The fifth ranked Virginia men's basketball team finished one of the toughest non-conference schedule in program history with a 11-1 record-finished with a ten game winning streak. Now the Cavaliers will hope the strenth of their schedule will benefit them in conference play.
“We’ve been saying from the jump that it was going to help us," said UVA guard London Perrantes. "We had some tough games compared to the last two years that I’ve been here. We want to play in those games. I feel like if you don’t want to play in those games, you shouldn’t be at this level.
"I feel like we all stepped up at different times; there is always somebody new stepping up for us. It shows that we can do different things at different times and we can play with the best of them. We’ve won some close games and we’ve won some big things and that will definitely help us down the road.”
The Cavaliers begin ACC play hosting last year's tournament champions, Notre Dame.
"They are a really good team," said UVA forward Anthony Gill. "They have a lot of guys that played in their run that they had last season back on the team. They have really good guards, Zach Auguste is a really good big that they have for them. They have good role players as well."
Behind Enemy Lines
The Fighting Irish are coming into the game fresh off a 73-56 win over Liberty. Mike Brey's men are 9-3 and have strung together five wins in the last six.
Notre Dame return plenty of contributors from last year's team, who almost knocked out Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, however, they lost Jerian Grant and Pat Connaughton, and are not as deep this season because of it.
Like all Brey teams, his side is very balanced offensively with all of his starters averaging ten point per game. Notre Dame is averaging 79 points per game and are hitting 49.6 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from three-point range. Defensively, however, the Irish are struggling. They are allowing just under 68 points per contests with opponents shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from the outside.
Players to Watch
Demetrius Jackson leads the Irish with 16.3 points per contest. The junior point guard is hitting 51 percent from the field and just over 37 percent from outside the arc.
Zach Auguste has improved tremendously under Brey. He is hitting 55.9 percent of his shots this season. He is averaging 14.3 points per game and more importantly for the big man, 10.3 rebounds a game.
Finally V.J. Beachem is one to watch from three-point range. He is hitting 47.4 percent from the outside, 46.7 from the field.
The game is set to tipoff at 5 P.M. at the John Paul Jones Arena