Syracuse will take on Virginia on Saturday, in what will be the de facto regular season championship game. Here is a quick look at the matchup:
ON THE VERGE OF HISTORY: Virginia has been a member of the ACC since 1953, and in the 60 years since then, the Cavaliers have won the regular season crown exactly one time — in 1981. That year, Ralph Sampson led Virginia to a 13-1 record in conference play, and the team eventually made it all the way to the Final Four. With a win over Miami on Wednesday, the Cavaliers ensured that they control their own destiny heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Orange. A win would boost Virginia to 16-1 on the season, while the Orange, who are currently second in the ACC, would drop its third conference game, mathematically eliminating them from contention.
SCOUTING THE CAVALIERS: This game is likely to be a low-scoring, defensive slugfest. KenPom ranks Virginia fourth in adjusted defensive efficiency at 89.5 (D-1 average is 104.5), while the Orange are at 92.4, good for ninth in the NCAA. Both teams also play among the slowest adjusted tempos in the country, with Virginia at 344th and SU right behind at 345th. Preseason All-ACC First Team selection Joe Harris averages 11.5 points on 42.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon leads the team in points (12.4) and is second on the team in rebounding (5.7).
HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: Syracuse is 3-1 all time against the Cavaliers. The last time these two teams met was on November 28, 2008, with the Orange winning 73-70 at the Carrier Dome. Jonny Flynn led the way with 15 points and six assists, while Eric Devendorf chipped in 14.
GAME INFORMATION: Saturday, March 1 at 4:00 p.m. at John Paul Jones Arena. TV: ESPN/WatchESPN.
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