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Virginia Basketball at LSU: Preview Ticket and Game Thread

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What: No. 21/23 Virginia Cavaliers (12-1, 0-0 ACC) vs. LSU Tigers (10-3, 0-0 SEC)

Time: 7:00 p.m.
Date: January 2, 2012
Place: Pete Maravich Assembly Center
TV: ESPN3
Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network

Spread: Virginia -3, Pomeroy: Virginia 56-54 (60%)
Last Meeting: 2011; Virginia 64, LSU 50
Last Time Out: LSU 69, Grambling State 37
Series: Virginia leads 2-0

The Cavaliers are coming off their lowest shooting percentage game of the season to take on the LSU Tigers in the final out of conference game of the season. Virginia will be looking for their first 13-1 start since the 1981-82 season, when the Cavaliers earned a No. 1 seed and made the Sweet Sixteen.

The Tigers were originally picked to finish ninth in the SEC, but are now one of three teams tied for fourth in the conference with a 10-3 record. Ken Pomeroy ranks LSU 22nd in the country in defense, easily the highest-ranked defensive team the Cavaliers (No. 14 in the same category) have played this season (George Mason checks in next at No. 57).

More follows the jump.

VIRGINIA'S PROBABLE STARTERS

G Jontel Evans
Jr. 6.2 ppg
1.8 rpg
3.3 apg
C Assane Sene Sr. 5.3 ppg 4.0 rpg
1.1 blk
G Joe Harris So. 12.9 ppg 3.8 rpg 1.6 apg
G Sammy Zeglinski Sr. 9.6 ppg 2.7 rpg 2.9 apg
F Mike Scott Sr. 16.3 ppg 9.0 rpg 1.7 apg

LSU'S PROBABLE STARTERS

G Anthony Hickey Fr. 8.8 ppg
3.8 rpg
4.1 apg
F Eddie Ludwig
Jr. 2.8 ppg 2.8 rpg
2.7 apg
G Ralston Turner So. 10.5 ppg 2.6 rpg 1.5 apg
F Johnny O'Bryant III
Fr. 8.2 ppg 6.5 rpg
C Justin Hamilton Jr. 11.6 ppg 6.8 rpg 1.3 blk

I'm glad Virginia plays LSU this year and not next, as the Tigers have two freshmen in the starting lineup and no seniors. Both of the freshmen average over 8 points a game, including six double-figure scoring games. The Tigers are on a 7-game win streak (Virginia's on a 10-game streak) and lead the conference in offensive rebounds.

Virginia has only 11.8 turnovers per game, good for 27th in the country, but will need to take particular care of the ball tonight, as the Tigers are 24th in the country in steals at 8.9 per game, and Anthony Hickey individually is No. 11 in the country at 2.6 steals per game.

Here are some other facts that may or may not have any meaning:

  • Virginia is 0-12 all time on the road against SEC schools, though tonight is only the second road game against an SEC team in 17 seasons.
  • Virginia ranks No. 2 in the country in scoring defense at 50.3 points per game and is No. 2 nationally in points allowed per possession (0.81)
  • Virginia held each of its first 10 opponents to under 60 points, the longest streak in the ACC since the shot clock era.

Leave your pre-, in- and post-game thoughts here.