2018-19 Virginia Cavaliers Quick Facts
Virginia went from the wrong side of basketball history in 2018 to making history in 2019. The Cavaliers won the NCAA DI men's basketball championship in Minneapolis with an 85-77 overtime victory over Texas Tech. The triumph came the season after the Cavaliers became the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament.
You'll find a complete breakdown of Virginia's 2018-19 championship season on this page, including the Cavaliers' roster, stats, a game-by-game breakdown and full replays of some of their most exciting NCAA tournament victories.
Coach: Tony Bennett
Record: 35-3 (16-2)
Conference Finish: T-1st
Conference Tournament Finish: Lost in semifinals
NCAA Tournament Seed: No. 1 seed
NCAA Tournament Region: South Region
You can jump from section to section here:
- Roster turnover before the championship season
- Virginia's 2018-19 championship roster
- Virginia's player stats from the 2018-19 season
- Virginia's style of play and expanded metrics
- Virginia's AP Poll rankings from every week of the 2018-19 season
- The complete 2019 NCAA bracket, seeds and results
- A game-by-game breakdown of Virginia's schedule
- Individual awards
- Cavaliers drafted by NBA teams after the season
Virginia's roster turnover before the 2018-19 season
Virginia went 31-3 in the 2017-18 season, finished atop the ACC standings with a 17-1 record and won the ACC tournament. The Cavaliers earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament before losing to No. 16 seed UMBC 74-54 in the first round.
Virginia graduated three seniors after the 2018 season, including Isaiah Wilkins and Devon Hall (pictured above):
- Devon Hall, 6-5, guard: 11.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.1 apg
- Isaiah Wilkins, 6-8, forward: 6.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.6 apg
- Nigel Johnson, 6-1, guard: 4.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.6 apg
In the offseason, the Cavaliers added three freshmen, plus Alabama transfer Braxton Key:
- Kihei Clark, 5-9, guard
- Kody Stattman, 6-7, guard
- Francisco Caffaro, 7-0, center
Virginia's roster from the 2018-19 season
|Kyle Guy||Guard||Jr.||6-2||175||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|De'Andre Hunter||Guard||R-So.||6-7||225||Philadelphia, Pa.|
|Ty Jerome||Guard||Jr.||6-5||195||New Rochelle, N.Y.|
|Mamadi Diakite||Forward||Jr.||6-9||224||Conakry, Guinea|
|Braxton Key||Forward||Jr.||6-8||230||Charlotte, N.C.|
|Kihei Clark||Guard||Fr.||5-9||163||Woodland Hills, Calif.|
|Jay Huff||Forward||So.||7-1||243||Durham, N.C.|
|Jack Salt||Center||R-Sr.||6-10||250||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Kody Stattman||Guard||Fr.||6-7||200||Bentley Park, Australia|
|Marco Anthony||Guard||So.||6-5||225||San Antonio, Tex.|
|Grant Kersey||Guard||Fr.||6-1||160||Charlottesville, Va.|
|Austin Katstra||Forward||So.||6-6||227||Charlottesville, Va.|
|Jayden Nixon||Guard||Fr.||6-3||192||Charlottesville, Va.|
|Francesco Badocchi||Forward||Fr.||6-7||205||Milan, Italy|
Virginia player stats from the 2018-19 season
Scroll to the right to view the complete stats.
Virginia's advanced stats, style of play
Virginia's national championship ended many misconceptions about the tempo and style of play needed to win a title. The Cavaliers ranked 353rd (last) nationally in adjusted tempo, per kenpom.com. But they were the paragon of efficiency, ranked second nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency and fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency. They finished the year No. 1 on kenpom.com.
Even though Virginia's pace was the slowest nationally and the 'Hoos often won by scoring in the 60s, they outscored their opponents by an average of 34.2 points every 100 possessions. Virginia was able to post such impressive efficiency margins by taking great care of the ball (the 12th-best turnover percentage on offense: 14.7 percent) and making almost 40 percent of its threes (39.5 percent, 8th nationally).
The Cavaliers' pack-line defense ranked as the third-best 3-point percentage defense, allowing opponents to make just 28.9 percent of their shots from deep, while keeping opponents off the free-throw line and offensive glass.
Below is Virginia's advanced stats profile, courtesy of kenpom.com.
The 2019 NCAA tournament bracket
The Cavaliers returned to the Final Four for the first time since 1984 — a year before the NCAA adopted the 64-team field.
Virginia became the third straight No. 1 seed to cut down the nets, joining Villanova (2018) and North Carolina (2017). Unlike the other two, they were the lone No. 1 seed at the Final Four, joined by No. 2 seed Michigan State, No. 3 seed Texas Tech and No. 5 seed Auburn.
