Virginia-Virginia Tech Preview
Superb defensive play is spurring Virginia's best season in more than three decades.
The 14th-ranked Cavaliers look to continue their stunning run by posting another victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday night while registering the most ACC road wins in school history.
The Cavaliers (21-5, 12-1) haven't held such an impressive record this late in a season since 1982-83, when they won 23 of their first 26 before finishing 29-5.
Their success this season is due in large part to yielding an average of 55.6 points, the lowest in the nation. Virginia also allows opponents to shoot a conference-low 38.4 percent from the floor.
That suffocating defensive play has the Cavaliers on a nine-game winning streak, their longest in ACC play since a 10-game run in 1981-82.
"Every time you taste success or do something well, that's a good deposit that you need and I think you can draw on that and not be rattled or flustered," coach Tony Bennett said.
Virginia's success is also coming on the road, where it is 6-1 in league action. The Cavaliers tied a school record for the most conference road victories in a season with a 63-58 win over Clemson on Saturday.
The Hokies (9-15, 2-10) may be the ideal opponent to help Virginia set a new mark. They are making 34.5 percent of their field goals and averaging 56.1 points in losing six of seven.
Virginia has also won four straight and six of seven in the series, including 65-45 at home Jan. 25. The Cavaliers held the Hokies to 33.3 percent shooting overall and 3 for 18 from 3-point range.
Malcolm Brogdon had 18 points for Virginia, and the sophomore guard is averaging 15.4 over the past five road games. He leads the Cavaliers with 12.3 points per game.
Joe Harris has totaled 35 points over the past two games, and he had 17 in a 74-58 victory in the most recent visit to Blacksburg on Jan. 24, 2013.
The Hokies have dropped 12 of their last 14, but they're feeling better after ending a 10-game slide with Saturday's 52-45 win over Miami.
"Our hard work is finally paying off," forward Jarell Eddie told the team's official website. "We've been through a lot this season, and we've continued to work hard. We've continued to believe."
Eddie is the team leader with 13.7 points per game, but he's averaging 7.8 on 22.2 percent shooting - 8 for 29 from 3-point range - over the past four games. The senior made just 2 of 7 shots to finish with seven points Saturday.
Eddie has averaged 5.0 points in six career meetings with the Cavaliers, scoring seven last month.
Freshman guard Devin Wilson had 12 points in that matchup, making him the only Hokie to score more than seven.
Virginia Tech has dropped seven straight and 12 of its last 13 against ranked opponents.