Virginia-Virginia Tech Preview
By NOEY KUPCHAN
(AP) -- Virginia managed to stick around in the Top 25 despite another week filled with mixed results.
A difficult two-game stretch this week could knock them out.
The 25th-ranked Cavaliers look to avoid a fourth consecutive road loss and a season sweep at the hands of in-state rival Virginia Tech when the schools meet Tuesday night.
Virginia (20-6, 7-5 ACC) entered this past weekend having dropped three of four, with all those losses coming in opposing arenas. The Cavaliers' only victory over that stretch came 68-44 over reeling Wake Forest on Feb. 8.
After suffering a 70-52 defeat at then-No. 5 North Carolina on Feb. 11 and falling 60-48 at Clemson last Tuesday, Virginia bounced back with a win over another of the conference's lesser teams Saturday. The Cavaliers blew out Maryland 71-44 behind 25 points from leading scorer Mike Scott.
"(The message was) not to panic. We're fine," Scott said. "At Carolina our defense didn't hold up. At Clemson, we turned the ball over. We're just paying for our mistakes. We'll be fine. Don't panic."
While Virginia didn't have much to worry about versus the Terrapins, things are about to get much more difficult with a visit to Blacksburg and Saturday's matchup with the No. 7 Tar Heels looming.
The Cavaliers are 3-6 over their last nine meetings in this series - including a 47-45 home loss Jan. 22.
"We know that they stole one from us here earlier in the season, so we're excited to go in there and give them 110 percent," senior Sammy Zeglinski said.
Virginia had dropped four straight and six of seven road meetings with the Hokies (15-12, 4-8) before pulling out a 57-54 win Dec. 5, 2010, thanks to Scott's 21 points.
The Cavaliers could find themselves in another tightly-contested battle if Virginia Tech's recent efforts are any indication. Seven of the Hokies' last 11 games have been decided by two points or fewer, with each of the last three decided by just one.
Two days after suffering a heartbreaking 48-47 loss at then-No. 20 Florida State, Virginia Tech bounced back with a thrilling 74-73 overtime win over Georgia Tech on Saturday. Dorenzo Hudson played the role of hero, hitting the game-winning 3 as time expired.
"This was a heckuva win for us," coach Seth Greenberg told the school's official website. "For our guys to come back from the Florida State devastation and show the resiliency and figure out a way to win, I just couldn't be more prouder."
The Hokies have split their six home games versus ACC foes. Since suffering three losses in a row to the schools currently tied for first place in the conference, Virginia Tech has put together a three-game run against teams under .500 in league play.
The Hokies, however, are all but certain to have their hands full with Scott, who ranks third in the league with 17.2 points per game.
"Mike is having a terrific year. He is showing his versatility. He desperately wants to leave behind a successful senior year, and to leave a stamp on this program to help it in the future," coach Tony Bennett said.
Updated February 21, 2012