10 things to know about Virginia, Florida's next opponent in Big Dance

Landon Watnick, Beat Writer
Inside the Gators
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After defeating 13th-seeded East Tennessee State 80-65, No. 4 seed Florida (25-8, 14-4 SEC) will square off against No. 5 seed Virginia (23-10, 11-7 ACC) for a spot in the Sweet 16 on Saturday night at 8:40 p.m. ET in the Amway Center in Orlando in a matchup that'll air on TNT. Before the Gators and Cavaliers battle, here are 10 things to know about Virginia.

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1. After advancing to the Elite Eight and reaching the ACC tournament championship game last year with a 13-5 ACC record, Virginia lost two more games in conference play during the regular season and then fell to Notre Dame in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. This season, Tony Bennett's group lost three of its top scorers from last year's roster to graduation: Malcolm Brogdon, Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey.

2. Florida (8th) and Virginia (9th) are both currently in the top 10 of the KenPom.com power rankings. That's currently the lone top-10 matchup set for the round of 32 - Kentucky (4th) and Wichita State (6th) could play this weekend. While the Cavaliers are just 22nd in RPI, they are fourth in strength of schedule. Since a four-game losing streak, Virginia has won five of its past six contests.

3. Virginia, which notably runs a pack line defense, is second nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom.com. (To compare, Florida is fourth.) Bennett's team is 22nd in opposing effective field-goal percentage (45.9%), 28th in three-point defense (31.5%) and 27th in two-point defense (44.9%). The Cavs are 15th in the country in possession with a block (14%). "They're extremely physical," Florida head coach Mike White said. "They're extremely sound and disciplined. They're a strong team. They're a quick-footed team. They move great laterally. They've got good length. They block shots at the rim. There's not a deficiency defensively."

4. The Cavaliers are good at forcing turnovers, ranking 42nd nationally in opponents' percentage of possessions with a turnover (20.8%). On the flip side, Virginia is very disciplined on offense, committed a turnover on just 15.5% of possessions (16th nationally). "We're a team that has had success in transition offense in space, in the open floor, off of turnovers," White said. "They don't turn the ball over. And we're a team that struggled at times in the half-court, and we're going to have to score in the half-court."

5. Virginia operates at one of the slowest tempos in the country. The Cavaliers' average possession length on offense is 21.3 seconds, 351st in the nation. On defense, opposing teams are averaging 18.2 seconds per possession (328th nationally). Virginia's adjusted tempo is also 351st nationally.

6. The Cavaliers' go-to player is senior guard London Perrantes, who is averaging team-highs in points (12.9) and assists (3.8) per game to go along with 3.1 rebounds per contest. Perrantes leads Virginia in minutes per game played (32.2) and has appeared in all of his team's 33 games this season. He scored a team-high 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting against UNC Wilmington on Thursday. "Staying in front of him is very difficult," White said. "I think he's as good as they got at getting to the foul line as well. He's going to take and make big shots. It's a big challenge for us from the tip, of course, is being locked in on an all-ACC guy, a guy who's really versatile, a guy who can play the one or play them off the ball, run him off screens, comes off ball screens, hits big shots for them."

7. A bench player on Virginia to keep an eye on is junior guard Marial Shayok, who erupted for a season-high 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting (3-of-5 from downtown) against UNCW in 30 minutes on the court. Shayok is Virginia's second-best scorer on the roster.

8. Junior forward Isaiah Wilkins (strep throat) is doubtful for Saturday's contest, according to Bennett. Wilkins leads the team in rebounding (6.0 RPG), steals (1.0 SPG) and blocks (1.3 BPG) and is arguably Virginia's best defensive player. "He has been the heart and soul of our defense," Bennett said. "Didn't do anything today. He's been such a key. He played when he had strep throat or was kind of going through that, helped us get a win at NC State. Helped us, turned around and played a huge role in the win against North Carolina and battled. Yeah, he just - I mentioned last time he was up here, this virus is hanging on. He's lost some weight and just can't - he pushed for about four or five minutes, and that was it. He pretty much didn't have anything left and was having some trouble. He's doubtful for the game. I'm not expecting him to play, but you never know."

9. The Cavaliers are an efficient team from behind the arc, shooting 39.4% from three-point range, which is 18th nationally. However, Virginia has taken just 587 three-point attempts this season (17.8 attempts per game), which is tied for 274th nationally.

10. Virginia's roster is relatively young compared to the rest of Division I basketball. The Cavaliers' average is 1.57 years of college experience, which is 231st nationally. (The national average is 1.7, and Florida's is 2.01.) Virginia's bench is involved often, making up for 37.6% of minutes played, which is 51st in the country.

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