'Hoos have a week to prepare for Duke rematch

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Last month's first meeting between Virginia and Duke in Durham was a showdown of No. 4 against No. 1 in the country. Saturday's second round at John Paul Jones Arena will pit No. 3 hosting No. 2.

Now 20-1 on the season, UVA remained at No. 3 on Monday in the latest Associated Press national top 25. The Blue Devils, now 19-2, were again at No. 2. Duke hosts Boston College on Tuesday night before turning their attention to the Wahoos, while UVA is off until Saturday's rematch.

Over the course of the previous five seasons, UVA is 4-3 coming off of a 'bye week' in its conference schedule. After beating Miami at JPJ on Saturday, the Wahoos won't get back to work in practice until Tuesday. On Monday, Tony Bennett said this down time can be valuable in a variety of ways.

"You hope that heals some wounds," Bennett said. "You hope Ty continues to improve with his back. And guys can just refresh, certainly physically. Mentally, get away. And then come ready to go and prepare, and try to keep improving."

Bennett didn't have much of an update on Monday on injured point guard Ty Jerome, who missed the Miami win with a back sprain suffered at NC State last Tuesday. Bennett said he texted Jerome after Sunday's Super Bowl, and the junior replied saying his back was feeling better. But no decisions will be made until the team returns to the floor for practice, and sees how Jerome's back responds to treatment.

Bennett is just 3-10 against Duke after last month's 72-70 loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium. This marks just the third time in Bennett's 10 UVA seasons that the Cavaliers will face Duke a second time in the regular season.

The Blue Devils won that game without freshman point guard Tre Jones, who was out with a shoulder injury. Jones also missed Duke's win at Pitt, but has been back on the floor for the team's last three games, including a near triple-double in last weekend's 91-61 win at home against St. John's.

Preparing for Jones is just one wrinkle in Saturday's second meeting. Bennett also mentioned Monday that he'd like to see shoot better from beyond the 3-point line and be "stingier on defense" than the first time the 'Hoos faced Duke.

"That will be an adjustment," Bennett said. "But yeah, you certainly want to say okay, there are some areas where they were really good against us, and we weren't as good as we needed to be. Can we handle those situations better. Can we make some adjustments. That's always part of playing a team a second time around."

Then there's the 'College GameDay' element. For the fourth time in the last five seasons, ESPN will broadcast its pregame show from JPJ the morning of Saturday's game.

"I think it's awesome," Bennett said. "I remember how big of a deal that was before it ever got here. It was like wow, College GameDay is coming to Charlottesville. And I'm not saying you take it for granted, but I think that's pretty special that it's here, and not just because we've got the No. 1 or No. 2 team in the country playing. No, they're coming because it's a big game and we're playing high-level basketball, and it's one of those featured games."



 
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