Virginia Men's Basketball To Play Northwestern Wednesday In ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Nov. 30, 2004
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. –
Virginia enters tonight’s game with a 4-0 record, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons UVa has won its first four contests. The Cavaliers, ranked 24th in The Associated Press and 25th in the ESPN/USAToday Top 25 polls, are coming off an 85-58 victory over in-state rival Richmond on Sunday (November 28) at University Hall. Northwestern stands at 1-3 in 2004-05 and is coming off a 66-57 loss at Colorado on Sunday (November 28). Tonight’s game is Northwestern’s home opener. The Wildcats finished the 2003-04 season with a 14-15 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the Big Ten.
The ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Tonight’s game against Northwestern is part of the sixth annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a three-day series matching two of the nation’s top basketball conferences. Over the past six years, the ACC and Big Ten have dominated the Final Four with the two leagues providing 13 of the 24 Final Four teams during that span.
The Cavaliers are 2-2 in ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups. Last season, UVa defeated Minnesota 86-78 (Dec. 3) at University Hall. In the 2002-03 season, Virginia fell at Michigan State 82-75 (Dec. 4). In 2001, Virginia’s matchup against Michigan State (Nov. 28) in Richmond, Va., was halted with UVa leading 31-28 with 15:04 remaining in the second half due to slippery floor conditions (unseasonably warm temperature (70 degrees) combined with the ice surface under the playing court to produce condensation on the court). Virginia won its 2000 ACC/Big Ten Challenge game 98-79 over Purdue (Nov. 29) at University Hall. In the initial ACC/Big Ten meeting in 1999, Virginia fell to Minnesota 74-62 (Nov. 30) in Minneapolis.
The ACC has won the first five ACC/Big Ten Challenges. Last season, the ACC won the Challenge 7-2. The ACC won by 5-4 margins in 1999, 2000 and 2002, and 5-3 in 2001. The ACC is 27-17 in the Challenge vs. the Big Ten.
The Series vs. Northwestern
Tonight’s game is the first-ever meeting between Northwestern and Virginia in the sport of men’s basketball.
Virginia earned its first national ranking in nearly two years in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Cavaliers are ranked 24th in the AP Poll released Monday (November 29) with 235 points. Virginia is also ranked 25th in the ESPN/USAToday Poll. The last time UVa was ranked was in the 2002-03 season when it was 22nd in the AP Poll released December 2, 2002.
Here’s an interesting fact (thanks to Andrew Joyner of the Charlottesville Daily Progress). The last time UVa’s men’s basketball and football (currently 18th in the AP Poll) teams were ranked at the same time was the first week of December in 1996.
The Cavaliers have held their first four opponents to 60 or fewer points – Robert Morris (55), Arizona (60), Appalachian State (60), Richmond (58).
The last time UVa limited its first four opponents to 60 or less points was back in the 1979-80 season (the first season of the Ralph Sampson era) – Johns Hopkins (58), Georgia Tech (37), Randolph-Macon (55), Temple (52).
If UVa can limit Northwestern to 60 or fewer points, it would be the first time since the 1948-49 season that UVa has held its first five opponents to 60 or less points. In 1948-49, the Cavaliers held their first nine opponents to 60 or fewer points. The Wildcats enter tonight’s game averaging 57.8 points per game.