|9:00 AM PT10:00 AM MT11:00 AM CT12:00 PM ET5:00 PM GMT1:00 PM 北京时间10:00 AM MST12:00 PM EST, Mar 11, 2021
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
No. 16 Virginia looks to enhance reputation against Syracuse
For Virginia's Sam Hauser, the Atlantic Coast Conference will be a brand-new experience.
"I'm a new face to this area of the world," the Marquette transfer said.
The new face has helped the No. 16 Cavaliers achieve a familiar result, leading them in scoring and helping them earn the top seed for the ACC tournament. Their first game in the event occurs Thursday in Greensboro, N.C. against eighth-seeded Syracuse.
After sitting out last season following his transfer from Marquette, all Hauser's done this year is average 15.8 points per game and 6.8 rebounds while connecting on 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers. In Saturday's 68-58 win at Louisville that sealed the ACC's regular-season crown, Hauser pumped in a season-high 24 points.
"I'm so proud of Sam and what he did for us to win that game, to win that championship," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "He put us on his back for stretches in a dominant performance."
The Cavaliers (17-6) figure to be a top four regional seed for next week's NCAA Tournament, but could help their stock by capturing the ACC tourney crown. And while it's forgotten by some because of the cancellation of last year's NCAA tourney, they are the defending champions after prevailing in 2019.
Jay Huff and Trey Murphy are Virginia's other double-figure scorers at 13.1 and 11.1 ppg, respectively. Huff converts 59.2 percent of his field goal attempts, leads the team in rebounding at 6.9 per game and has also blocked 58 shots.
With Kihei Clark supplying 9.5 ppg and 4.5 assists per game, the Cavaliers have been a pretty efficient offensive team. They average 68.5 ppg on 48.1 percent shooting while committing only 9.3 turnovers per game.
Syracuse got a taste of Virginia at its best on Jan. 25 in Charlottesville, where the Cavaliers routed the Orange 81-58 behind 21 points each from Hauser and Huff. Virginia converted 14 of 31 3-pointers and drew assists on 23 of its 29 made buckets.
Syracuse (16-8) figures to be the more desperate team in this one. The Orange might be playing for an NCAA Tournament bid after handling North Carolina State 89-68 in Wednesday's first game behind 27 points from Buddy Boeheim.
While Buddy's dad, Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim, believes his team is safely in the field based on its recent form and a spate of impressive home-court wins, others disagree. The Orange are just 1-6 against Quad 1 opponents like the Cavaliers.
"The seven Quad 1 games we played were all on the road," Boeheim said. "We didn't get an opportunity to play a Quad 1 game at home this year. I think we are 12-2 in Quad 2 and 3 after today. I think we did what we needed to do this year, but we'll see what happens."
One issue not for debate is that Buddy Boeheim is a legitimately good player. He's averaging 16.5 ppg in the best season of his career, and has shown the ability to score off the dribble or finish at the rim, things he couldn't consistently do his first two years.
Illinois transfer Alan Griffin adds 15.2 ppg and also blocks 1.7 shots per game, providing solid rim protection.
--Field Level Media
Updated March 10, 2021