There's an old saying among college basketball coaches that the best way to become a better-shooting team is to recruit and play better shooters. I was reminded of that on Wednesday when Virginia, a dreadful 3-point shooting team last season, bombed Towson from beyond the arc thanks to a pair of transfers who can alone make the Cavaliers real threats from deep.
Trey Murphy, a transfer from Rice, and Sam Hauser, a transfer from Marquette, combined to sink nine of the 11 3-pointers they attempted in Virginia's 89-54 season-opening win over Pat Skerry's Tigers. A 6-foot-9 guard, Murphy didn't receive a waiver from the NCAA to play until Tuesday. Then he came off the bench Wednesday, took eight shots from beyond the arc, made six of them and finished with 21 points in 17 minutes.
"We're so glad that he gets to play," said Virginia coach Tony Bennett. "You saw his strengths."
Boy, did we ever. And if 3-point shooting is now once again a strength for Virginia in general, look out.
The Cavaliers shot 39.5% from 3-point range two seasons ago while going 35-3 and winning the national championship. But they shot just 30.3% from distance last season after losing quality shooters in the form of Kyle Guy, De'Andre Hunter and Ty Jerome. That ranked 311th nationally and was among the reasons Virginia ranked 234th in offensive efficiency. The Cavaliers just could not make shots. But the addition of Hauser and Murphy, and an improved touch from four-year center Jay Huff, changes everything drastically. And it's why the Cavaliers making 15 of the 29 3-pointers they attempted in their first game of this season was among the most notable developments from opening day.
Virginia remains No. 4 in Thursday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Cavaliers' next game is Friday against San Francisco.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
|The Zags have had the nation's most-efficient offense each of the past two seasons. They'll have a chance to do it again thanks to the return of Corey Kispert, Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme - plus the arrival of five-star freshman Jalen Suggs and Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard.||--||15-0|
|The Bears are returning the top three scorers from a team that would've been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It's among the reasons Scott Drew has an opportunity to guide Baylor to its first Final Four since Bill Henderson did it in 1950.||--||15-0|
|Jeremiah Robinson-Earl finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday's 76-67 victory over Boston College. Collin Gillespie added 15 points and seven assists.||--||10-1|
|Sam Hauser finished with 19 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday's 89-54 victory over Towson. The Cavaliers made 15 of the 29 3-pointers they attempted.||--||11-2|
|Luka Garza finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday's 97-67 victory over North Carolina Central. Patrick McCaffery added 16 points off the bench.||--||12-3|
|The Illini made 17 of the 31 3-pointers they attempted in Wednesday's 122-60 victory over North Carolina A&T. Ayo Dosunmu finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.||--||10-5|
|How Marcus Garrett handles taking over the point guard duties from Devon Dotson will play a large role in determining whether Kansas repeats as Big 12 champs. Bryce Thompson is the latest five-star prospect expected play a role in keeping Kansas in the national conversation.||--||10-5|
|The return of Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore gives Mike Krzyzewski two experienced and reliable pieces to pair with a top-three recruiting class highlighted by five-star prospects Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward and Mark Williams. So Coach K winning a sixth national title remains very much in the cards.||--||6-5|
|Four of the five starters from a team that was the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament are back - most notably Marcus Zegarowski, a CBS Sports First Team Preseason All-American. It's a core that should give Creighton a realistic chance to make its first Final Four in school history.||--||12-4|
|Nate Reuvers finished with 18 points, nine rebounds and five blocks in Wednesday's 77-67 victory over Eastern Illinois. The Badgers recorded 16 assists while turning the ball over just seven times.||--||13-4|
|Foster Loyer made six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points in Wednesday's 83-67 victory over Eastern Michigan. Joey Hauser added 15 points and nine rebounds.||--||8-4|
|Tennessee is adding five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson to a proven core of John Fulkerson and Yves Pons. It's an experienced and talented roster that most believe will result in a nice bounce-back season for Rick Barnes' Vols.||--||11-3|
|B.J. Boston finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday's 81-45 victory over Morehead State. Terrence Clarke added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.||--||5-10|
|Miles McBride scored 21 points in Wednesday's 79-71 victory over South Dakota State. Derek Culver added seven points and 14 rebounds.||--||11-4|
|Marcus Sasser made seven of the nine 3-pointers he attempted and finished with 25 points in Wednesday's 89-45 victory over Lamar. Tramon Mark added 22 points and eight rebounds off the bench.||--||13-1|
|Mac McClung finished with 20 points, three assists and three steals in Wednesday's 101-58 victory over Northwestern State. Marcus Santos-Silva added 10 points and 12 rebounds.||--||11-5|
|Caleb Love made all eight of his free throw attempts and finished with 17 points, four assists and two steals in Wednesday's 79-60 victory over Charleston. Day'Ron Sharpe added 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.||--||11-5|
|Justice Sueing finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals in Wednesday's 94-67 victory over Illinois State. CJ Walker added 10 points and six assists.||--||13-4|
|Courtney Ramey finished with 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds in Wednesday's 91-55 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley. Greg Brown added 11 points and 10 rebounds.||--||11-3|
|Two of the best three scorers from the Pac-12 champs are returning - among them former JUCO National Player of the Year Chris Duarte. If the Ducks get a waiver for St. John's transfer LJ Figueroa, they'll be even stronger and clearly talented enough to win back-to-back league titles.||--||9-3|
|Ron Harper Jr. got 18 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday's 86-63 victory over Sacred Heart. Cliff Omoruyi added 14 points and 11 rebounds.||--||8-6|
|Boogie Ellis made six 3-pointers and finished with 24 points off the bench in Wednesday's 73-56 victory over Saint Mary's. Memphis held the Gaels to just 33.9% shooting from the field.||--||9-5|
|Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday's 89-59 victory over Tennessee Tech. Trey Galloway added 13 points off the bench.||1||9-7|
|Remy Martin finished with 26 points, six rebounds and five assists in Wednesday's 94-88 victory over Rhode Island. Marcus Bagley added 16 points and seven rebounds.||1||4-8|
|The return of Trendon Watford and Javonte Smart means LSU is bringing back four of the top six scorers from a team that was projected to make the NCAA Tournament. They'll combine with a top-10 recruiting class highlighted by five-star guard Cameron Thomas and have an opportunity to finish in the top four of the SEC for the third consecutive season.||1||11-4|
|The Seminoles lost three of the top four scorers from a team that won the ACC. But the arrival of Scottie Barnes will give Leonard Hamilton a chance to finish in the top four of the league for the fourth time in a five-year span.||NR||10-2|
In: Florida State. Out: UCLA