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The Big Preview: UVA and Syracuse get set for a rematch in the Dome

Taking a look at tonight’s matchup with the Orange.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers are now riding a six game winning streak and are second in the ACC. With just one game remaining in January, the ‘Hoos are playing probably as well as they have all season. The schedule is getting a bit tougher, beginning with this road rematch against the Syracuse Orange.

In the first matchup at JPJ, Virginia largely picked apart the Orange zone defense, knocking down 12-26 (46.2%) from downtown. They didn’t do as well on the interior, shooting just 40% on twos, but they still averaged 1.09 points per possession.

This is just beautiful basketball. Several things about this play are beautiful. The off-ball movement from Franklin, the patience and vision from Kihei Clark, and the shot itself, of course.

Virginia controlled that game from the get-go, opening up a double-digit lead less than 10 minutes into the game. And they did it without freshman sensation Ryan Dunn, who did not leave the bench against the Orange. Virginia led by nine at the half, and then opened the second half on a 12-0 run, eventually opening up a 23 point lead.

They scored with three point shots. I like this one. The ball movement and then the ball fake from McKneely.

They scored with offensive rebounds. Great feed from Clark on the initial shot.

And they even scored in transition. Reece with the steal, leading to Gardner with the lay-in.

But, the ‘Hoos went cold in the second half, not scoring for over seven minutes. After the drought ended, the Wahoos still had a double digit lead. But then Syracuse hit some late shots which made it feel closer.

Syracuse actually shot the ball very well overall (8-14, 57.1%), but they were 5-6 in the final 10 minutes after Virginia had opened a 20-point lead.

I mean that’s quite a shot. It’s desperation though.

Virginia mostly dominated the first matchup. Now they gotta do it on the road in a tough environment. If the ‘Hoos play the way they have been and avoid poor mistakes late in the game, this should be a win.