Day & Time: Saturday, January 7, 5:00 pm ET
Location: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.
Line: The Draftkings Line will be updated on the morning of the game.
TV/Streaming: ACC Network, WatchESPN
Virginia Blog: Streaking the Lawn
Rivalry: 11-6, Virginia
Current Streak: 3, Virginia
First Meeting: Syracuse was a three-seed heading into the 1984 NCAA tournament. Virginia earned a seven-seed and met the Orange in the Sweet 16. The Cavaliers pulled off a 63-55 upset to send Syracuse home. Pearl Washington only scored eight points in the loss. Virginia made it to the Final Four of the tournament, which was eventually won by Georgetown.
Last Meeting: Syracuse got a combined 35 points from the Boeheim brothers, but not much else. The poor Orange zone of last season allowed a lackluster Cavaliers offense to shoot 52.6% from the floor and give Virginia a 74-69 win.
Head Coaches: Syracuse - Jim Boeheim (47th year, 1,109-431) | Virginia - Tony Bennett (14th season, 326–120)
Coach Bio: Bennett still holds the NCAA record for career three-point field goal percentage at 49.7%. He shot over 50% during his junior and senior seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, playing for his father Dick Bennett. The younger Bennett would be selected 35th overall by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1992 NBA draft and play for three seasons in the NBA. He would play in New Zealand for two seasons with the North Harbour Vikings, becoming the team’s head coach during his second year.
After Bennett’s tenure in New Zealand, he joined his father as an assistant coach at Wisconsin and stayed there after he retired until 2003, when Dick Bennett came out of retirement to lead Washington State. The younger Bennett followed his father to the Cougars and was an assistant for one season before being promoted to associate head coach. He stayed in that role for two seasons until his father’s retirement in 2006 and subsequently became head coach of Washington State. The Cougars immediately won 26 games during Bennett’s first two seasons as head coach, making the NCAA tournament both times. Washington State went to the Round of 32 in Bennett’s first year and to the Sweet 16 in his second season.
After a down year in his third season at Washington State, Bennett became the head coach of Virginia. While the Cavaliers struggled in his first two seasons, Virginia has won at least 20 games and finished at least fifth in the ACC since then. Virginia has made the NCAA tournament eight times under Bennett and won the 2019 NCAA tournament.
Last Year: Virginia were one of the main casualties of the weak ACC last season as the Cavaliers missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2012-13 season. The Cavaliers made it to the quarterfinals of the NIT before losing to St. Bonaventure.
Last Game: A furious comeback from Pitt saw the Panthers claw back a 10-point deficit to Virginia at half time. Pitt eventually won 68-65, in large part due to 21 points off of turnovers.
“Fear Me, I’ve Killed Hundreds of Timelords”: Kihei Clark is the winner of this year’s “How are you still in college” award and he’s enjoying a career year because of it. Clark is having his best offensive year with 11.9 points per game at 44.3% shooting, both career highs.
If Syracuse Wins: CUSE TO THE FINAL FOUR AND THERE’S NO STOPPING THEM!
If Syracuse Loses: Just remind a Virginia fan today of 2016.
Fun Fact: Joe Girard now sits in fifth place on Syracuse’s career 3-point makes. He’s got 253 in his Orange career, passing Preston Shumpert who had 249.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.