Previewing Virginia

Virginia, one of the biggest surprises early in this ACC season, travels to Chapel Hill. Tip-off Sunday at the Smith Center is set for 7:45 p.m. and the game will be televised by Fox Sports Net.

North Carolina (13-7, 2-3) vs. Virginia (12-6, 3-2)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:45 p.m., Fox Sports Net (Tim Brando, Mike Gminski, Debbie Antonelli)


"You just have to be true to your personality. If you're a yeller or a hollerer, then you do that. When I played, I was a little more even-keeled, and I think I coach that way." – Virginia head coach Tony Bennett on his coaching style

"We have to have a quick turnaround and get ready to play our next game. We have to have a short memory. We are going to stick to who we are. We just made too many mistakes. We are going to keep fighting." -- UVa guard Sammy Zeglinski on preparing for North Carolina


Season to Date: Virginia enters Sunday night's contest with a 12-6 (3-2 ACC) record. After being tabbed by the ACC media 11th in the preseason conference poll, first-year head coach Tony Bennett has turned heads with a winning record in league to date. Despite a nonconference slate void of impressive wins (a nine-point victory over UAB stands atop the list), the Cavaliers have knocked off N.C. State (70-62), Georgia Tech (82-75) and Miami (75-57) in league play. Virginia has lost two straight ACC games, however, falling to both Wake Forest (69-57) and Virginia Tech (76-71 OT).

Sophomore Sensation: Sometimes all it takes to be competitive in ACC play is having strong guard play, which explains how a program low on talent has been able to post a winning record through its first five league games. Sylven Landesberg possesses plenty of talent from his guard position and has consistently put that ability on display this season. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder is averaging 17.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per outing, and has scored in double figures every game this season. The Flushing, N.Y. native has elevated his game in conference play, scoring at least 18 points in each contest.

Bombs Away: The Cavaliers have found success from long range this season, shooting 39.5 percent (113-286). Those numbers are good enough to lead the ACC and rank 21st nationally in 3-point field goal percentage. Sophomore guard Sammy Zeglinski leads Virginia (2nd ACC) with a 45.5 percent mark (40-88), while junior guard Jeff Jones is connecting on 43.1 percent (25-58) of his 3-point attempts. Last season, the Cavaliers ranked 242nd nationally at 31.6 percent (156-494).

A Pair of Sobering Statistics: As well as Bennett has done with his current roster, it's difficult to imagine the Cavaliers keeping their heads above water in the ACC when considering that they rank 10th in the conference in field goal percentage (45.2) while holding down the cellar spot in field goal percentage defense (43.1).

Cutting Down the Turnovers: It didn't take the Cavaliers long to adapt to Bennett's conservative approach on the floor. Virginia leads the ACC and ranks sixth nationally in turnovers committed (10.6 tpg), which is a drastic improvement after coughing up 14.8 turnovers per game during the 2008-09 season. The Cavaliers have had 10 or fewer turnovers in 10 games this season. Virginia has also improved in the assist-to-turnover ratio category, ranking 24th nationally (1.29) after sitting in the No. 245 spot last season with a 0.84 mark.

Random Stat of the Day: Eight of Virginia's 12 wins this season have been by double digits, while four of its six losses have been by five points or less.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated Virginia, 76-61, on Feb. 7, 2009. Wayne Ellington delivered 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Tyler Hansbrough posted a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Ty Lawson added 10 points and nine assists without committing a turnover.

Series History: North Carolina leads the series with Virginia, 124-48. The Tar Heels have won six consecutive games against the Cavaliers overall and have also defeated their neighbors to the north six straight times in Chapel Hill, last losing on Jan. 12, 2002.

Projected Starters:
13 Sammy Zeglinski (6-0, 182, So.) – 10.0 ppg, 2.8 apg
1 Jontel Evans (5-11, 185, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 1.9 apg
15 Sylven Landesberg (6-6, 207, So.) – 17.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
32 Mike Scott (6-8, 239, Jr.) – 13.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg
55 Jerome Meyinsse (6-9, 233, Sr.) – 17.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg

Top Reserves:
23 Jeff Jones (6-4, 190, Jr.) – 7.6 ppg
2 Mustapha Farrakhan (6-4, 175, Jr.) – 7.0 ppg
22 Will Sherrill (6-9, 217, Jr.) – 3.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg

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