For the second time this season, Virginia jumped out to a big first half lead en route to a not-as-close-as-it-seems win over Florida State.
On Saturday afternoon, the Cavaliers took a 45-26 lead into halftime, knocking off the Seminoles 78-66 to move to 4-1 in the ACC. The win came just two weeks after the ‘Hoos went into Tallahassee and knocked off FSU 62-50 in a game where Joe Harris played all of two minutes after suffering what appeared to be a concussion.
Virginia all-but solidified themselves as a top four team in the ACC this season. They had some struggles early on, but since their embarrassing, 35-point loss at Tennessee on Dec. 30th, they have won four out of five games in 2014. All four wins came in dominating fashion, and their only loss was a 69-65 setback at Duke.
There is a reason that Tony Bennett’s club was picked to be a borderline top 25 team in the preseason, and it’s starting to show. The biggest reason why? Joe Harris is starting to play like the Joe Harris we saw last season, the guy that led Virginia in scoring and was an all-ACC player. In the last four games, Harris is averaging 15.0 points while shooting 52.8% from the floor and 57.9% from three.
With North Carolina struggling and Duke scuffling to start league play, the top of the ACC is wide-open. Syracuse is the favorite, clearly, and Pitt isn’t far behind them. But if Harris continues to play this way, and Virginia keeps beating up on the rest of the conference, this is a team to keep an eye on down the stretch of the season.