This Week in Mid-Major: Liberty takes a page from UVa’s playbook, Bryant’s shot-swatter, the top 10 and more – The Athletic

Tony Bennett built Virginia from a mediocre program into a dominant team in the ACC before finally breaking all the way through with a national title last season. The Cavaliers have done it, of course, mostly on the strength of their pack-line defense. So what would it look like if a mid-major program followed the Virginia model?

The answer to that question can be found about an hour south of Charlottesville in Lynchburg, Va., home of the Liberty Flames. They lost, 74-57, at LSU on Sunday but had gotten off to a school-record 14-0 start. They also beat Mississippi State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last March and boast a 33-4 record since beating UCLA last Dec. 29. They do it by playing what coach Ritchie McKay calls a shadow version of Virginia basketball.

Sure, lots of teams now use the pack-line defense or at least some elements of it. McKay himself was a longtime admirer of Bennetts father, Dick, and incorporated that style of play during...

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This Week in Mid-Major: Liberty takes a page from UVa's playbook, Bryant's shot-swatter, the top 10 and more - The Athletic

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