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Nov. 29, 2005


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The Game
Virginia enters tonight’s game with a 2-1 record after falling to ninth-ranked Arizona 81-51 (Nov. 27) in Tucson, Ariz. UVa finished the 2004-05 season with an overall record of 14-15 and had a 4-12 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Northwestern stands at 3-2 on the season. The Wildcats are coming off a 59-49 loss to DePaul (Nov. 26) in Rosemont, Ill. Northwestern finished the 2004-05 season with a 15-16 overall record and a 6-10 mark in the Big Ten.

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Tonight’s game against Northwestern is part of the seventh annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge, a three-day series matching two of the nation’s top basketball conferences. Over the past seven years, the ACC and Big Ten have dominated the Final Four with the two leagues providing 16 of the 28 Final Four teams during that span.

The Cavaliers are 3-2 in ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchups. Last season, Virginia picked up its second consecutive win in the series with a 48-44 victory over Northwestern (Dec. 1) in Evanston, Ill. In 2003-04, 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 six ACC/Big Ten Challenges. Last season, the ACC won the Challenge 7-2, after winning the 2003 series by an identical 7-2 count. The ACC won by 5-4 margins in 1999, 2000 and 2002, and 5-3 in 2001. The ACC is 34-19 in the Challenge vs. the Big Ten.

The Series vs. Northwestern
Tonight’s game is the second meeting between Northwestern and Virginia in the sport of men’s basketball. The Cavaliers won the initial meeting in last season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge 48-44 (Dec. 1) in Evanston, Ill.

Virginia vs. the Big Ten
Virginia is 15-15 all-time against the 11 current Big Ten schools. UVa is 1-0 vs. Purdue and Northwestern, 5-2 vs. Penn State, 4-1 vs. Minnesota, 1-1 vs. Wisconsin, 1-2 vs. Indiana and Michigan, 1-3 vs. Ohio State, 0-1 vs. Iowa and 0-3 vs. Michigan State. The Cavaliers have never faced Illinois. Prior to last season’s win over Northwestern, UVa’s last game against a Big Ten school was an 86-78 win over Minnesota (Dec. 3) at University Hall in the 2003 season’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The last time the Cavaliers faced a Big Ten team in a game not associated with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was in the 2002-03 season. UVa fell to then 19th-ranked Indiana 70-63 in the championship game of the Maui Invitational (Nov. 27).

Last Season vs. Northwestern
The Cavaliers passed their first road test of the season as they clawed their way to a 48-44 victory over Northwestern (Dec. 1) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

Elton Brown led the way as he notched his third consecutive double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Brown scored 12 points and pulled down nine rebounds in helping the Cavaliers take a 23-19 halftime lead. Devin Smith was the only other UVa player to reach double figures in scoring as he had 10 points and made two of Virginia’s three three-point field goals.

Virginia took an early lead only to see Northwestern pull ahead 13-8 midway through the first half. The Cavaliers scored the final eight points of the first stanza to take a 23-19 halftime edge. Neither team shot a free throw in the first half.

The Wildcats opened the second half with a 13-6 run to grab a 32-29 lead with 14:26 to play in the game. UVa came back to take its biggest lead of the game, 44-37, on Sean Singletary’s jumper with 5:22 to play. The scrappy Wildcats scored the next seven points to knot the contest at 44-44 with 2:30 to go, but did not score again. A pair of free throws by J.R. Reynolds with 2:11 left put the Cavaliers ahead to stay, 46-44.

Vedran Vukusic led Northwestern with 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots, while Davor Duvancic added 10 points.

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