Sixth-ranked Virginia has never missed an ACC-Big Ten Challenge. This week marks the 17th annual battle between teams from two of the top conferences in the country, as the Cavaliers enter their matchup Wednesday night with Ohio State in Charlottesville, Va. riding a two-game win streak in the competition.
On the flip side, the Buckeyes have dropped two straight in the challenge and take on Virginia for the second straight season.
Virginia knocked off Ohio State in Columbus 64-58 last year behind 22 points from Malcolm Brogdon, who now plays for the Milwaukee Bucks. Point guard London Perrantes missed last season's game after an appendectomy but will be at full strength this season. Perrantes is coming off of a tournament MVP award at the Emerald Coast Classic last weekend that saw the Cavaliers take home the title with wins over Iowa and Providence.
Providence head coach Ed Cooley had high praise for the 6-foot-2 senior point guard.
“He might be one of the most poised basketball players I have ever seen play the game of basketball,” Cooley said after the Friars' loss to the Cavaliers.
Perrantes put in 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists to help Virginia stay unbeaten at 6-0 this season.
Ohio State is coming off of a 41-point win over Marshall on Friday and also enters Wednesday night's game at 6-0. The Buckeyes have spread the wealth so far this season as they boast six players averaging at least 10 points per game. Thad Matta's squad is led by Jae'Sean Tate who is scoring at a 14 points per game clip and is pulling down seven rebounds per game. He will be a handful for Virginia's frontcourt.
The Buckeyes will likely not come close to their 111-point outing against Marshall as Virginia enters Wednesday with the nation's top scoring defense. Providence scored 52 points against the Cavaliers and became the highest-scoring Virginia opponent this season. Iowa managed just 41 points against the Cavaliers in Friday night's game after they came in averaging 94 points per game. The Hawkeyes followed up that performance by scoring 92 points against Memphis.
Bottom line is, Virginia's defense is already in mid-season form just six games into the season.
Ohio State ranks 33rd in the country in rebounding as they pull down and average of 41 per game but they might be tested by a Virginia team that is outrebounding its opponents by 13.
Bench scoring has been a key for the Cavaliers and it should continue to be as Perrantes and guard Darius Thompson became the first starters to lead the Cavaliers in scoring when they tallied 11 points apiece against Providence. Freshman Kyle Guy continues to shine for Virginia as he provides a spark off of the bench for Tony Bennett's team.
The Cavaliers look to improve on their 10-6 record in the challenge while Ohio State looks to even up its 7-8 record.