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In his game preview, StLouHoo identified these three keys:

1) Pop out the bigs.

2) Take the supporting cast out of it.

3) Go after Anthony Lamb. 

So how did StLou do in identifying key points, and how did the team do?

1) Pop out the bigs.

Vermont ran man-to-man defense, and Virginia ran mostly its Continuity Ball Screen and perhaps 3-Man Inside Motion (sometimes hard to tell when watching live and not breaking down film), which brought everybody out to the perimeter. It brought Vermont big man Daniel Giddens out of the paint and forced him to guard in space.  Mamadi Diakite's 3-3 from the arc was crucial to keeping Virginia in the game. Jay Huff did not shoot well, but his screening action and presence out there did create driving lanes.

Grade: B

2) Take the supporting cast out of it.

The second, third and fourth leading scorers for Vermont came into the game averaging 11.3 (Everett Duncan), 10.3 (Ryan Davis) and 9 (Stef Smith) points per game.  Smith exceeded his scoring average with 13 points, but it came on 15 shots.  Duncan and Davis scored 5 points apiece, less than half their season average.  As the game played out, Lamb's explosion gave Vermont a brief advantage over the Cavaliers in the mid-second half, but when Diakite took him out of the game with an early season DPOY performance, the Catamounts had nobody able to step up and the Cavaliers defense slammed the door on Vermont's upset bid.

The Cavaliers did what they do with a star player: they put the best defender they could on him, maybe rotated guys, but they didn't disrupt their defensive scheme or devote multiple players (at the same time) to him.  And it worked.  The inability of anybody to step up when Lamb got shut down absolutely was key to Virginia winning.

Grade: A- (Smith went above his season average, hence the minus)

3) Go after Anthony Lamb.

Just like Tony Bennett does not distort his defense to slow down a hot player, he also doesn't misshape his offense to attack a particular player.  But in the first half, Virginia in the person of Braxton Key did take the ball hard at Lamb, and did draw a foul on him.  Ultimately, though, Lamb did not get in foul trouble and Virginia made no special effort to go after him. It just was not much of a factor in the outcome.

Grade: Incomplete

In the end, however, let's give StLouHoo an A for his final score prediction, 62-54, which was chillingly close to the final 61-55.

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Vermont (November 19, 2019)