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Men's Basketball: Virginia vs. Rider preview

Virginia vs. Rider
When: 7 p.m.
Where: John Paul Jones Arena.
Radio: WTNT (570 AM).
Records: Cavaliers 1-1; Broncs 2-0.

In need of a win: A loss to Rider could signal a long season for the Cavaliers. Virginia follows the Broncs with games against Oral Roberts, Stanford, either Kentucky or Cleveland State, Penn State and Auburn -- a stretch in which wins will be hard to find if the Cavaliers continue to play as they did in their first two games. It does not help that Rider has confidence after topping then-No. 18 Mississippi State on Nov. 13. Virginia Coach Tony Bennett described the Broncs as an "experienced team" that is "very dangerous."

Where's the offense?: Virginia's 66-49 loss to South Florida on Monday was its lowest-scoring output since a 65-49 loss to Stanford on March 14, 2006. Bennett's perceived slow-it-down style cannot be blamed, either. It was simply poor execution. Virginia shot 32.7 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from three-point range. Without Assane Sene (suspension) and Jamil Tucker (leave of absence), the Cavaliers are thin on interior options.

Breaking a funk: Two games is not enough of a sample size, but the hopes of Jeff Jones becoming a complementary scoring option to Sylven Landesberg early in the season have not been fulfilled. Jones has averaged 8.5 points in 26 minutes per game and made only 1 of 9 three-point attempts. Junior forward Mike Scott (10.5 points) and freshman swingman Tristan Spurlock (only 12 total minutes) haven't become second options, either.

By Zach Berman  |  November 19, 2009; 1:44 PM ET
 
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