Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 on Saturday evening as the No. 1 seed Wahoos knocked off No. 9 Butler, 77-69, in a second round game in Raleigh.
The Bulldogs came out on fire, and by the Bulldogs, I mean Andrew Chrabascz. Butler junior big man scored 12 points in the first half and, early in the second half, had scored 23 of Butler’s first 37 points. That’s when Malcolm Brogdon was switched onto Charabascz and completely took the game over.
Virginia went small, with Brogdon essentially playing the four, and the best defender in the ACC took Chrabascz out of the game. He would score just two points in the final 16 minutes of the game as Brogdon would go on to score 14 of his team-high 22 — and of Virginia’s 54 second half — points during those final 16 minutes.
This isn’t the first time that head coach Tony Bennett has made a change like this to slow down an opponent that was on fire.
In Virginia’s win at Duke back in January, Brandon Ingram at one point made seven straight shots and scored 18 straight Duke points before Brogdon was switched onto him and slowed him down. The 6-foot-4 senior, a first-team NBCSports.com All-American, is one of the nation’s most under-appreciated players for this very reason. He can take over a basketball game on both ends of the floor, and he showed off that ability on Saturday.
As good as Brogdon was, he wasn’t the only Hoo to go off in the second half.
Virginia missed just seven shots the entire second half, hitting 12 of their first 13 shots from the floor, en route to those 54 points. They got the offensive rebound on three of those seven misses and scored on each of those three offensive rebounds.
I wonder what people who think that Virginia can’t score will say about that?
More importantly, it’s evidence that the Hoos can fill it up when they need to, because Virginia will be facing off with No. 4 Iowa State in the next round in one of the most intriguing stylistic battles of the tournament. The Cyclones want to spread the offense out and play in transition. Virginia plays that Pack-Line defense and controls tempo better than anyone in the country.
What wins out?