By Jeff White (firstname.lastname@example.org)
CHARLOTTESVILLE — When night falls on football’s national signing day, men’s basketball will step back into the spotlight at UVa.
In an ACC game at John Paul Jones Arena, Virginia (4-2, 13-6) hosts N.C. State (2-5, 14-8) at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
The Cavaliers routed defending NCAA champion North Carolina 75-60 in Chapel Hill on Sunday night. Wherever they’ve gone on Grounds since then, UVa’s players have been applauded for their feat.
“It’s nice to be recognized for some success, but it doesn’t mean anything if we come out and lay an egg tomorrow,” Virginia forward Will Sherrill said after practice Tuesday night. “So we’ve got to play well.”
The Wahoos’ second meeting with the Wolfpack comes before they’ve faced Maryland, Florida State, Clemson, Duke or Boston College this season.
UVa rallied to beat State 70-62 in Raleigh on Jan. 9. A win Wednesday night would give the ‘Hoos their first sweep of an ACC foe since 2007-08, when they beat Boston College 84-66 in Charlottesville and 79-74 in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Their familiarity with N.C. State should help the Cavaliers, Sherrill said. “But the main challenge for us is to not be overconfident heading into this game. They’re going to be gunning for us, because they want to avenge their last loss, and we need to come in with the same intensity and focus we had in the North Carolina game. And if we do that, we’ll be fine.”
To beat UNC is “a great accomplishment, but it only counts as one game in the standings,” Sherrill said. “So it’s no different than any other game, and it’s over with now, so we gotta focus on this next game. Because if we come out flat and overconfident, then N.C. State is going to take it to us, and we can’t have that happen.”
Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe says the ‘Hoos are “playing with great confidence right now,” and Tony Bennett is pleased that his players to feel good about themselves. He saw how shattered they were after Virginia’s overtime loss to Virginia Tech last week at JPJ.
“We had to kind of pick ourselves up from the floor,” Bennett said. “And then after a game against Carolina where we responded well — I was proud of our guys — now the challenge will be to, I guess, bring ourselves down from the high of that.
“That’ll be a great challenge to play against a team that we were fortunate to beat the first time.”
In the game in Raleigh, sophomore Sylven Landesberg led UVa with 23 points. Junior Mike Scott added 14 points and sophomore Sammy Zeglinski 10.
Virginia went 19 for 20 from the line at the RBC Center.
On facing the Wolfpack again, Bennett said, “I think most coaches will tell you at this point of the year, it’s so much about yourself. You have a grasp, having played the other team, and there certainly are going to be wrinkles each team will put in and adjustments to be made. I think you acknowledge it, but you get yourself as ready as you can and play to your strengths, and that will be important. You will certainly look at all their games, and the scouting is a big part of it, but the focus has to be as much on yourself, I think, as it does on the opposing team.”
To win Wednesday night, Bennett said, the Cavaliers need to play with the same urgency they showed against UNC.
“He always says to not get too high or not get too low,” Sherrill said, “and whether we win or lose, we’ve got to look at what we did wrong and correct those things and then look at what we did right and keep doing them.”