Iowa (23-12) at Virginia (23-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, March 27, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: John Paul Jones Arena (14,593) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television: ESPN2. NIT Record: Iowa 7-6, Virginia 17-10. Series Record: Iowa leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams from power conferences get together in the quarterfinal round of the 2013 NIT on Wednesday night, as the Iowa Hawkeyes pay a visit to the Virginia Cavaliers.
The winner will make the trip to New York City for the semifinals next Tuesday. The championship game is scheduled for Thursday, April 4.
Despite a solid season, Iowa (23-12) had its NCAA Tournament dreams dashed after falling to Michigan State in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Conference Tournament. This is the second straight year in which the Hawkeyes were relegated to the NIT, and the seventh time overall. Iowa improved to 7-6 all- time in the event by picking up a pair of double-digit wins over Indiana State (68-52) and Stony Brook (75-63) in the first two rounds. Iowa, which set a new school record for most home wins (18) in a season with the victory over the Seawolves last week, has won five of its last six games coming into this matchup.
Virginia too has enjoyed a successful campaign, logging a 23-11 record (its most wins since notching 25 back in 1994-95), which includes 11 wins in the ultra-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, The Cavaliers bowed to NC State in the league's annual tournament, but then proceeded to score a pair of double-digit wins of their own here in the NIT, taking out Norfolk State (67-56) and St. John's (68-50). UVA has claimed a school-record 20 home wins this season (20-1), and the team has won a John Paul Jones Arena-record 19 straight to mark the program's longest home win streak since running off 34 straight from 1980-83. The Cavs claimed NIT championships in both 1980 and 1992, and this is their first appearance in the historic event since 2006.
This bout marks only the second meeting between these two schools on the hardwood, with Iowa winning the first in a 73-60 final during the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
Just a couple days after posting 24 points and six assists in Iowa's first- round win over Indiana State, Roy Devyn Marble poured in 28 points and handed out five helpers in leading the Hawkeyes past Stony Brook. Marble, who is clearly the go-to guy for Iowa at the offensive end of the court, went 9-of-18 from the field and 8-of-11 at the foul line, helping the Hawkeyes connect on 47.3 percent of their total shots and 15-of-21 free throws as they outlasted the pesky Seawolves. Aaron White, who the game before became the first player in school history to log a double-double in two different NIT games, tallied 13 points and seven rebounds for Iowa, which committed only eight turnovers while converting 8-of-19 3-point attempts (.421). Coach Fran McCaffery's club has played well at the defensive end of the court this season, allowing an average of 62.6 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of only .388 overall, .291 from 3-point range, and they are +4.9 in rebounding margin. Marble (14.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.9 apg) and White (13.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg) are the unit's only double- digit scorers, and the team as a whole puts up 70.4 ppg despite lackluster shooting efforts of its own (.422 overall, .304 3-point range).
Justin Anderson was high man for Virginia in its recent win over St. John's, netting a career-best 18 points, and he was joined in double figures by freshman Taylor Barnette (career-high 13 points), as well Akil Mitchell (11 points) and Mike Tobey (10 points). Mitchell came up one rebound shy of recording a double-double, but it was the team's defensive effort that was most impressive as it held the Red Storm to 33.9 percent field goal efficiency, which included a dismal 2-of-16 performance from beyond the arc. Conversely, the Cavs shot 54.5 percent from the floor and outscored the visitors from the foul line, 15-6. Mitchell's effort on the glass got him to 300 rebounds for the season, marking only the eighth time in school history that feat has been achieved. Anderson and Mitchell each tallied 15 points in the first-round win over Norfolk State, the latter also grabbing 11 boards, while Joe Harris finished with a dozen. Harris paces the club on the season with his 16.4 ppg, while Mitchell averages 13.3 points and 9.0 caroms per contest. The Cavaliers have played exceptional team defense this season, yielding a mere 55.0 ppg (fourth-best in the nation).
This game pits two teams that know what it's like to play in pressure-filled games against top-flight competition. Don't expect either side to give in to the other, but the Cavs' impressive play at the defensive end coupled with their unbeatable run at home gives them the advantage.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 64, Iowa 61
03/27 10:31:14 ET