The No. 10 Virginia men's basketball will hit the road to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night to face 14th ranked West Virginia for the Jimmy V Classic. The Cavaliers are coming off their sixth straight win, beating William and Mary 67-52 on Saturday.
“We are just trying to take steps," said UVA head coach Tony Bennett after the win over the Tribe. "Going on the road without London [Perrantes], playing a good team in William and Mary, those are two positive things with room for improvement. Now you head into a game against a very physical, pressure-oriented team that is playing good basketball in West Virginia.
"We have two days to prepare, so our depth has helped us. We are going to need that, and different guys have to step up at different times. I’m just interested in us becoming sounder defensively, and better in the half court offensively from this game, and we will find some more things to work on from the tape.”
This is not the first time the 'Hoos have played in New York City, playing in the arena in the NCAA tournament in the Sweet Sixteen two years ago.
“Being able to play in a gym that has so much history behind it, and against a team like West Virginia, gets your adrenaline pumping," said UVA guard Malcolm Brogdon. "It is going to be a great experience for us to play away against a very good team.”
“With such a historical place like that its always special to go in there and play where the greats have played," added senior forward Anthony Gill. "People like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson have played there. It’s a part of history that we get to be a part of. We’ve played there before and haven’t gotten a win yet so going into this game we’re really hungry, not only to win at Madison Square Garden but also to keep winning and be the best UVA team we can be."
Behind Enemy Lines
It's been 30 years since the last time UVA and West Virginia faced each other. The Mountaineers come into the game undefeated averaging 88.4 points per game and hitting 49 percent from the field and just under 30 percent from the outside. The majority of WVU's success has come from second chance points and forcing their opponent to turnover the ball (averages over 23 turnovers a game).
Bob Huggins has six players that average in double digit assists per game, and he has plenty of depth to help the Mountaineers.
Match Up to Watch: Devin Williams vs. Gill
Williams is a double-double machine.He is averaging just under 19 points per game, and 11 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 63 percent. Williams is coming off a career high 26 points against Keensaw State.
Virginia is still awaiting London Perrantes' status after he had an appendectomy last week. Perrantes has missed the last two games for the Cavaliers, however, he practices with the 'Hoos for the first time on Sunday. Darius Thompson has stepped up in his spot for Bennett.
The game is set to tipoff at 7 P.M.