Q&A with Streaking the Lawn

Clemson takes on UVA in Charlottesville Wednesday night @ 9PM on ESPNU.  Being a Virginia man and having family that attended UVA, I try to keep tabs on the Cavaliers.  But in order to get in depth analysis, I turned to our friends at Streaking the Lawn.

STS: I think I have to start by asking about the Wake Forest game.  Wake was looking like one of the worst teams in ACC history.  How did UVA lose to them?
Really? We had to open this conversation with this? Alright, fine. So many things went wrong for us this weekend. Glaringly, Virginia shot only 50% from the free throw line. The charity stripe. Compare this with Wake's 90% shooting at the line. Points-wise, Wake earned 19 points off free throws as compared to Virginia's seven. Seven. Couple this with defensive breakdowns and a pack-line defense that wasn't packing much of any line, and you have what you see. By all accounts -- paper, talent, or what have you -- Virginia should have won this game. We didn't. This loss is worse than the Seattle one, in my eyes.

STS: I thought Tony Bennett was a very solid hire when UVA pulled him away from Washington State.  He is now in his second year.  How would you grade his performance so far and where do you see him taking UVA over the next year or two?
I think the overwhelming majority of fans would agree with you, despite what we just talked about regarding Wake. I give Bennett a B+. I think Bennett has done a very good job preparing this team against our opponents, and has shown us that, in the ACC, it really is "any team, any night." He's also done a great job getting folks excited for games, despite...questionable performance and a talent level that I think i just a little sub-par compared to the rest of the conference. He's also done a great job recruiting from both coasts. I think what is keeping Bennett from reaching an A-level status is that I haven't seen him make crucial half-time adjustments in games, which oftentimes leads to a second-half breakdown. I would also like to be a more physical team, but it's hard to tell whether the absence of that is a product of coaching or just available personnel. 

STS: UVA seems to be missing Mike Scott's low post presence.  Any word on on whether he will be allowed to take a medical redshirt?  If not, when should that decision be made by the NCAA?
Honestly, I'm not entirely convinced Scott's presence is missed. There hasn't been any real noticeable drop in performance (he was, after all, a part of the losing effort against Seattle). Other fellas -- most noticeably Assane Sene -- have stepped it up in the meantime. Schools can't apply for a medical hardship waiver until the end of the season, so we'll know more then. My understanding, though, is that the NCAA generally grants a medical redshirt so long as the conditions are satisfied (that it's a medical injury and that the player did not play over the allotted number of games, which he hasn't).
 
STS: What is going on with the UVA offense?  Who needs to step up in order to keep them from having anymore 42 point outings?
I wish I knew. The general trend has been, when Mustapha Farrakhan is on his game, Virginia tends to win. When his shots aren't dropping, though, the rest of the team tends to struggle. I'd like to see Joe Harris get -- and keep -- his confidence. The guy has quite the stroke, and if he would just pull the trigger when he has the shot, the Virginia offense would be functional, at the very least. Finally, Bub Evans at the point needs to work on his game as well. He's a true point guard rather than a shooting guard, but he nonetheless, it's rare that he creates his own shot, and at what seems to be 5'7", it's not likely that he'll be able to make contested shots often. 

STS: Clemson, like most teams, struggles on the road in conference play.  Where should Clemson look to exploit UVA in order to escape Charlottesville with a victory? 
How is your three-point shooting? With the second worst 3P defense in the ACC, Virginia is going to lose to any opponent who can put a couple of shooters on the floor. Part of this is by design, with the pack-line defense, but another part is just that our guys can be a little sluggish on defense, and can forget to return to where a player needs to be after helping out another guy. Also, Sene is not particularly productive at setting high screens, so if you can draw him out on every defensive possession, Clemson stands a good chance.

STS: Alright, lets get to it.  How does this game play out?  Who wins?

The only way Virginia wins this is if Clemson is still riding a high on FSU and has written us off. Virginia wants this win - badly. As much as I want to play the homer card, I think I'm going have to predict a final score of Clemson 64, Virginia 54.

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