Virginia owns the reputation as one of the slowest paced teams in men’s college basketball. It’s part of the reason why the Cavaliers allowed under 60 points per game last season.
But in 2017-18, Virginia isn’t always going to hold the ball until there are five seconds left on the shot clock. When the time is right, they plan to push the pace.
“I think that’s a strength of Mamadi (Diakite) and Jay Huff in particular,” said assistant coach Jason Williford according to 247Sports. “Isaiah (Wilkins) will do it from time to time, but those guys — We’ve got to be able to get some easy buckets and get out and get in transition a little more.
“And that’s something we’ve emphasized. Guards rebounding, we want to push.”
Williford made it clear that this new emphasis doesn’t mean Virginia is going to stop running its half-court offense. But the Cavaliers hope adding a transition element to their offense will give the team another formula for victories.
Virginia has averaged 28 victories per season over the last four years, but they have failed to reach the Final Four. In fact, the Cavaliers only advanced to the Elite Eight once during that stretch.
For all the success Cavaliers basketball has experienced under Bennett, adding another wrinkle to the team, especially if that’s a particular strength of the current players, could only help Virginia finally get to the Final Four for the first time since 1984.