Virginia boasts one of the game’s most efficient defenses, limiting opponents to .87 points per possession, 5th best in D-I. It’s “Pack Line” excels at containing offenses by preventing good looks at the basket.
Then Florida came along.
The 7 seed torched the Cavs in Friday’s West Regional game, hitting 52.8 percent of their shots in a 71-45 win. They weren’t good from beyond the arc (just 4 of 23), but it didn’t matter when forward Patric Young couldn’t be contained (13 points, made all six shots) and wing Bradley Beal was effective at slicing into the defense for mid-range jumpers and layups. He finished with 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Florida (24-10) didn’t start fast, though. It trailed 10-2 after five minutes, but after two Beal buckets on three possessions gave them their first lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half. Florida never trailed again.
The Cavs (22-10) limped into the tournament, losing six of their last 10 before facing Florida. It wasn’t healthy, either. It lost a starter before the ACC tournament began, while shooting guard Joe Harris has played with a wrist injury much of the season.
Still, given how the Gators played, it’s doubtful anything was going to keep them from reaching the round of 32. They’ll play the Missouri-Norfolk State winner on Sunday.
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