Virginia vs. North Carolina Wilmington preview
Avoiding a letdown: Virginia is the hottest team in the ACC with seven consecutive wins, including three straight in the conference. After ably meeting the intensity required to win ACC games, the Cavaliers must now play a nonconference game against an unfamiliar opponent. Monday's game was originally scheduled for Dec. 19, but a snowstorm postponed the contest. At the time, the Cavaliers were on a two-game losing streak and the season appeared like a rebuilding year. Since then, Virginia has not lost and must now beat North Carolina Wilmington to maintain momentum -- not build momentum.
Lineup changes: In each of the past two games, Coach Tony Bennett has changed the starting lineup. On Wednesday, Virginia started Jerome Meyinsse in place of Will Sherrill. On Saturday, Bennett inserted Jontel Evans in place of Calvin Baker. Sylven Landesberg, Mike Scott and Sammy Zeglinski remain constants in the lineup. Tinkering with the starting five at this point in the season is an unorthodox approach, particularly while the team is on a hot streak. Bennett has pushed all the right buttons in recent weeks, and it could be telling what lineup he chooses on Monday.
Where's the crowd?: While Virginia has proven it could be competitive in the ACC this season, the crowds continue to grow. However, they are still not the near-capacity crowds that marked the opening of John Paul Jones Arena. The athletic department has sought feedback from fans and taken steps to promote a home-court advantage, including decreasing ticket prices. Fans often attend when the Cavaliers play a marquee opponent such as Duke, but the measure of whether the program's success has generated interest could be seen by the size of the crowd that supports the home team in an non-televised game against UNC Wilmington.
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