The HOOS Place Preview Prognosticator, StLouHoo, identified the following three factors as being key to securing the victory:
1) Kill them on the glass, both ends.
2) Shut down East.
3) Protect the ball.
The Cavaliers defeated the Minutemen 58-46, only a few points off of StLou's 62-52 prediction. Unlike the last game, StLouHoo's Three Keys to the Win factored heavily in the outcome.
1) Kill them on the glass, both ends
UMass came into the game 275th nationally in defensive rebounding, letting opponents rebound almost a third of their misses. The Cavaliers continued that trend, grabbing the rebound on 9 of 30 misses for an OR% of 30%. On the other end, the Cavaliers Hoovered the boards, securing an astounding 88.6% of UMass's misses. As a result of shooting 30% from the floor and grabbing only one of every ten misses. UMass's offense was frightfully inefficient. The only things that kept the game a bit close were their free throw shooting and Virginia's turnovers and continued horrid shooting.
2) Shut down East.
Freshman point guard Sean East has been the engine driving the UMass train. He has been averaging 13.4 ppg on 45% three-point shooting, and averaging 6.8 assists per game to only 1.4 turnovers, for a very impressive A:TO ratio. Though unrated coming out of high school, he has become a productive D1 player. Sound familiar? Today he ran into the Mong00se in a battle of unrated point guards, and had his first setback of his young career. In 26 minutes, East managed to get up only 3 shots, none from the arc, and hit 1 for a mere 2 points. His lost scoring accounts for the margin of victory. He also was not able to set up his teammates, tallying a single assist. He did, however, take good care of the ball, only coughing it up once. Kihei Clark and his understudy Chase Coleman did the job on UMass's young spark plug.
3) Protect the Ball.
Massachusetts came into the game forcing turnovers on 23.2% of defensive possessions, with 12.9% of those possessions ending in live-ball steals. Minimizing turnovers is one of the tenets of Bennettball. Today, the Cavaliers turned it over 11 times for a 17.7% turnover percentage, with 5 of those turnovers being UMass steals, or 8%. Both of those numbers were right on Virginia season averages, so the UMass pressure was ineffective in either speeding up or turning over the Cavaliers. The Hoos did, however, have a couple of stretches of carelessness with the ball, especially Clark, who had some uncharacteristic lapses. Virginia turnovers allowed the Minutemen to slice a 16-point first half lead to 5 points at the half.