Cavaliers' first road test comes in College Park

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Virginia's first three wins this men's basketball season came in the friendly confines of John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers last three victories came in a ballroom in the Bahamas, as UVA won last week's Battle 4 Atlantis.

On Wednesday, the fourth-ranked Wahoos (6-0) will face their first true road test of the season -- at the Xfinity Center in College Park against No. 24 Maryland (6-0).

"Another opportunity to forge our identity, and be good in a tough setting," said UVA head coach Tony Bennett. "We traveled, but that was a neutral site. Playing on the road you have to have a mettle about yourself, and be good against quality opponents in those kinds of settings. They teach you, and we'll have to be ready."

As of Tuesday night, UVA was a 3 1/2 point favorite on the road. The Wahoos have held their first six opponents to an average of 49.3 points per game, good for second in the country as of Tuesday. Maryland has averaged 84.8 points per game in its six wins, including 104 points against previously unbeaten Marshall the last time out.

This used to be an annual trip for the Cavaliers, before the Terrapins left the ACC for the Big Ten. Wednesday's game will mark the second time the two old rivals have met in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, with both games coming in College Park. UVA had four players -- Malcolm Brogdon, Justin Anderson, Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill -- score in double figures the last two times the schools met, a 76-65 Virginia win on December 3, 2014.

Including that game, Bennett is 7-4 all-time against the Terrapins, including a 4-2 record at Xfinity Center.

"Being here, going into my tenth year and I had a chance to coach against Gary Williams, and those talented teams. Obviously, it goes way back. I think I got my only technical in the history of my playing and coaching career against Maryland here," Bennett recalled earlier this week at John Paul Jones Arena. "So there's a lot of good memories, hard memories."

UVA was ranked No. 5 in the country the last time the Wahoos lost at Maryland -- 75-69 in overtime on March 9, 2014, in the Terrapins' final regular-season game as a member of the ACC. The sold-out crowd stormed the court in College Park following that game.

Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell were seniors on the UVA team. London Perrantes was a freshman. The current Cavaliers -- players like Kyle Guy and De'Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome and Jack Salt -- were all still in high school. Wednesday's game will be their first taste of one of the school's fiercest rivalries.

"Most of our guys were here when they were in the Big Ten. So I don't know if they understand it to the extent that those of us who were around have," Bennett said. "But there will not be a lot of love lost, and that crowd lets you know what they think of you the moment you step on the floor. It's a good venue to play in, for sure."



 
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