2019 NCAA tournament: Bracket
Virginia's complete 2018-19 schedule breakdown
Nov. 6, 2018: Virginia 73, Towson 42
In Virginia's first game since losing to UMBC in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament, the Cavaliers' margin of victory (31 points) wasn't far behind its opponent's point total (42). The Associated Press reported that Virginia coach Tony Bennett emptied his bench by the middle of the second half and the AP said freshman Kihei Clark was "impressive in his debut," making "arguably, the defensive play of the game."
Nov. 11, 2018: Virginia 76, George Washington 57
Junior guard Kyle Guy scored 17 points in the first half — the same number as George Washington as a team. Guy and teammate Ty Jerome, who both scored 20 points, left the game in the second half having combined to score 27 points to the Colonials' 26 up to that point in the game.
Nov. 16, 2018: Virginia 97, Coppin State 40
Redshirt sophomore De'Andre Hunter individually outscored Coppin State 11-10 until the Eagles hit a 3-pointer with 6:10 left in the first half. Virginia shot 60 percent from the field and from behind the arc.
Nov. 21, 2018: Virginia 74, Middle Tennessee 52
De'Andre Hunter finished an assist and two rebounds shy of a triple-double after posting 15 points, a career-high nine assists and eight rebounds. Virginia led 9-0 before Middle Tennessee scored and by the time the Blue Raiders reached the nine-point mark, the Cavaliers had 30.
Nov. 22, 2018: Virginia 66, Dayton 59
De'Andre Hunter tied his career-high with 23 points, including a 3-pointer in the final minute to stretch the Cavaliers' lead from four points to seven.
Nov. 23, 2018: Virginia 53, Wisconsin 46
Virginia never trailed as it claimed the Battle 4 Atlantis title, limiting Wisconsin to just 2-of-11 shooting. While Wisconsin's Ethan Happ had 22 points and 15 rebounds, no other Badger scored more than seven points.
Nov. 28, 2018: Virginia 76, Maryland 71
In a road test against No. 24 Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Virginia committed just two turnovers and made 10-of-22 3-point attempts. The Cavaliers built a 17-point lead, let most of it slip away but held on for the win.
Dec. 3, 2018: Virginia 83, Morgan State 45
Virginia's defense allowed just two field goals in the first 18:03 of the second half. Morgan State's co-leading scorers managed just seven points.
Dec. 9, 2018: Virginia 57, VCU 49
One game after Morgan State's top scorers finished with just seven points, VCU's leading scorer in the game, Isaac Vann, managed just 10 points. Virginia guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome both managed more than that in a single half in the game.
Dec. 19, 2018: Virginia 69, South Carolina 52
Virginia stifled South Carolina to 3-for-18 shooting from 3-point range and the Gamecocks were just 20-for-55 from the field. South Carolina's leading scorer in the contest, Chris Silva, scored 11 points.
Dec. 22, 2018: Virginia 72, William & Mary 40
The Cavaliers held the Tribe to 2-for-20 shooting from behind the arc and while William & Mary standout Nathan Knight scored 22 points before fouling out, his 12 teammates who entered the game combined for just 18 points.
Dec. 31, 2018: Virginia 100, Marshall 64
The Cavaliers exploded for a season-high 100 points (their next-highest point total the rest of the season was 85 points in overtime of the national championship game) as Virginia coach Tony Bennett reached his 300th career victory. Kyle Gy set new career-highs with 30 points and eight rebounds. The score was 50-25 at halftime in favor of the 'Hoos, who then scored the next 10 points.
Jan. 5, 2019: Virginia 65, Florida State 52
In a game in which Ty Jerome and De'Andre Hunter were just 4-for-19 from the field combined, Kyle Guy stepped up with 18 points in the first half and 21 for the game, including a 5-for-6 performance from deep. The Cavaliers led by as many as 21 points.
Jan. 9, 2019: Virginia 83, Boston College 56
Led by Mamadi Diakite and De'Andre Hunter's 18 points apiece, the quartet of Diakite, Hunter, Ty Jerome and Kyle Guy scored 59 points. Boston College managed just 56 as a team.
Jan. 12, 2019: Virginia 63, Clemson 43
On the day of Clemson's football national championship parade, the Tigers hosted another (eventual) national champion. Virginia held Clemson to a 1-for-15 shooting start from the field. While Clemson's Marcquise Reed led the team with 14 points, he was just 3-for-14 from the field.
Jan. 15, 2019: Virginia 81, Virginia Tech 59
This was the first meeting between in-state rivals Virginia and Virginia Tech when both schools were ranked in the top 10 but the Hokies were no match for the Cavaliers. Ty Jerome logged a double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 assists. Virginia never trailed in the game.
Jan. 19, 2019: Duke 72, Virginia 70 (first loss)
Virginia entered Cameron Indoor Stadium as the country's last undefeated team but the Blue Devils' pair of First Team All-Americans Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett combined for 57 points as they pulled out a win over the Cavaliers in a close game.
