No. 4 Virginia came into this week as one of the hottest teams in the country, with wins in 11 straight games including seven straight against teams in the top 105 of KenPom.
It leaves it the losers of two straight road games against unranked opponents, something that hasn’t happened under coach Tony Bennett since Jan. 12, 2013.
The Cavaliers dropped their game to host Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon 68-64. And strangely, given how terrific the team’s offense had been since London Perrantes returned from injury, it was the shooting that let them down in this one. The Wahoos only shot 40 percent and went 4-for-18 from behind the 3-point line. Given that they came into this one as the fourth-most efficient offense in the country according to KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating, this is a surprise that they’ll undoubtedly be disappointed with.
The Yellow Jackets deserve a lot of credit in this one though. In a lot of ways, they simply ground the Cavaliers down in a way that very few teams have been able to do in the Bennett era. They outrebounded Virginia in a big way, limited turnovers, and got timely shots late when the Cavaliers pulled it to a tie at 49 with five minutes left. They went on an 11-0 run, including a pair of 3-pointers from Quinton Stephens and one from Adam Smith, each of whom led the way with 16 points.
The importance of this win can’t be understated for the Yellow Jackets. After starting the conference season with a pair of road losses to North Carolina and Pittsburgh, they needed a win to right the ship at get to 11-5 on the year and 1-2 in the ACC. Also, it’s an incredibly important win for Brian Gregory, who undoubtedly came into the season in a bit of a precarious position. He still needs a few more wins like it to steady his place, but this is certainly a start.
As far as the Cavaliers (12-3, 1-2) are concerned, it’s tough to say why one of the most consistent teams in the country over the last three seasons had a week like this. It’s an experienced-laden group that typically has been one of the surest bets to perform well.
Simply put, the takeaway here is that parity is king in college hoops this season. Nobody is safe when they go on the road.