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#12 UVa Men's Basketball set for Showdown with #4 Syracuse - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

#12 UVa Men's Basketball set for Showdown with #4 Syracuse

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Freshman London Perrantes Freshman London Perrantes

Saturday will be the first time in 12 years that two teams ranked in the Top-15 will play at UVa.

It's also the first time in 12 years that popular TV college basketball analyst Dick Vitale will be in Charlottesville to broadcast a Virginia game.

The whole nation will be watching, as the 'Hoos host one of their most anticipated games in school history.

It's the biggest game of the year.

A Virginia win over Syracuse would give the 'Hoos their first outright ACC regular season championship in 33 years.

Senior guard Joe Harris says, "The anticipation is building, people have really been excited for this game for a while."  

Senior forward Akil Mitchell says, "Everybody's been tweeting, the media is everywhere, and everybody's been talking about it."

"It's going to be hard-fought, but it won't change how we prepare," says head coach Tony Bennett.

Syracuse is in its first year in the ACC, and comes to Charlottesville with a record of 13-2 in the conference.

The Orange are currently 1 1/2 games behind first place Virginia.

Syracuse's best players are senior forward C.J. Fair, averaging 17 points per game, and point guard Tyler Ennis.

Bennett says, "I remember watching them in the Maui Invitational, and seeing how potent they were, just their ability to turn people over, and get on the glass.  They have a lot of weapons.  They're well coached, they have a lot."  

Sophomore guard Malcolm says, "I think we matchup with them fine.  I think we play such good defense we can matchup with anybody."

The point guard matchup is one to watch.

Virginia's London Perrantes and Syracuse's Tyler Ennis are both freshman, and both rank in the Top-10 in the nation in assist to turnover ratio.

Perrantes says, "He plays with a cooling effect just like me.  There's definitely a lot of similarities in our game.  He's a crafty point guard, and I have the utmost respect for him."  

Virginia is riding a 12-game win streak, and the 'Hoos have won 16-straight ACC games at home.

Harris says, "You look at it from a bigger prospective, this is what we wanted when we first got here.  If we could have looked ahead when we first got here and said our 4th year we're gonna be playing for an ACC championship against a Top-5 team, we would definitely take that, we'd be excited about that."

Brogdon says, "It would mean a lot.  This program has come such a long way.  We really want to win it for coach Bennett, he's put in a lot of work with us.  It would be a huge accomplishment if we won it."

Mitchell says, "It's really just a matter of figuring out what we're going to do against their zone, how we're going to defend them."  

Brogdon adds, "They're a good team, they're one of the best teams in the country, you go into that game knowing that, but at the same time you go into the game knowing we're very good and thinking we're supposed to win this game."  

Bennett says, "You have to play at a very high level, not perfect, but you have to play at a high level to compete like that.  To be in this spot is terrific.  We're at our place, we know we have to do certain things well, but the formula doesn't change for us."

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