No. 13 Virginia ready for fast pace of Savannah State

In what may be one of the greatest contrast of styles in modern-day college basketball history, Tuesday night’s matchup pitting Savannah State and No. 13 Virginia will feature the nation’s fastest team against the nation’s slowest team.

According to the rankings, Savannah State (3-10) plays at the fastest pace in the country while Virginia (9-1) is the slowest. The Tigers average 84.4 possessions per game while the Cavaliers average just under 61.

Despite the teams’ records, the pace of play alone should give this game appeal. Savannah State surrenders 96.6 points per game and has not won a road game (0-7). The Tigers have allowed more than 100 points eight times this season, including four in a row, all losses.

Virginia is coming off of an impressive 20-point win over Davidson in which the Cavaliers shot 50 percent and knocked down 10 3-pointers. Their offensive performance against the Wildcats may have been their best so far this season. Senior guard Devon Hall put in a career-high 20 points and is off to a tremendous start.

“I work on my shot every single day,” Hall said after Virginia’s win over Davidson. “So, any time I feel like I’ve got some space, I’m going to shoot it with confidence.”

While sophomore Kyle Guy continues to lead the Cavaliers in scoring, Hall has proven to be Virginia’s MVP through the first 10 games. Guy and Hall are the only Cavaliers averaging in double figures this season; Guy averages 17 points per game while Hall is tallying 13.3 points per game.

Savannah State averages 12 made 3-pointers per game and in its most recent loss to Baylor, didn’t attempt a two-point shot until eight minutes into the game. The Tigers shoot just 29.7 percent from beyond the arc for the season.

“We try to get the kids to understand what is a good shot,” Savannah State head coach Horace Broadnax said after his team’s loss to Baylor. “I could tell them all day long. We let them have the freedom of shooting the three, but I want to get the easiest shots we can.”

The Tigers chucked up 51 3-pointers against the Bears and are led by junior guard Dexter McClanahan, who averages 14.0 points per game.

Virginia’s calling card continues to be defense, as it allowed just 60 points to a Davidson team that entered the Saturday matchup racking up more than 85 points per game. The Cavaliers surrendered just eight 3-pointers to the Wildcats after Davidson came in making 13 per game.

Virginia leads the country in scoring defense, allowing just 53.3 points per game.

“Everyone talks about what great defenders they are in the gaps, and they are,” Davidson head coach Bob McKillop said.

“They’re extraordinary. But their ball pressure … got deflections and forced us to dribble into gaps. And the combination of those two things, I think, led to the turnovers, which were very uncharacteristic of us. I thought that was the pivotal part in the game, and that’s a tribute to Virginia’s defense.”