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The Matchup: Grayson Allen, Matt Jones and Rasheed Sulaimon vs. Malcolm Brogdon (pictured) and B.J. Stith
After an up-and-down non-conference slate, no one knew quite what to expect from Malcolm Brogdon entering ACC play. All he did was deliver double-figure scoring in every single regular-season conference game, and the Cavaliers' loss at Duke served to elevate the profiles of both player and team.
Brogdon delivered at the foul line late in the loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium, then struck for 23 in the rematch, which happened to come in the ACC championship game. He dropped 10 of those 23 in the final six minutes to cement UVa's No. 1 NCAA tournament seed.
The individual matchup between Brogdon and Sulaimon tilted toward the Duke side, as Sulaimon truly signaled his escape from his early doldrums by scoring 21 points. The second time around, however, Duke's guard was held to a mere deuce.
Brogdon stands 6'5" and nearly 220 pounds, a substantial size advantage over Duke's trio. Virginia's give-no-quarter pack-line defense will exploit that size advantage, playing a physical game that can take even the best shooters off their rhythm.
Sulaimon is used to battling the Virginia defense, but sophomore Matt Jones (22 minutes in the two games combined) and freshman Grayson Allen aren't quite so versed. Both will have to either play through contact or simply camp at the arc. Too much of the latter tactic will lead to a stagnant offense, which plays directly into the Cavs' hands.
A freshman himself, B.J. Stith is likely to be taken aback the first time he journeys to Cameron, but if he's inherited some of his father Bryant's toughness, he can still sink some daggers over the Devils.