Virginia (7-2) at Green Bay (4-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 5 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Resch Center (9,729) -- Green Bay, Wisconsin. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Virginia 4-2, Green Bay 2-1. Away Record: Virginia 0-0, Green Bay 0-0. Neutral Record: Virginia 3-0, Green Bay 2-1. Conference Record: Virginia 0-0, Green Bay 0-0. Series Record: Virginia leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Playing their first true road game of the season, the Virginia Cavaliers are set to tangle with the Green Bay Phoenix in non-conference action at the Resch Center.
Not only did Virginia, now coached by former Green Bay standout Tony Bennett, fall to Wisconsin on Wednesday night at home, the team did so in agonizing fashion as it scored a mere 38 points, the team's lowest total since bowing to UConn by a final of 77-36 on Nov. 29, 1993. The 10-point setback snapped a six-game win streak by the Cavaliers and was just the second loss of the campaign after a 59-56 defeat at the hands of VCU in the second game of the season.
The Phoenix have been out of action for a week now, having last hit the hardwood during the third-place game of the Great Alaska Shootout versus Tulsa. The team managed to pull out a 67-59 win, the second in three tries in the event. While Green Bay opened the tourney with a 97-89 victory over Pepperdine on Thanksgiving,. the team then bowed to Harvard the following night, 76-64, which means the Phoenix have won three of their last four outings overall.
In terms of the all-time series between these two teams, the Cavs own a 2-0 advantage over Green Bay.
Converting just eight field goals on 27 attempts in the first half Wednesday night was bad enough, the Cavs also sinking a mere 1-of-6 behind the 3-point line, but the team then went on to make a dismal 3-of-20 from the floor in the second half in one of the worst performances in program history. Virginia missed all five chances beyond the arc in the frame and ended up scoring almost as many points at the free-throw line (15) as it did from the floor overall. In the end, Virginia converted a miserable 23.4 percent from the field and 9.1 percent on the perimeter as London Perrantes emerged as the top scorer for the group with eight points on 2-of-5 shooting from the field.
Virginia has had a different leading scorer in each of the last four games, which isn't all that much of a surprise seeing as how no one performer is even averaging 12.0 ppg at the moment. At the top of the list are Joe Harris and Malcolm Brogdon with 11.2 and 10.1 ppg, respectively, as the unit generates just 66.1 ppg. The Cavs do perform well on the glass, owning a rebounding advantage of more than 10 per contest, but that tends to be offset by their mere 62.5 percent accuracy at the free-throw line. Defensively, there are few teams in the country that are as tough as Virginia, with the group holding opponents to just .52.9 ppg on 36.2 percent shooting from the field.
Green Bay shot only 34.6 percent from the floor in the first half against the Golden Hurricane, including 1-of-6 behind the 3-point line, but the squad trailed by only three points at the break. Over the final 20 minutes Green Bay again shot under 40 percent from the floor, but managed to make good on 3-of-8 beyond the arc and a perfect 12-of-12 at the free-throw line in order to pull out the win. Keifer Sykes erupted for 25 points and nine assists for the squad and in the process became the 26th player in program history to reach 1,000 points for his career. Also hitting for double figures in the outing were Greg Mays and Alec brown with 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Jordan Fouse offset a disappointing scoring effort (four points) with 11 rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Sykes leads the team in scoring after six games with 22.8 ppg, hitting on a solid 50.0 percent from the field overall and 87.0 percent at the free-throw line. However, his efforts on the perimeter have been less than stellar with just 19.2 percent accuracy on 26 attempts. Brown checks in with 11.7 ppg and while his 6.3 rpg is not quite up to his standards, he does still bring an interior presence that is responsible for 22 blocked shots. Fouse (3.3 ppg) is not much of an offensive force, but having him on the floor ensures the team has a hard worker on the glass (9.0 rpg) and someone who can also alter shots (15 blocks).
With plenty of returning experience this season, the Phoenix can not be seen as an easy target for Virginia again. Instead, the Cavaliers will have to put a real effort into working the interior if they hope to remain perfect against Green Bay.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 68, Green Bay 58
12/07 10:35:13 ET