2/2 Duke (18-1, 6-0) vs. Virginia (10-6, 4-2)
Durham, N.C.. – Cameron Indoor Stadium
7 p.m., ESPN
Program Vitals Conference: ACC Nickname: Cavaliers Colors: Orange, Blue & White Head Coach: Dave Leitao (1st year) Career Record at Virginia: 10-6 Last Year: 14-15 (4-12 ACC)
Projected Starters: Adrian Joseph (6-7, 195, So.) - 10.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg Jason Cain (6-10, 212, Jr.) – 8.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, Tunji Soroye (6-11, 212, So.) – 2.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg J.R. Reynolds (6-2, 197, Jr.) – 14.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg Sean Singletary (5-10, 175, So.) – 18.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 4.7 apg Key Reserves: Laurynas Mikalauskas (6-8, 241, Fr.) – 5.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg Mamadi Diane (6-5, 185, Fr.) – 7.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg Billy Campbell (6-0, 184, Sr.) – 1.3 ppg T.J. Bannister (5-10, 176, Jr.) – 1.8 ppg
New Attitude in Wahoo Land: Picked by the media to finish at the bottom of the ACC standings in 2005, the Cavaliers have served notice that they are not to be taken lightly in 2006. New head coach Dave Leitao took over in April after guiding DePaul to success in Conference USA and immediately changed the attitude surrounding the once proud UVa program.
After stumbling in their first two shots at ranked opponents (losing by 30 to then #9 Arizona and then by 11 to #10 Gonzaga), Virginia got it right the third time, knocking off #24 North Carolina 72-68 on January 19th. It's all been part of a surprising 4-2 start in the conference, good enough to tie for second place behind the undefeated Blue Devils.
Point of Attack: The driving force behind that start has been the play of sophomore point guard Sean Singletary. The 5-foot-10 floor general is making a strong case for All-Conference honors so far this year. To date he's scored 20 or more points seven times, all while averaging 4.3 rebounds per contest along with a team best 4.7 assists per game.
The Series: Duke has dominated the series in the last 22 years, winning 42 of the last 52 meetings since Ralph Sampson's graduation from Virginia in 1983. The Blue Devils have also won 21 of the last 23 meetings dating back to the last matchup of the 1995-96 season.
Playing in front of the "Cameron Crazies" has been difficult for UVa as the Wahoos are 8-45 against Duke at Cameron. All-time Virginia is 10-50 on Duke's various home courts through the years. The Cavaliers have lost their last 10 games at Cameron Indoor Stadium. UVa's last win at Cameron was a 91-88 double overtime victory on January 14, 1995.
Overall, Virginia hasn't fared well against a nationally ranked Duke squad. The Cavaliers are 14-59 against a ranked Duke team and 11-51 vs. top 10 Blue Devil teams. Virginia has never defeated a #1 or #2 ranked Duke team (0-20 all-time), but has four wins over #3 Blue Devil teams and one victory over Duke teams ranked fourth through 10th (one victory over #4, #5, etc.). UVa is 0-7 all-time against second-ranked Duke teams. The Cavaliers are 0-3 vs. second-ranked Duke teams in Durham as well as in Charlottesville. UVa has one loss to a #2 Duke team at a neutral site.
Bannister Is Back For the Cavs: After missing six consecutive games, guard T.J. Bannister returned to action for the Cavaliers against Florida State (Jan. 11) and has played in every game since. Bannister missed the first four games of the season and made his 2005-06 season debut against Georgia Tech (Dec. 4). Last season, Bannister averaged 4.3 points and 3.7 assists per game.
- J.J. Redick's 24 points against Virginia Tech on Thursday gives him 2,320 in his career and he remains in fourth place on Duke's career chart. He passed N.C. State's David Thompson (2,309) and Virginia's Jeff Lamp (2,317) and into seventh place on the ACC's career chart. Immediately ahead on both charts is Mike Gminski, who scored 2,323 points for the Blue Devils from 1977-80.
- Josh McRoberts recorded his first start in four games and responded with eight points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
- DeMarcus Nelson saw his first action in three games after suffering a bone bruise on his right ankle. Nelson was just two games into returning from a different injury on the same ankle against Drexel on Nov. 23. Nelson played 16 minutes and had seven points.