January 28, 2014

Preview: UVa to face Notre Dame

After coasting to its sixth ACC win in Saturday's 65-45 victory over Virginia Tech, UVa closes the first half of its conference slate with two tough road games. The first comes tonight when the Wahoos travel to South Bend for their first ever conference meeting with Notre Dame (9 p.m., ESPNU).


The game against the Fighting Irish will be Virginia's first against any of the three new conference members as Notre Dame is the only newcomer the Cavaliers will face twice this season.


The Irish enter the contest at 11-9 overall with a 2-5 mark in conference play. Head coach Mike Brey has had plenty to deal with in his team's first ACC season as they've lost five of their last six, most recently falling on the road to Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon.


Virginia doesn't have the same long history with Notre Dame that the Wahoos do with most of their other league foes but 33 years ago, the Irish ended UVa's 28-game winning streak and knocked off the then No. 1-ranked Cavaliers in game that still invokes plenty of hard feelings among fans.


More recently, Notre Dame has been one of the more consistent programs in college basketball. Since Brey took over in 2000, the Irish haven't had a single losing season and have played in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT every year. This season, Notre Dame may struggle to keep that streak alive, as the Irish have struggled in their first conference season, absent the team's best player.


When they lost Jerian Grant to academic suspension, they lost not only their best player but it cost them a lot of momentum, despite beating Duke at home in the team's first-ever game in the ACC.


UVa may have had to fight its way through a mean snow storm and sub-zero temperature but the Wahoos come in with a lot of confidence. But this could be a difficult game for the Cavaliers, likely with a closer finish than the six double-digit ACC wins where the Hoos have led by 20 or more points each time.


As we get you set for this one between UVa and Notre Dame, we've taken a look at the Fighting Irish and we've broken down what fans should expect to see go down in South Bend tonight.


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