January 2, 2014

Preview: Wahoos set to face FSU

After finishing the non-conference slate with an embarrassing 87-52 loss at Tennessee on Monday night, UVa finally turns its attention to conference play this weekend as the Cavaliers travel to Tallahassee to face the Florida State Seminoles this Saturday (5 p.m., ESPN2).

UVa and FSU met twice last season, with the Hoos routing the Noles in Charlottesville before dropping a heartbreaker on the road in the final week of the regular season. This weekend's tilt will be the first of two meetings this season, with the game in Charlottesville coming in about two weeks.

Entering Saturday's game, Virginia appears to be a team that is trending down while FSU, thanks to a long and athletic roster that seems to be coming together nicely, is on the uptick.

The Cavaliers sort of treaded water throughout the non-conference slate, going 9-4 and losing all of the games that would have been viewed as "good" wins. Getting blown out by the Vols could serve the Cavs well and wake them up heading into ACC play...or it could have simply exposed them as a team being weighed down by expectations and perhaps overvalued heading into the season. There's no doubt that how UVA responds given its last game is a huge storyline in this game.

The Seminoles, meanwhile, are 9-3 heading into the new year but all three of their losses (to Michigan, Florida, and Minnesota) came to good teams and all were away from home.

At the same time, Virginia hasn't won a true road game yet this season and hasn't won in the state of Florida in its last 17 tries. The Wahoos haven't won in Tallahassee since February 2001.

Make no mistake: This game is a huge opportunity for Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers as they try to start 2014 on a positive note and prove that they are the team that fans thought they could be this season.

As we get you set for Saturday afternoon's ACC opener for both the Wahoos and Seminoles, we've taken a look at FSU's roster and broken down what fans should expect to see go down in the Donald L. Tucker Center.

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