Jan. 22, 2019: Virginia 68, Wake Forest 45
This game was lopsided in the blink of an eye with the Cavaliers jumping out to a 25-3 lead. This was a balanced scoring attack— Kyle Guy and Jay Huff with 12 points apiece, and De'Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite with 11 each.
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Jan. 26, 2019: Virginia 82, Notre Dame 55
In his return to his home state of Indiana, Kyle Guy scored 15 points in the first half as Virginia turned the ball over just twice, while shooting 44 percent from deep and 52 percent from the field.
Jan. 29, 2019: Virginia 66, N.C. State 65
Virginia held on in overtime as N.C. State's Markell Johnson made 1-of-3 free throws in the final second with his Wolfpack trailing by two. The Cavaliers committed 16 turnovers and blew a 14-point, second-half lead. But they won.
Feb. 2, 2019: Virginia 56, Miami (FL) 46
Without Ty Jerome, who was sitting out with a sore back, and with Kyle Guy enduring a 4-for-15 shooting performance in Jerome's absence, Virginia still won by double digits.
Feb. 9, 2019: Duke 81, Virginia 71
With LeBron James in attendance, Virginia fell to Duke for the second time in the regular season. The star-laden Blue Devils were responsible for two of Virginia's three losses all season. Duke jumped out to an 8-0 lead in Charlottesville and later 31-17 as RJ Barrett made his first five 3-point attempts.
Feb. 11, 2019: Virginia 69, North Carolina 61
Kyle Guy and De'Andre Hunter both scored 20 points as Virginia prevented one loss from turning into two. "Our guys knew what they had to do," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said, according to the AP. "They responded. It wasn't perfect. I told them, 'This isn't about winning or losing.' I said, 'This is an important game to get back to what we need to do.'"
Feb. 16, 2019: Virginia 60, Notre Dame 54
In a bit of foreshadowing, Virginia won a tightly contested game thanks to late free throws from Kyle Guy — four of them, in fact. Notre Dame cut the deficit to two points in the final minute as Virginia had a four-minute scoring drought, but just like almost every game during the 2018-19 season, the Cavaliers found a way to pull it out.
Feb. 18, 2019: Virginia 64, Virginia Tech 58
Despite being plagued by turnovers (eight in the first half, 13 total) and De'Andre Hunter being sidelined for the final 12 minutes of the first half due to foul trouble, Virginia completed its regular-season sweep of Virginia Tech behind Kyle Guy's 23 points.
Feb. 23, 2019: Virginia 64, Louisville 52
In a game in which Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome combined for just 12 points on 4-of-20 shooting and in which the Cavaliers made just 2-of-17 threes, forwards Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff carried the load with a combined 26 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, holding Louisville's starting big men to 2-of-16 shooting.
Feb. 27, 2019: Virginia 81, Georgia Tech 51
Virginia had a 25-4 run during one stretch in the first half. Georgia Tech had 51 points ... for the game.
March 2, 2019: Virginia 73, Pittsburgh 49
The 'Hoos rattled off a 21-2 run, which included 16 straight points. Pittsburgh scored 49 points in the game.
March 4, 2019: Virginia 79, Syracuse 53
Virginia's top three scorers — Kyle Guy, De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome — combined for 62 points and a ridiculous 75-percent shooting from 3-point range (18-for-24).
March 9, 2019: Virginia 73, Louisville 68
"I think their composure in the last three, four minutes probably decided the game," Louisville coach Chris Mack said, according to The Messenger. "They looked like a team that's been there before." Ty Jerome scored 24 points, including the go-ahead free throw.
March 14, 2019 (ACC tournament): Virginia 76, N.C. State 56
Virginia cruised in its first postseason game of 2019 as it sought to move past its historic upset in 2018. Kyle Guy exploded for 29 points, while screen-setter extraordinaire Jack Salt went off for an unexpected 18 points. "(Kyle) Guy and the Cavs won't ever be able to wash away all the pain and suffering from their 2018 NCAA tournament opener...," wrote Chip Alexander of The News and Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, "But this is a new postseason and it began Thursday."
March 15, 2019 (ACC tournament): Florida State 69, Virginia 59
On the same floor where Virginia lost to UMBC in the first round of the 2018 NCAA tournament and where it lost as a No. 2 seed to No. 7 seed Michigan State in the 2015 NCAA tournament, Virginia was bounced from the ACC tournament by Florida State — the Cavaliers' first loss of the season to a school not named Duke. "I got to live out my dream of playing the NBA (in Charlotte), I met my wife here, and we got to play a good game Thursday," Tony Bennett said after the game, putting the loss in perspective. "So I think I'm pretty blessed."
