Weekend Previews: Feb. 7-9
"The Skinny" on weekend matchups for men's basketball, wrestling, swim and dive, women's tennis and track and field
What: Virginia (18-5, 9-1 ACC) at Georgia Tech (12-11, 3-7 ACC)
Where: Atlanta, Ga.
When: Saturday at 12 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia has been red-hot since ACC play began, compiling a six-game winning-streak. Last Sunday, the Cavaliers defeated their first ranked opponent when they won at then-No. 18 Pittsburgh on a last-second three-point shot from redshirt sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon. Virginia has won nine out of its 10 ACC games, with eight of those wins coming by double digits.
Boston College was the latest team to fall to the Cavaliers, 77-67, Wednesday at John Paul Jones Arena. Virginia jumped out to a 20-5 lead and entered halftime with a 19-point advantage due to the its stingy defense and ability to finish at the rim. The teams traded buckets for the first 15 minutes of the second half, only to have the Eagles make their run, cutting the Virginia lead down to six with 40 seconds to play. The Cavaliers were able to hold on, but their poor free-throw shooting allowed the near-comeback.
Georgia Tech has struggled in ACC play this season and lost its last game at Clemson, 45-41. The Yellow Jackets have four players averaging more than 10 points per game and are led in scoring by senior guard Trae Golden, who transferred from Tennessee before this season. Golden is expected to play Saturday against Virginia after re-aggravating a groin injury last week and sitting out against Clemson.
The Cavaliers will have to deal with senior center Daniel Miller, who is 6-foot-11 and averages 11.3 points and 8.0 rebounds. This could be a potential matchup problem for Virginia, who will need a strong effort from senior forward Akil Mitchell and sophomore center Mike Tobey to defend Miller and keep him off the glass.
Last season, Virginia lost 66-60 at Georgia Tech, going without a field goal for more than nine minutes down the stretch to blow a six-point lead. Later, when the Yellow Jackets came to Charlottesville, the Cavaliers cruised to a 28-point win.
—compiled by Andrew O’Shea
What: Senior Night, No. 12 Virginia (15-3, 3-1 ACC) vs. North Carolina (5-9, 0-3 ACC); vs. North Carolina State (12-4, 1-2 ACC)
Where: Memorial Gymnasium, Charlottesville, Va.; Raleigh, N.C.
When: Friday at 7 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Skinny: Virginia concludes the home portion of its schedule Friday against North Carolina. Before the match, the program will honor redshirt seniors Jon Fausey and Stephen Doty, as well as redshirt junior Tanner Hirstine on Senior Night. The No. 12 Cavaliers took both of their matches last week in Charlottesville and are seeking their fourth conference victory against a struggling Tar Heel team.
North Carolina is led by junior Evan Henderson. Henderson, the fourth-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds, currently holds a 29-3 record and presents a daunting matchup for No. 19 redshirt junior Joe Spisak. No. 2 redshirt junior Nick Sulzer will try to pick up his 28th win and 11th consecutive Friday.
The Cavaliers then turn their attention to North Carolina State in a Sunday afternoon dual in Raleigh, N.C. The Wolfpack are in the midst of a massive turnaround after their 2012-13 squad went 0-5 in the ACC. This season, all four of NC State’s losses came at the hands of a ranked opponent, including a narrow one-point home loss to then-No. 17 Virginia Tech.
Virginia will contend against two ranked members of the Wolfpack — freshman Pete Renda, the 19th-best at 174 pounds, and sophomore Nick Gwiazdowski, who is ranked sixth at heavyweight.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger
Swim and Dive
What: Senior Day, No. 7 Virginia Women (10-1) vs. Pittsburgh (6-2); No. 20 Virginia Men (5-5) vs. Pittsburgh (5-2)
Where: Aquatic and Fitness Center, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Saturday at 9:30 a.m. (diving) and 12:30 p.m. (swimming)
The Skinny: The Virginia men’s and women’s swim and dive teams return home for the first time since November to face Pittsburgh this weekend. The dual meet will be the first between the two programs as conference opponents. The Cavalier seniors will be honored this weekend at noon, between the swimming and diving events.
Virginia’s teams split their dual-meet against NC State last Saturday. The women’s team won 10 of its 16 events en route to a 178.5-115.5 win against the Wolfpack, while the men’s team suffered its second consecutive loss, 157-141.
Sophomore Courtney Bartholomew, one of three Virginia swimmers to win multiple events at NC State, was named ACC Female Swimmer of the Week for the second time this season — the third consecutive week a Cavalier swimmer has earned the honor. She placed first in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke. This is also the third straight week that a Cavalier swimmer has been given this honor.
Last week, Pitt’s men’s and women’s teams won a combined total of 28 out of 32 events on their way to victories against Carnegie Mellon, Clarion, Duquesne and Grove City at the Western Pennsylvania Invitational.
Pitt is led by coach Chuck Knoles in his 22nd season as the head coach of the Panthers. During Knoles’ tenure, he has led Pitt to 11 Big East Championships and personally won six Big East Men’s Swimming Coach of the Year awards. The Panthers are celebrating 100 years of men’s swimming and 40 years of women’s swimming. The men and women have combined for a record 28 Big East conference titles. The Panthers will attempt to continue this excellence against one of the premier swimming programs in the ACC.
Pitt has not faced ACC competition since a Nov. 9 dual meet against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. Both Panthers’ teams were easily routed, accounting for each team’s only two dual-meet losses.
—compiled by Chanhong Luu
What: No. 14 Virginia (3-0) at ITA National Team Indoor Championships
Where: Boar’s Head Sports Club, Charlottesville, Va.
When: Friday at 6:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m.; Monday at 11 a.m.
The Skinny: For the fourth straight year, the Virginia women’s tennis team will host the ITA National Team Indoor Championships this weekend. The 16-team competition boasts nine teams ranked in the top-10 nationally, including No. 2 Florida and last year’s winner, No. 3 North Carolina.
The Cavaliers, led by ACC Player of the Week Julia Elbaba, face top-seeded Florida (4-0) Friday. In their most recent match, the Gators swept No. 19 Baylor on the road to record their second sweep in a row.
The winner of the Virginia-Florida match will advance to play the winner of the match between eighth-seeded Texas A&M and Northwestern, while the loser will play in the consolation bracket. No. 7 Texas A&M upset North Carolina, the tournament’s second seed, 4-3 last Tuesday. The No. 16 Wildcats are looking to improve on last year’s tournament finish, where they were defeated in the quarterfinals.
Regardless of the match’s result, the Cavaliers are guaranteed to play three matches in the tournament. Should Virginia advance to the championship, the match will be played Monday at 11 a.m.
—compiled by Kristen Cauley
Indoor Track and Field
What: “Doc” Hale Virginia Tech Elite Meet
Where: Blacksburg, Va.
When: All day Friday and Saturday
Skinny: Virginia track and field returns to the oval following a two-week layoff. The Cavaliers are looking to build from a very strong showing at the Rod McCravy Meet in Lexington, Ky., where Virginia athletes set a host of personal bests across the spectrum of events.
The slew of personal records was due in part to the high level of competition present, and Virginia Tech has similarly invited many tough teams to compete this weekend. Expected to attend are Florida, whose men’s team is No. 2 and women’s team No. 4, Georgia, ranked 20th and fifth respectively, and Kentucky, which boasts the No. 8 women’s team.
The host program, Virginia Tech, will also be a difficult foe. The Hokies’ men’s team, the reigning ACC Champions, just dropped out of the latest rankings after being previously tabbed the 25th best program in the nation.
—compiled by Matthew Wurzburger