The Virginia Cavaliers face the Virginia Tech Hokies in Blacksburg tomorrow to avenge an unexpected 47-45 loss earlier this year in Charlottesville. The Hoos are coming off a 1-1 week, crushing the Terrapins 71-44, but falling earlier at Clemson 60-48. In today's AP Top 25, Virginia is hanging on at No. 25, but fell out of the rankings in the Coaches Poll.
The Hokies needed overtime and a buzzer beater trey to top Georgia Tech this past weekend, 74-73. They improved to 15-12 overall and 4-8 in the conference.
What's changed since the last meeting between the two? For one, starting forward Victor Davila likely will not be playing this time around. The 6-8 senior has a groin injury that Hokies head coach Seth Greenberg described as "severe" following Saturday's game. Davila has missed the last two games for the Hokies, and will be undergoing an MRI on Tuesday.
Even though Davila put up just two points and no blocks in the first contest, he was key for the Hokies in defending Mike Scott, challenging shots and doing a good job of keeping the ball out of Scott's hands. He pulled in five rebounds, the second-best for the team in that matchup.
For the Cavaliers, the last meeting was the first game the Hoos played without senior Assane Sene, who injured his ankle in the prior contest against Georgia Tech. The Cavaliers have had some time to gel as a team without Sene's defensive presence on the court, but in the meantime, has had the misfortune of having Virginia's second-leading scorer Joe Harris breaking his non-shooting hand.
Harris, who had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting, has struggled with an average of just four points and three rebounds per game over the last two games, since he broke his hand. Harris had been shooting 41.2% from beyond the three-point arc, but has gone 0 for 5 since.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett addressed the injuries Monday afternoon on the ACC teleconference. He expects Harris's swelling to go down significantly over the next few days, but was less optimistic regarding Sene's return this season, stating that Sene is only about 50% weight-bearing, and still on crutches.
In the last meeting, Sammy Zeglinski was already ice cold, so any production from Zeglinski would be improvement. The senior guard shot 0 for 7 from the field, including 0 for 6 from three, with all five of his points coming from the charity stripe.
The Cavaliers are in a somewhat of a must-win situation if the Hoos are to make the postseason this year. Virginia is 7-5 in the conference with just four games to go, two of which are against 10-ACC-win teams Florida State and North Carolina at home, both of whom Virginia has already lost to once this year.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.