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ATLANTA, Ga.-The Virginia men’s basketball team opens play in the 59th annual Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament on Friday (March 9) at Philips Arena. The Cavaliers are seeded fourth in the tournament and play fifth-seeded NC State (21-11 overall/9-7 ACC) in the second quarterfinal game on Friday. NC State defeated Boston College 78-57 in the tournament’s first round on Thursday (March 8).

Virginia enters the 2012 ACC Tournament after compiling an overall record of 22-8 and a 9-7 record in the ACC during the regular season. UVa is coming off a 75-72 overtime victory at Maryland in the final game of the regular season last Sunday (March 4).

Senior forward Mike Scott scored a career-high 35 points and had 11 rebounds in the victory at Maryland. Senior guard Sammy Zeglinski added 20 points and six rebounds for the Cavaliers against the Terrapins.

Virginia’s quarterfinal game with NC State on Friday is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. or 30 minutes after the conclusion of the noon quarterfinal game that day between top-seeded North Carolina and eighth-seeded Maryland.

The Cavaliers’ game on Friday will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network. It will also be televised by the ACC Network and ESPN2 and will be carried by ESPN3.

UVa has an overall record of 31-57 in ACC Tournament play and won the tournament in 1976. Virginia lost to Miami 69-62 in overtime in the first round of last year’s tournament.

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) 2011-12 District III Coach of the Year on Tuesday (March 6). It is the second USBWA District Coach of the Year honor for Bennett. He was named the District IX Coach of the Year in 2007 when he was the head coach at Washington State. That same year he was the USBWA’s National Coach of the Year after leading Washington State to a 26-8 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cavaliers’ 9-7 ACC record marks the first time Virginia has finished regular-season ACC play with a winning record since going 11-5 in 2006-07. UVa’s 22 regular-season wins are the most in a regular season for the Cavaliers since the 1982-83 team won 25. Virginia also won nine road/neutral site games for the first time since the 1990-91 team won 10.

Scott, who was named a first-team All-ACC selection in voting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and a third-team All-America selection by Sporting News this week, leads Virginia in scoring and rebounding. He was also selected to the USBWA’s All-District III Team.

Scott is averaging 17.9 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, while shooting 57.3 percent (200-349) from the field and 81.4 percent (131-161) from the free-throw line. He ranked first among ACC players in field goal percentage, second in scoring, tied for fifth in rebounding and fifth in free throw percentage during the regular season.

Scott ranks 16th on Virginia’s career scoring list with 1,500 points, fourth in career rebounds with 928 and third in career double-doubles with 33.

Sophomore guard Joe Harris is also averaging in double figures in scoring for the Cavaliers with an average of 11.2 points a game and Zeglinski is averaging 8.8 points a game. Zeglinski ranks sixth among ACC players in steals (43, 1.5 spg. in 28 games).

Zeglinski ranks fifth on Virginia’s career list for three-pointers with 198, 11th on the career steals list with 152 and 12th on the career assists list with 306.

Evans leads the Cavaliers in assists (115) and steals (48) this season. He ranks fifth among ACC players in assists (3.8 apg.) and fourth in steals (1.6 spg.). Evans was named to the ACC’s All-Defensive Team on Monday (March 5).

As a team, Virginia ranks first in the ACC in scoring defense (53.2), rebounding defense (29.3) and defensive rebounding percentage (74.4 percent).

In statistics through Tuesday (March 6), the Cavaliers ranked first nationally in points allowed per possession (0.87), second in assists per game by opponents (8.0) and scoring defense, fourth in defensive rebounding percentage, sixth in opponents’ assist percentage (41.5 percent), ninth in opponents’ assist-to-turnover ratio (0.62), 14th in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.4 percent) and 19th in field goal percentage defense (39.1 percent). Virginia has allowed points on just 44.3 percent of its opponents’ possessions this season and ranks third nationally in that department.

Virginia played NC State once during the regular season and the Cavaliers beat the Wolfpack 61-60 in Raleigh, N.C., on Jan. 28. NC State holds a 12-2 advantage over the Cavaliers in games between the two teams in the ACC Tournament. The Wolfpack leads the overall series with Virginia 80-58, but the Cavaliers have won the last four games in the series.

If UVa wins on Friday, the Cavaliers will play in the tournament’s first semifinal game at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday (March 10) against the winner of Friday’s North Carolina-Maryland game.

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