The (#7) Virginia Cavaliers (19-4) will take on the Louisville Cardinals (3-22) on Wednesday night. Virginia has been excellent this season as they look to secure their second NCAA title in the last four seasons. Senior Kihei Clark, who started on the championship team in 2019, is averaging 11.6 points and 5.9 assists per game this season. On the other hand, Louisville has been downright atrocious this season, rivaling California for the worst team amongst the Power Seven rankings. In addition, they are on pace to win their fewest games since they were without a conference in the early 1940s.
Virginia vs. Louisville
Odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook
Virginia vs. Louisville Match Details
Fixture: Virginia Cavaliers at Louisville Cardinals
Date and Time: Wednesday, February 15th at 7:00 PM ET
Venue: KFC Yum! Center
ShotQuality Tale of the Tape
Below, we will highlight essential ShotQuality data for this matchup, including Adjusted Offensive and Defensive SQ, strengths, weaknesses, and frequency. SQppp is a player’s average ShotQuality points per possession.
Thus, SQppp = Total SQpoints/Total No. of Possessions.
The Virginia Cavaliers own a 1.16 AdjOFF SQ this season, good for 13th in the nation. Louisville has the 181st-best AdjDEF SQ at 1.02. Virginia does well in all key stats but spacing, where they are in the 47th percentile. They are also 173rd in the rim & three-rate metric. Conversely, the Cardinals are in the 85th percentile in defensive spacing and the 83rd percentile in shot-making, a strength of Virginia. However, they are 136th in the defensive rim & three rate metric.
The Cavaliers own high-frequency numbers in catch & shoot three-point, cut, finishing at the rim, half-court, midrange, off-screen, and post-up shot types. They are in the top 140 in all those shot types while placing 31st in the offensive half-court (1.03 SQ PPP). Conversely, the Cardinals are outside the top 130 in defending all shot types, including those in which the Cavs do not have high-frequency numbers. They are 280th in the defensive half-court (1.01 SQ PPP).
The Cardinals have a 0.99 AdjOFF SQ, the 223rd-best mark in the country. Virginia has posted a 0.93 AdjDEF SQ this season, clocking in at 26th in the country. The Cardinals are just inside the top 160 in spacing (52nd percentile) and FTR (33.3%). The Cavs are in the 47th percentile in defensive spacing but are 32nd in defensive FTR.
Louisville is in the country’s top half in frequency regarding the following shot types: catch & shoot three-pointers, half-court, isolation, midrange, off-screen, and post-up. Virginia has struggled mightly in the midrange, post-up, and perimeter defense, but the Cardinals are inefficient in the scoring department.
Virginia vs. Louisville Prediction
So how bad has Louisville been this season? Unless they win out by some divine miracle, the Cardinals will have their fewest wins since war raged in Europe, and the United States was a year away from joining the cause. Chris Mack missed the tourney in his final three seasons, two of which they finished with a winning record before he was replaced with Kenny Payne. So now they are nearly 20-point underdogs at home in a conference game, and the season keeps getting filled with new lows. Instead of taking the Cardinals with the points, I like the under duly on the fact that they can’t score 50, and UVA plays at one of the slowest paces in America.