Friday, February 26, 2010

Virginia takes its shot against mighty Duke

The Duke Blue Devils can clinch the top seed in the ACC tournament, it's their Senior Night, they've won 16 straight against Virginia and haven't lost to the Cavaliers in Durham since 1997. Other than that, UVa.'s chances look pretty good....

Friday's games

No. 21 Virginia (20-7, 8-4 ACC) at No. 6 Duke (23-4, 11-1 ACC), 8:30 p.m. (Comcast)
Duke excels at crashing the boards, forcing turnovers and generally disrupting an opponents' offense so the Cavaliers must be sharp on fundamentals like boxing out and being strong with the ball. And they'd better be sharp from the opening tip as teams that aren't prepared for Duke's aggression can get blown out early, especially on a night when they'll already be jacked up wanting to send their three seniors out in style. Virginia knows about Duke's knockout punch better than most - in last year's ACC Tournament quarterfinals the Blue Devils scored 17 of the first 19 points in a 76-53 rout of the Cavs. And this season, they scored 20 of the first 22 points in a 73-43 rout of the same Florida State team than on Monday nipped Virginia at the JPJ Arena. Can the Cavs spring the upset? They've played well of late, and any team with Monica Wright has to be taken seriously. But we'll know within the first 10 minutes if they'll even have a chance.

Richmond (16-11, 5-7 Atlantic 10) at George Washington, (6-19, 3-9 Atlantic 10), noon
The middle game of a bang-bang-bang three-game set - the Spiders hosted Temple Wednesday and will conclude the season Sunday at St. Louis. Richmond can finish no higher than an 8th seed in the A-10 tournament, and while the pairings aren't set yet, the most likely scenario has the Spiders winding up an 8th or 9th seed and opening tournament play with a second straight game against St. Louis. The Colonials are the more desperate team as they're currently 11th in the 14-team tournament and still have some work to do to qualify for the 12-team tourney field. The Spiders won by 31 over an injury-ravaged GW team on Jan. 18 in Richmond, but the Colonials have been playing more competitively of late.

Longwood (8-18) at North Carolina Central (9-16), 6:30 p.m.
Regular-season finale for the Lancers, who are 4-2 in their last six games are will be looking for their second straight road win (they beat Savannah State last Saturday) after winning just one of their first 14 road/neutral contests. Freshman Heather Tobeck has 45 blocks and needs three more to tie the school's single-season record. The Lady Eagles are 2-0 lifetime against Longwood and are coming off a respectable 76-63 loss at Wake Forest.

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