All eyes will be on Charlottesville Saturday afternoon when the No. 12 ranked Virginia Cavaliers take on the No. 4 ranked Syracuse Orange, but first the Cavs must not slip up against the Miami Hurricanes Wednesday night (7 p.m., CSN). Virginia comes into the matchup against Miami on an 11-game win streak and fresh off a 70-49 thumping of Notre Dame.
Led by senior Joe Harris, Virginia is having one of its best seasons in years. At 23-5, and 14-1 in ACC play, Virginia is a lock for the NCAA Tournament and is climbing up in potential seeding. ESPN's Jay Bilas listed the Cavs as a team to watch in March. Virginia sits with a one-game lead over Syracuse in the hunt for the ACC regular season title with just three games remaining.
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Coach Tony Bennett has the Cavs playing strong defense, allowing just 55 points per game, No. 1 in the country. And with a deliberate pace of play slowing many games down, Virginia makes for a tough opponent.
After a brilliant 2012-13 season, the Hurricanes come into this one limping. At 14-13, with a 5-9 ACC record, Miami has little hopes of playing postseason hoops.
Still, Canes coach Jim Larranaga has a lot of familiarity with UVa. dating back to his days at George Mason and before that as an assistant for the Cavs. If the Wahoos look past Miami in anticipation of the Syracuse game on Saturday, the Canes could pull the upset. Miami has won its past two games and three of its last four. Larranaga teams are known for improving as the season goes on, and knocking Virginia from its perch could be a season-defining win for the Canes.