I know, I know. UVa fans don’t want to hear about Virginia’s losses, but the Cavaliers’ losses tell a fascinating story this season.
A 29-point beatdown at Purdue on Dec. 4
UVa entered Mackey Arena as the No. 5 team in the country. Virginia boasted a 7-0 record. It left with a 69-40 loss on its resume in a game that revealed many of UVa’s flaws.
Purdue fans were rowdy — and slightly angry — given the 2019 NCAA Tournament results that took the Boilermakers out of the Big Dance in the Elite Eight. Of course, Mamadi Diakite’s buzzer beater sent the game to overtime, and UVa prevailed in the additional five minutes.
This year’s meeting went much differently.
“We played on our heels all game, and I had a feeling there’s gonna be extra motivation with that setting, but take that out of it, they cleaned our clock,” UVa head coach Tony Bennett said.
This loss showed UVa’s flaws.
A 54-50 loss to Florida State on Jan. 15
Virginia capped off a three-game losing streak with a four-point loss in Tallahassee against No. 9 Florida State. The Cavaliers performed admirably in the defeat, and while they lost, they gave UVa fans hope in the defeat.
There were positive signs from Virginia, including Tomas Woldetensae knocking down three shots from beyond the arc. UVa led 47-44 in the final few minutes before the Seminoles ended the game on a 10-3 run.
This loss showed UVa’s potential.
An 80-73 loss at Louisville on Feb. 8
After winning three games in a row, UVa fell in a competitive matchup in Louisville in early February. After the loss, Virginia won its final eight games of the season, including a season-ending win over Louisville.
In the loss on Feb. 8, Tomas Woldetensae had his coming out party. He dropped 27 points, and Kihei Clark pitched in 23 points and seven assists. It was a challenging loss for the Wahoos, but the offense came alive in the defeat.
This loss showed UVa’s offense was good enough to carry it to wins down the stretch.
The story arc
Virginia’s first loss came to Purdue and showed the Cavaliers possessed plenty of flaws. UVa’s mid-season loss to Florida State showed the team’s potential. The loss to Louisville showed the Cavaliers were on the verge of going on a run.
Eventually, UVa did go on a run, and the Cavaliers finished the season 23-7 and 15-5 in the ACC.