Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia’s style: Bad for college basketball?

The Virginia Cavaliers have only one loss. They have won 26 out of 27 games. They are the second best team in all of college basketball behind only the undefeated Kentucky. So why are people saying that Virginia is boring and even potentially bad for college basketball?

According to the 2015 Pomeroy College Basketball Rankings, Virginia has the third lowest tempo rating with only American and Denver behind them. That being said, they also have the best defensive efficiency being a whole point better than Kentucky. So yes Virginia may be boring to watch but at the end of the day, isn’t the point of playing the game to win? So what if it isn’t entertaining.

Virginia's Darion Atkins drives against Louisville (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Virginia’s Darion Atkins drives against Louisville (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Nate Scott from For The Win has very strong feelings towards the Virginia’s style of play, “The team is also one of the most boring things ever. I’m not just talking boring for college basketball. I’m not just talking boring for sports. I’m talking boring, period. Virginia basketball is the guy at your dinner party who won’t shut up about his jet ski. It is the first hour of The Desolation of Smaug. It is the small talk at the hotel’s continental breakfast before an accounting conference. UVA basketball is paint-drying, grass-growing, sixth-period-algebra boring.”

Do they run the floor and have high-flying dunks? No. Do they have star players that make game changing plays? No. Do they win? Yes.

The NCAA is looking to entertain its fans. A team that uses Virginia’s defensive minded, win at all costs style, spits in the face of that strategy and it doesn’t necessarily attract the television coverage because, well, people don’t want to watch it.

“You can’t control what people think,” Cavaliers Coach Tony Bennett said Wednesday “The opinions of others do not matter. We’re trying to play as good as we can. I’ve talked about this before; that’s the beauty of college basketball — there’s different styles. There’s not a cookie-cutter style. This is not the NBA. We don’t have the NBA talent and you win different ways. That’s one man’s opinion, maybe it’s a lot of people’s opinion, but we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing to the best of our abilities and try and be successful. That’s what matters. I can’t get too wrapped up in that.”

This almost completely eliminates the possibility of a close game. In four of their 27 games, Virginia’s margin of victory has been larger than the total amount of points scored by the opposing team. Just let that sink in for a second. Four times! That is incredibly impressive.

Kentucky plays with a similar style with focus on defense but it isn’t as dramatic as Virginia. With the brackets coming out in about a month, more and more talk comes to light as these two teams will likely be 1 seeds. Kentucky isn’t facing as much criticism because they are undefeated and are creating headlines in the history they are making.

Virginia takes on interstate rival Virginia Tech on Saturday at 4 p.m. You would assume that a game between the number two team in the nation and its rival would be televised. You would be wrong. The game will be showing on online on ESPN3. But hey, if you don’t like what you see, turn on the TV. It’s college basketball, there is always an upset going on somewhere else.

AP Photo/Ryan M. Kelly

Kevin Bridge

Owner at The Backfield Press
I am an undergraduate student at the University of Tennessee majoring in journalism and electronic media. I am the founder of The Backfield Press.