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November 29, 2011

UVa, Michigan set to meet in ACC/Big 10 Challenge

UVa plays its first ranked opponent of the 2011-2012 season on Tuesday night when the Cavaliers host No. 14 Michigan at John Paul Jones Arena in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. (7 p.m., ESPN2)

Though both teams are 5-1 entering the game, the Wolverines will be the highest ranked non-conference opponent to play at JPJ since Arizona, ranked tenth at the time, played the Cavaliers in the arena's first game on Nove. 12, 2006.

The game against the Wolverines will be the first meeting between UVa and Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the fourth time these two have ever played. UM leads the series 2-1.

The last time these two teams met was in the 1989 NCAA Tournament when the Wolverines defeated Virginia 102-65 in the finals of the Southeast Regional on their way to winning the national championship.

Virginia had success in its game in last year's Challenge, winning 87-79 at Minnesota. The Cavaliers have a 6-5 record in the Challenge while Michigan comes in at 4-6.

After losing to TCU in this season's third game, the Cavaliers have won three straight, including a 68-42 victory over Green Bay at home last Friday.

In that game, senior forward Mike Scott had the 26th double-double of his career and the second of the young season, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Also coming up big for the Hoos in that win was sophomore guard KT Harrell who came off the bench to score 14.

Scott is the leading scorer and rebounder for the Cavaliers this season, averaging 14.8 points and 10 rebounds per game.

Sophomore guard Joe Harris is second in points with an average of 11.7.

Five other Wahoos are averaging between 7.7 and 5.0 points a game, including Harrell (7.7), senior center Assane Sene (6.8), junior guard Jontel Evans (6), freshman guard Malcolm Brogdon (5.8) and senior guard Sammy Zeglinski (5).

Zeglinski, who has battled ankle injuries at early in the season, was hurt during the win over Green Bay and his status for the Michigan game is still undetermined.

Meanwhile, the Wolverines come to Charlottesville with a solid 5-1 record with the team's only loss coming to Duke 82-75.

Michigan has beaten top-10 Memphis by 12 and UCLA by 16 and is led by sophomore guard Tim Haradway, Jr..

Hardaway, whose father Tim played in the NBA from 1989 to 2003, is averaging 17.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3 assists a game for coach John Beilein.

Freshman guard Trey Burke is averaging 11.0 points, 3 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game while senior guard Zack Novak is averaging 9.8 points and 4 rebounds a game.

Sophomore forward Evan Smotrycz is Michigan's leading rebounder with an average of 5 boards per game to go along with 8.2 points.

This looks to be one of the premier coaching matchups of this year's ACC/Big 10 Challenge with UVa's Tony Bennett facing Beilein for the first time.

Virginia has held each of its first six opponents under 60 points and is ranked first among ACC teams in scoring defense (45.3 points per game) and field goal percentage defense (33.5 percent, 94-281).

Michigan, meanwhile, is only allowing 56.8 points per game but scoring 68.2 to UVa's 62.7.

According to a release from UVa, former All American Ralph Sampson, who was recently inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, will be recognized at halftime.

Sampson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on November 20 in Kansas City. He is the first UVa player to be inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.


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