still be felt whenever the two teams played next. 

Difficult Non-Conference Slate Helps Northeastern To Hot CAA Start


Hard knocks before Colonial Athletic Association play have Northeastern setting the pace early in conference competition. 

The 4 Biggest Surprises In The Big East


UConn’s dominance was expected, as was the individual brilliance of Villanova’s Maddy Siegrist. But the first month of Big East women's basketball has had some surprises. Here are four of the biggest:

The Ultimate Measuring Stick: UConn Forges Ahead In The Big East

UConn women's

Being the new kid in the neighborhood can be intimidating — not so for Connecticut in its return to the Big East. 

Big East Women's Notes: DePaul Rebounds From UConn Loss


When UConn inhabits your conference, there's nothing wrong with leading the chase pack.

The Weekend That Was: Northeastern, Hofstra Earn Sweeps In CAA Play


Hofstra’s imperfect sweep of the opening weekend of CAA play left acting head coach Mike Farrelly relying upon one of the most famous quotes in NFL history — words uttered just a few hundred feet from where he sat Sunday afternoon.