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Weekend Previews: Jan. 31-Feb. 2

"The Skinny" on weekend matchups for men's and women's basketball, wrestling, swim and dive and women's tennis

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Men’s Basketball

What: Virginia (16-5, 7-1 ACC) at No. 18 Pittsburgh (18-3, 6-2 ACC)
Where: Pittsburgh, Pa.
When: Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
TV: ESPNU

The Skinny: The Virginia men’s basketball team continues its road tour of new ACC opponents this Super Bowl Sunday against Pittsburgh.

The Cavaliers are coming off two straight double-digit wins against teams in the bottom half of the ACC rankings, with victories against Notre Dame and Virginia Tech in the past week. Virginia will try to beat a ranked team for the first time this season after a close loss Jan. 13 against Duke and a double-digit loss against Wisconsin Dec. 4.

Pittsburgh is looking for a bounce-back win after losing Monday to Duke in a 15-point blowout at home. The Panthers have also not beaten a ranked team this season, losing Jan. 18 to ACC leader Syracuse, 59-54. After giving up a season-high 80 points to Duke, the Panthers will try to stop the Cavaliers, who shot more than 50 percent from the field Tuesday against the Fighting Irish.

The Cavaliers, first in the nation in points allowed per game this season, likewise want to limit the Panthers’ offensive production. Pittsburgh ranks 10th overall in assists per game thanks in large part to senior Lamar Patterson who also leads the team in points scored. Patterson was named ACC Player of the Week for a school record third time this week before Monday’s loss to Duke.

—compiled by Chanhong Luu

Women’s Basketball

What: Virginia (11-10, 4-4 ACC) vs. Clemson (11-11, 3-5 ACC)
Where: John Paul Jones Arena
When: Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Skinny: The Cavaliers’ matchup with the Tigers marks the beginning of the second half of regular-season ACC play for both teams. While Virginia coach Joanne Boyle talked about her team’s NCAA Tournament potential in the days leading up to the season, Virginia’s credentials for the Big Dance look questionable at this juncture. The Cavaliers scored conference wins against No. 23 Florida State and No. 8 Maryland last week, but after a nonconference season defined by inconsistent shooting displays, Virginia is straddling the .500 line.

The Tigers, who have a negative assist-to-turnover ratio and shoot 61.2 percent from the charity stripe, are in a similar situation. Clemson sits in the bottom third of the ACC standings, and after playing Virginia, the Tigers will take on No. 3 Duke, Maryland, and No. 18 NC State. Clemson has a double-figure scorer in junior guard Nikki Dixon, and junior guard Chelsea Lindsay is a constant court presence with 34.1 minutes per game.

For both Virginia and Clemson, the coming month may prove a season-deciding stretch. A Cavalier victory Sunday would certainly set the team on the right track going forward.

—compiled by Matthew Morris

Wrestling

What: No. 13 Virginia (13-3, 2-1 ACC) vs. Maryland (5-7, 1-2 ACC); vs. Bucknell (5-8, 2-2 EIWA)
Where: Memorial Gymnasium
When: Friday at 7 p.m. (Terrapins); Sunday 2 p.m. (Bison)

The Skinny: Virginia returns home for two dual meets this weekend. The Cavaliers end a long-standing conference rivalry Friday against Maryland. The two old foes will meet for the 63rd time, with Maryland holding a distinct advantage over Virginia throughout the series, 22-40. The Cavaliers come into this dual with a two match win streak against the Terrapins. Last year, Virginia defeated Maryland 21-19 in College Park.

The return of redshirt junior Gus Sako will bolster the Cavalier lineup. Sako, ranked in the top-10 nationally at 149 pounds, has missed the last month with an injury.

Sunday, the Cavaliers host EIWA opponent Bucknell. The two teams squared off earlier in the season at the Virginia Duals, when Virginia handily dispatched the Bison 31-9. Bucknell’s lineup is highlighted by junior Joe Stolfi, ranked as the 20th best heavyweight in the nation.

—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger

Swim & Dive

What: (Women) No. 9 Virginia (9-1) at No. 7 North Carolina State (6-3); (Men) No. 20 Virginia (5-4) at No. 21 North Carolina State (4-4)
Where: Raleigh, N.C.
When: Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Skinny: The Virginia men and women’s swimming and diving teams return to North Carolina this weekend to face North Carolina State.

The Cavaliers’ men’s and women’s teams both won against Duke last Friday before facing major swimming rival North Carolina last Saturday. The women’s team edged North Carolina in the final two events of the match, while the men’s team came up just short at the end.

North Carolina State’s men and women’s teams are coming off road losses to a ranked Minnesota team. Before facing Virginia, they will face in-state rival North Carolina Friday at 5 p.m. The matchup against Virginia will be North Carolina State’s last meet before the ACC Championships, which start Feb. 19.

Senior Jonathan Boffa, who has been named ACC Male Swimmer of the Week twice this season, leads the Wolfpack. Boffa won both his individual events, the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle, last weekend in the loss against the Gophers.

—compiled by Chanhong Luu

Women’s Tennis

What: No. 14 Virginia (1-0) vs. No. 44 VCU (2-2); vs. No. 33 South Carolina (2-0)
Where: Boar’s Head Sports Club
When: Jan. 31 at 3:30 p.m. (Rams); Feb. 2 at 12 p.m. (Gamecocks)

The Skinny: The Virginia women’s tennis team will host VCU and South Carolina this weekend in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers started the season with a 5-2 victory on the road against No. 40 William & Mary, making it six straight years they’ve won the season opener.

Virginia is led by sophomore and newly named captain Julia Elbaba, who appears at No. 11 in the national singles rankings. Elbaba claimed the singles crown at the U.Va. Winter Invite two weeks ago, and paired with freshman Rachel Pierson to take the double title.

The Rams fell in their two most recent outings against Memphis and Denver in the ITA Indoor Regionals. Virginia owns a slight 11-9 edge in the all-time series against the visitors from Richmond.

For South Carolina, the season has gotten off to a good start as they downed East Tennessee State and College of Charleston Jan. 18 in Columbia, S.C. The Gamecocks have no player ranked in the top-100 for singles, but are 4-0 in their history against the Cavaliers.

—compiled by Peter Nance


Published January 30, 2014 in Sports

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