WCAV-WVAW-WAHU | Charlottesville, Virginia | Sports

'Hoos Turn Attention to Homestand, Florida State

After years of futility against Florida State, the Virginia men's basketball team will have recent history on its side in Saturday's game at John Paul Jones Arena.

The Cavaliers have taken two of their last three meetings with the Seminoles, including a 62-50 win in Tallahassee in the ACC opener for both teams on January 4.

On Wednesday, UVa coach Tony Bennett talked about his team's recent success against the Seminoles.

"Well hopefully, we're getting better," he said. "I mean, Florida State has a heck of a program. What Leonard (Hamilton) has done there over the years is terrific."

Prior to that 12-point win earlier this month, UVa had lost its last 12 visits to Tallahassee. And the Cavaliers split their two meetings with Florida State last season, including a 56-36 win at John Paul Jones Arena last January that snapped a seven-game UVa losing streak against the Seminoles on any court.

"You've got to know, you've got to be at your best against them to get it done," Bennett said of facing Florida State. "And yeah, to get a couple has been significant. Because it was, at least in my time here, it was slim pickings. So hopefully we'll keep that going."

Bennett's team is coming off its first ACC loss of the season, a 69-65 Duke win Monday night in Durham. The Cavaliers will take a 3-1 conference record -- matching the program's best start in the ACC under Bennett -- into Saturday's game.

Florida State's visit also marks the first game of a three-game homestand for the Cavaliers, who have played three of their first four conference games on the road. After the Seminoles, UVa hosts North Carolina next Monday, then Virginia Tech on January 25.

"You want to make the most, you have to try everything to protect home court. That's significant," Bennett said. "And when you can, I don't like to use the word 'steal' them on the road, but in essence when you can get those, you take them. And then at home, you've got to be as good as you can."

Since losing to UVa, Florida State has bounced back with a pair of wins -- at Clemson, then at home against Maryland -- entering Wednesday night's game at Miami. Bennett said the Cavaliers will study those games this week, looking for any adjustments the Seminoles have made since their first meeting with UVa.

"Well, they're just good," Bennett said of the Seminoles. "They're one of the biggest teams in America. They can do some things that other teams can't, with their athleticism and their size. They're terrific defensively. And they're playing good basketball."

"Not a whole lot changes," he said of playing the same team twice in two weeks. "But, knowing that we played well down there -- got their attention, certainly -- and we'll have to back that up here."


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