March 22, 2019 (NCAA tournament): No. 1 seed Virginia 71, No. 16 seed Gardner Webb 56
"We're ready to put on a show so we can talk about something else," Kyle Guy said before the game. Tony Bennett added, "All of your experiences when you go through a relatively hard thing, those are the things that can really shape you if you learn to use them right."
Initially, it was fair to wonder if lightning would strike twice as No. 1 seed Virginia trailed No. 16 seed Gardner Webb by as many as 14 points and by six at halftime. "Don't you dare leave anything in this locker room," Bennett recalled telling his team at halftime. "But you don't panic."
The Cavaliers didn't, starting the second half on a 25-5 run and blowing the game open. Virginia ultimately won by 15 with De'Andre Hunter, who didn't play against UMBC due to a wrist injury, showing his value with a team-high 23 points.
March 24, 2019 (NCAA tournament): No. 1 seed Virginia 63, No. 9 seed Oklahoma 51
For perhaps the first time in the 2019 NCAA tournament, but certainly not the last, forward Mamadi Diakite came through for Virginia, scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and three blocks. He started in place of senior Jack Salt, adding more athleticism and shooting touch to the Cavaliers' starting lineup. Virginia led for roughly 37 minutes, preventing itself from falling in a dangerous hole like it did in the first round.
The Cavaliers' defense clamped down on a Sooners offense that dropped 95 points in the first round. Oklahoma entered halftime having made just four of its last 18 attempts. After Virginia scored on the first possession of the second half, it never led by less than 10 points the rest of the way.
March 28, 2019 (NCAA tournament): No. 1 seed Virginia 53, No. 12 seed Oregon 49
Oregon was arguably the closest thing to a multi-game Cinderella in the 2019 NCAA tournament and the Ducks played Virginia close but Ty Jerome hit a 3-pointer inside the four-minute mark to break a 45-all tie and put the Cavaliers ahead for good. They tied their season-low in scoring output, while shooting just 35 percent from the field, 26 percent from three and attempting just five free throws. Kyle Guy was just 2-for-11 from deep but his confidence wasn't rattled.
"I don't really feel like I've ever out of rhythm," he said. The Cavaliers were now halfway to a championship.
March 30, 2019 (NCAA tournament): Virginia 80, Purdue 75 (OT)
This was one of the most exciting, high-level games of the 2019 NCAA tournament and with time, it may cement its place as an all-time great NCAA tournament game. The first eight shot attempts in the game were all good and Purdue's Carsen Edwards scored 42 points on 10-of-19 3-point shooting.
In addition to Edwards' historic 3-point shooting, this game will be remembered for Kihei Clark tracking down Ty Jerome's missed free throw and throwing a pass ahead to Mamadi Diakite (who had batted the missed free throw back), who then forced overtime with a short jumper.
Virginia flirted with defeat several times in the 2019 NCAA tournament and this may have been the Cavaliers' closest call.
Watch the full replay here ⤵️
April 6, 2019 (NCAA tournament): Virginia 63, Auburn 62
This game didn't go to overtime but it felt like an OT-thriller as a 10-point Virginia lead slipped away in the final five-plus minutes and it looked as if the Cavaliers' season was going to end one game short of the national championship game. But then Kyle Guy drew a foul with 0.6 seconds remaining and Virginia trailing by two.
Guy sank all three to give Virginia a one-point lead and the win in the final second. "These are moments that every basketball player has dreamed of," Guy said afterward. "Kind of had that feeling in your stomach, like in a nervousness, like, all right, this is my chance. To be able to go to the championship off of that for these guys and coach Bennett, I really don't have words."
Auburn's Bryce Brown was nearly the hero that Guy was. Brown made four 3-pointers amid a 14-0 run that gave the Tigers a four-point lead in the final 20 seconds.
Watch the full replay here ⤵️
April 8, 2019 (NCAA tournament): Virginia 85, Texas Tech 77 (OT)
Virginia pulled off the ultimate storybook ending, going from the lows of being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed in 2018 to winning its first national championship in 2019 with a very similar group of core players. For the second time in three games, the Cavaliers needed overtime to beat their opponent.
Virginia's defense clamped down on Texas Tech's best player Jarrett Culver, who was just 5-for-22 on the night and 0-for-6 from deep. His Cavalier peer De'Andre Hunter — a similarly versatile wing who can score and defend — had a career night with 27 points despite being held scoreless for the first 18-plus minutes. Hunter's three with 12 seconds left tied the game as once again, Virginia needed a late rally to reach victory.
"I told them, I just want a chance at a title fight one day," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said afterwards. "That's all I want ... You're never alone in the hills and the valleys we faced in the last year."
Once again, Virginia let a 10-point lead in the second half escape, but not forever. Virginia made all 12 of its free-throw attempts in overtime in the title-clinching victory.
Watch the full replay here ⤵️