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Balancing offense vs. defense in the starting lineup

Virginia has tried three different starting lineups in three different games. The latest lineup included center Assane Sene and Jontel Evans, a sophomore and a freshman who are both limited offensively.

Sene has received inconsistent playing time this season, and Coach Tony Bennett wanted an extended look at the promising big man. Sene did not exactly impress -- he had as many rebounds (3) as fouls in 17 minutes, and did not block a shot.

Evans provides defense, but not much offense -- he had three points and no assists in 26 minutes. It's clear that a player such as Jeff Jones provides more offense, but Bennett values defense. It begs the questions -- how does Bennett balance offense and defense in the starting lineup.

"When you're defense is struggling, you're not making shots, you're struggling offensively, it's a hard place to be," Bennett said. "And that's where we're at right now."

Virginia's players have said that they need the defense to create the offense. The team does not have the firepower to score in the 70s and 80s consistently, so it helps if it can limit teams to the 50s and 60s.

However, every offensive possession appears a struggle. Evans's reputation as an all-defense, no-offense guard has started to catch up to him, so it will be critical that he develops more of an offensive game if he becomes a significant player in his career.

"I think I need to improve on a lot," Evans said. "You saw the Maryland game, Vasquez played so far back and not respecting the jump shot. That's how teams are playing. That's what I need to work on -- my jump shot -- so people can respect us."

By Zach Berman  |  February 22, 2010; 12:03 PM ET
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