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Dec. 2, 2002


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The Game
Virginia (2001-2002: 17-12/7-9 ACC), ranked 22nd in the latest AP Poll, stands at 3-1 this season. UVa finished second in the Maui Invitational (Nov. 25-27), falling to then 19th-ranked Indiana 70-63 (Nov. 27) in the championship game at the Lahaina Civic Center. Michigan State (2001-2002: 19-12/10-6 Big Ten) is ranked 21st in the AP Poll and stands at 2-2 on the season. The Spartans won one of three games at the Great Alaska Shootout (Nov. 28-30), including a 64-61 loss to Oklahoma State (Nov. 30) in their last game.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Tonight’s game against Michigan State is part of the fourth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a three-day series matching two of the nation’s top basketball conferences. Over the past four years, the ACC and Big Ten have dominated the Final Four with the two leagues providing 11 of the 16 Final Four teams during that span.

The Cavaliers were to play Michigan State in last year’s ACC/Big Ten meeting (Nov. 28), but the game was halted with UVa leading 31-28 with 15:04 remaining in the second half due to slippery floor conditions (see the note on page two for more information on last year’s game). Virginia won its 2000-2001 ACC/Big Ten Challenge game 98-79 over Purdue (Nov. 29) at University Hall. In the initial ACC/Big Ten meeting in the 1999-2000 season, Virginia fell to Minnesota 74-62 (Nov. 30) in Minneapolis.

The ACC won the first two ACC/Big Ten Challenges by identical 5-4 margins. Last year, the ACC also won the series by taking five of the eight games played.

Cavaliers Earn First National Ranking
Virginia made its season debut at 22nd in the Associated Press Poll released December 2. UVa received 312 points and is ranked right behind Michigan State. The Cavaliers have been in the “Others Receiving Votes” portion of the preseason and first two regular season AP polls.

The Series vs. Michigan State
Tonight’s game is just Virginia’s third meeting with Michigan State and the first since the 1948-49 season (not including last year’s halted game). The Spartans won the first two meetings, 51-46 in 1946-47 and 62-43 in 1948-49.

Previous ACC Challenge
Virginia was the only ACC school to win all three games in the ACC/Big East Challenge, held during the 1989-90 through 1991-92 seasons. In the ACC/Big East Challenge, UVa defeated Villanova (73-65 in 1989-90), Pittsburgh (84-80 in 1990-91) and Georgetown (76-66 in overtime in 1991-92).

Virginia vs. the Big Ten
Virginia is 13-14 all-time against the 11 current Big Ten schools. UVa is 1-0 vs. Purdue, 5-2 vs. Penn State, 3-1 vs. Minnesota, 1-1 vs. Wisconsin, 1-2 vs. Indiana and Michigan, 1-3 vs. Ohio State, 0-1 vs. Iowa and 0-2 vs. Michigan State. The Cavaliers have never faced Illinois and Northwestern. In their last game against a Big Ten school, the Cavaliers fell to Indiana in the championship game of the Maui Invitational in their last game (Nov. 27).

Last Year’s Michigan State Game Cancelled
Virginia’s game against Michigan State in the 2001 ACC/Big Ten Challenge November 28 at the Richmond Coliseum was halted with UVa leading 31-28 with 15:04 left in the contest due to wet floor conditions. The unseasonably warm temperature (70 degrees) combined with the ice surface under the playing court produced condensation on the court which caused slippery conditions and forced the game to be halted. The game was not completed or replayed.

Tough Early Season Schedule
The Cavaliers have already played two nationally-ranked teams (Kentucky and Indiana) this season and tonight’s game against Michigan State will be the third ranked team UVa has played in its first five games of the season. It is the first time in school history the Cavaliers have played three of their first five games of the season against ranked teams. In the 1963-64, 1968-69, 1991-92 and 1996-97 seasons, UVa played two ranked teams in the first five games of the season.

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