Davidson = the A10’s last chance to topple UVA

Davidson travels to Charlottesville tonight to take on the Virginia Cavaliers.  They will be the fourth A-10 team to take on the Wahoos this season.  The previous three: La Salle, GW, and VCU didn’t fare too well and the Wildcats are currently 16.5 underdogs according to the guys in the Gucci loafers who reside in Las Vegas.  There will be plenty of action headed Virginia’s way tonight but I’m going with my guy Lloyd Christmas when it comes to facing some rough odds.

I might even wear that shirt to the game.  There have to be some pics of your boy floating around the interwebs as a young Lloyd at a Halloween party from waaaay back in the day.  I rocked that gorgeous SW Texas meets a Navajo reservation shirt with pride! Thankfully that was before camera phones but I digress.

Obviously Virginia is the play here.  According to Ken Pomeroy, UVA is currently in the country in adj. efficiency for defense at 84.2 and in the country in adj. effeciency for offense at 114.7.  Those numbers are incredible.  Basically, UVA forces its opponents to take difficult shots on offense and gets really good looks when it has the ball.  Simple to talk about, damn near impossible to pull off.  Here are a couple of things I’ll be watching tonight just in case the Wildcats decide to go ahead and shock the world:

1.  Strength vs. Strength

Davidson is the top offensive team in country coming into the game tonight.  Davidson is averaging 87.7 ppg and is shooting 41.4% from behind the arc and 48.3% overall from the floor.  Tyler Kalinoski (16.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Jack Gibbs (15.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5 apg), and Peyton Aldridge (12.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg) all shoot above 43% from deep.  All three of these guys can go off at any time and will take and make contested 3’s for 40 minutes.  When teams extend their defense out on the perimeter beyond normal comfort zones, Davidson back-doors them to death for open lay-ups and short jumpers.  Virginia’s defense makes teams feel like this guy:

2.  Anthony Gill and Mike Tobey

I look at the play of these two forwards as one of the main reasons Virginia has not fallen off at all after last season.  I though losing Akil Mitchell to graduation would be a major challenge for Virginia defensively but the Wahoos are the number one rebounding team in the country at +14 per game.  Gill is the perfect forward for Tony Bennett.  He is a tough defender, great rebounder, solid passer, and completely unselfish.  Mike Tobey looks to be a legit 7-footer now and has to have worked hard in the weight room over the past year.  He has gone from a skinny kid who couldn’t hold his water in the post to a guy who can bang and rebound with just about anybody.  Tobey has always had soft hands and a nice shot from 15-20 feet outside but he seems to be more confident in his post game this year and Virginia is benefiting greatly.  I should mention Darion Atkins as well.  A strong post defender and rebounder with a nice 10 ft baseline jumper.  How well can Davidson hold up against these guys?  Can the Wildcats get Gill in foul trouble or at least make him uncomfortable on the perimeter?  Guys like Peyton Aldridge and Jake Bedford need to show up early in a game like this.  Their ability to stay out of foul trouble and make shots or draw fouls on Gill and Tobey will be crucial.

3. Brogdon defending the perimeter

Malcolm Brogdon and London Perrantes are both excellent perimeter defenders but Brogdon is especially effective because of his great size and strength.  He bodies up opposing guards and makes their lives miserable for 35 minutes a game.  Jack Gibbs and Tyler Kalinoski combine to average almost 32 points per game.  Most of their damage comes from deep and they are both the real deal when it comes to shooting the ball.  Nine times out of ten, the better defender wins the day but that is why they play the game.  If Tyler Kalinoski and Jack Gibbs can make some shots early and get into a good rhythm(good luck and see video above), they will at least give Davidson a chance to make this game interesting.

I love both of the coaches for these schools and really respect how they operate.  Their teams play hard, smart, physical, and unselfishly on a consistent basis.  I don’t know if Davidson has what it takes to shock the world, but I’m glad I’ll be there to check it out.

Brian Keiper is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and has a M.Ed from University of Richmond. He teaches, coaches, and spends way too mu...