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Virginia's fourth-quarter woes

Some statistics are misleading. Here's one that's telling: The only quarter in which Virginia has been outscored this season is the fourth quarter.

Virginia's players have said the team is better than their 3-5 record indicates. But for a group that emphasizes winning the fourth quarter, losing the fourth quarter explains why they're in this predicament. Look at the quarter-by-quarter splits:

Team...1st...2nd...3rd...4th
U-Va.....40...49.....41....41
Opp......16...49.....40....69

To illustrate how that affects the season, consider that Virginia entered the fourth quarter in losses against William & Mary and Duke trailing by two points and one point, respectively. The Cavaliers also entered the fourth quarter of a loss against Southern Mississippi with a 10-point lead.

In those three games, Virginia was outscored, 42-7, in the fourth quarter. Had the Cavaliers won the fourth quarter in each of those games, their record is likely 6-2 at this point of the season.

When this statistic was raised to Coach Al Groh earlier in the week, he noted that it was a valid point and is likely attributed to the high number of plays the defense has endured in some games because of the time-of-possession discrepancy. Although he said that is not the sole reason -- sometimes, like Saturday's loss to Duke, Virginia has been the victim of a big play -- it has been a consistent theme throughout the season.

"That's part of the reason -- back to using some of these young players -- that we're trying to create some more playable depth," Groh said. "Either if we do have players who are out, if they have to play a prominent role at least they've been engaged or maybe we can here -- when we're in the latter third of the season that maybe some of those guys can take some plays away from players and let them be a little bit fresher."

By Zach Berman  |  November 6, 2009; 11:36 AM ET
 
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