Seattle University (1-0) at Virginia (1-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 4 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: John Paul Jones Arena (14,593) -- Charlottesville, Virginia. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Seattle 1-0, Virginia 1-1. Away Record: Seattle 0-0, Virginia 0-1. Neutral Record: Seattle 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Conference Record: Seattle 0-0, Virginia 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied, 1-1.
GAME NOTES: For the third straight season, Virginia and Seattle University collide on the hardwood, as the Cavaliers play host to the Redhawks in non- conference action at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Tony Bennett's Cavaliers haven't exactly hit the ground running to begin the 2012-13 season. Virginia opened the season with a 63-59 loss at George Mason, before splitting a pair of games at home as part of the NIT Season Tip-Off. When last on the floor, Virginia suffered a 59-53 setback to Delaware.
Cameron Dollar is in his fourth season at the helm in Seattle, as the Redhawks begin play in the Western Athletic Conference in earnest. Seattle began the 2012-13 season at home with an 87-72 victory over Montana State.
These two teams have met in highly competitive matchups each of the last two seasons. The Redhawks shocked the Cavs in Charlottesville two year ago (59-53), but Virginia evened things up at KeyArena in Seattle last year (83-77).
The Redhawks took advantage of poor shooting by the Bobcats in the first half to open up a huge lead, before settling in for a 15-point win in the opener last weekend in the ninth-annual Elgin Baylor Classic. It was a balanced effort by Seattle, which placed four players in double figures, led by Clarence Trent's 18 points. Trent was followed in the scoring column by Deshaun Sunderhaus (14 pts), Chad Rasmussen (12 pts) and Prince Obasi (10 pts). Trent and Sunderhaus also made their presence felt on the boards, combining for 17 rebounds. An obvious negative from the game was Seattle's sloppy ball-handling, as the team finished with 25 turnovers. However, the Redhawks countered that by forcing 28 miscues by the visiting Bobcats.
In quarterfinal action of the NIT Season Tip-Off, Virginia fell in a low- scoring affair to the visiting Blue Hens. Joe Harris led the Cavaliers in the scoring column with 20 points. Akil Smith had a strong game as well, finishing with career-highs of 15 points and 13 rebounds, but Virginia started the game slowly, converting just 22.2 percent from the field in the first half and trailed by 13 points at the break (28-15). Part of the problem early on has been that Virginia at times has looked like a rudderless ship without starting point guard Jontel Evans in the lineup. The 5-11 senior missed the first two games (foot), but did make a brief appearance against Delaware. An All-ACC Defensive Team member last season, Evans will be charged with steadying the Cavaliers when at full strength. Harris and Mitchell have been the only reliable contributors in the early stages for Virginia. Harris leads the team with 18.0 ppg. Mitchell has handled things in the paint, averaging 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.
The Redhawks have already won a game in Charlottesville a couple of years ago so the travel isn't a huge issue. That being said, the Cavaliers are going to be a whole lot better when Evans is at 100-percent. Expect Harris and Mitchell to once again carry the scoring burden here in another tight affair.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Virginia 67, Seattle University 63
11/17 10:37:12 ET