Men's Basketball

UVa opponent preview: UMass

UMass will enter Saturday afternoon’s game as the second straight unbeaten opponent Virginia will face. Yes, the Minutemen are 5-0, but their competition early this season has been anything but challenging. The highest ranked team UMass has faced was a Northeastern squad that currently ranks 118thin Ken Pomeroy’s coveted rankings. Averaging over 78 points per game, UMass has been decent on the offensive end of the floor but will be facing a different animal when they try to solve UVa’s top-ranked defense. Picking apart that defense will start with point guard Sean East who has been excellent this season. East is averaging 13.4 points per game and 6.8 assists per game to pace a Minuteman offense that is shooting the ball at a 50 percent clip from the floor. UMass is also connecting on 43 percent of their 3-point attempts with guard T.J. Weeks hitting 63 percent of his outside shots. Weeks is also the Minutemen’s leading scorer at 14.8 points per game as UMass currently boasts five players in double figures. Weeks and East will be key against a Virginia defense that is allowing just 41.3 points per game. 

Why UMass will win: The Minutemen are able to knock down outside shots early and often and force Virginia’s defense to collapse on the outside shooters. In doing so, UMass also gets an inside presence and is able to score more points on UVa’s defense than anyone so far this season. 

Why Virginia will win: The big three (Diakite, Key and Clark) continue their  hot play and continue to hit timely shots from the outside. Along with hitting shots, the defense continues to be solid and is able to contain the Minutemen guards. 

Score Prediction: UVa 65, UMass 50

Check out Episode 3 of The Locker Room Access podcast as we Scout UMass, talk to future Wahoos Jabri Abdul-Rahim and Carson McCorkle and we catch up with Justin Anderson

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