Jan. 21, 1998

Cavs to Host Duke

Virginia vs. Duke
January 24, 1998 * Noon
University Hall
Charlottesville, Va.

The Series vs. the Blue Devils
Duke leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers 89-45. The Blue Devils have dominated the series in recent years, winning 25 of the last 33 meetings since Ralph Sampsonís graduation from Virginia in 1983.

Virginia has had much better success against Duke in the 1990ís, winning eight of the 18 games this decade. The Cavaliers have also won six of the last 12 meetings between the two schools.

Virginia is 30-29 all-time against Duke on the Cavaliersí various home floors throughout the years, including a 17-15 mark at University Hall.

The Cavaliers are 4-3 against the Blue Devils at home under head coach Jeff Jones and have won two of the last three meetings at University Hall.

Duke gained a controversial 62-61 win in last seasonís meeting in Charlottesville as Steve Wojciechowski canned two free throws with 0.7 seconds left to play.

The Cavaliers opened this seasonís league schedule with a 103-59 loss to the Blue Devils in Durham, N.C., on December 6. Turnovers plagued the Cavaliers throughout the contest as they committed a season-high 28 miscues. After scoring the gameís first two points, UVa turned the ball over on six of its next seven possessions as Duke scored 13 unanswered points. For the game, Duke scored 34 points off turnovers.

Cavaliers Face the Nationís Top-Ranked TeamÖAgain
Duke comes into todayís game ranked atop this weekís Associated Press poll, the first time in six years the countryís #1 team has come to Charlottesville.

For the Cavaliers, this is their third game of the season against a team ranked #1 by The Associated Press. No other team in the country has played the #1 team more than once so far this season. The nationís #1-ranked teams (Arizona, Duke and North Carolina have all spent time atop the polls this season) have played a combined 18 games this season and Virginia has been the opponent three times.

Virginia began its ACC schedule by losing at top-ranked Duke 103-59 on December 6.

North Carolina moved into the top spot a short time later and was ranked #1 two weeks ago when the Tar Heels defeated the Cavaliers 81-73 in Chapel Hill.

This is the 19th time the Cavaliers have played the #1 team in the nation and the third time in seven conference games this season.

The Cavaliers have not fared well against top-ranked teams, posting a 1-17 all-time record. Virginiaís lone win over the #1 team was an 86-73 win over North Carolina in Charlottesville almost 10 years ago (January 30, 1986).

Virginia has faced Duke six times when the Blue Devils were ranked number one and have lost all six.

A look at Virginiaís games against Duke when the Blue Devils were ranked #1 is below.

Date           Site             Result
Dec. 18, 1965  UVa              Duke, 75-72
March 8, 1986  Greensboro, N.C. Duke, 75-70
Jan. 7, 1989   UVa              Duke, 84-76
Jan. 2, 1992   UVa              Duke, 68-62
Feb. 26, 1992  Duke             Duke, 76-67
Dec. 6, 1997   Duke             Duke, 103-59

Better Shooting Wins
Both Virginia and Duke are known for their outstanding play on the defensive end of the floor. As you might expect, the recent history of the Virginia/Duke series suggests that the team that shoots the ball best will win the game.

The two teams have met 16 times in the last eight years (the time Jeff Jones has been UVaís head coach). In that span the team that has shot the ball best has won 13 times.

Duke shot 50.6 percent in this seasonís first meeting, one of only four times this season Virginiaís opponent has made more than half of its shots.

A look at the two teamsí field goal percentages over the last eight seasons is below. The winner is listed in bold.

Year/Site      UVa   Duke
1990-91
UVa           .485   .375
Duke          .424   .500
1991-92   
UVa           .431   .436
Duke          .484   .517
1992-93   
Duke          .412   .368
UVa           .368   .359
1993-94
UVa           .373   .462
Duke          .288   .525
ACC Trn.      .441   .362
1994-95
Duke          .492   .443
UVa           .373   .407
1995-96   
UVa           .510   .348
Duke          .417   .404
1996-97   
Duke          .385   .520
UVa           .436   .350
1997-98
Duke          .455   .506   
Last 8 years:
Combined      .422   .429
UVa wins      .439   .379
UVa losses    .408   .470

Nolan Makes Push for Postseason Honors
Norman Nolan may not get the national acclaim that some players get, but he has clearly become one of the top power forwards in the college game today.

He is at the top of his game right now and is a bonafide All-ACC candidate based on his play to date.

After a rigorous off-season where he worked hard on his strength and conditioning, and adding to his outside game, Nolan has picked up his level of play tremendously this year and caused ACC coaches and NBA scouts to take notice.

Weíre unsure what Nolan asked Santa Claus for this Christmas, but itís apparent the jolly man in red filled Nolanís stocking with a variety of offensive moves to score and bundles of rebounds to grab.

Since Christmas, Nolan has put together a series of performances the likes of which havenít been seen by Virginia fans since the days of Ralph Sampson.

Over his last 10 games, Nolan is averaging 24.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Heís also shooting 52.8 percent from the floor and 73.3 percent from the free throw line.

He had reached the 20-point plateau in seven straight games leading up to last weekís game against Georgia Tech, but fell one point short of extending his streak by scoring 19 points vs. the Yellow Jackets.

He got back on track in a big way last Sunday by pouring in a career-high 35 points to power Virginia to an important ACC win over N.C. State.

He leads the ACC in ìdouble doublesî this season with 11 and has been named ACC Player of the Week three times. He also has the top-three scoring outputs and the top rebounding effort in the ACC this season.

Nolan is third in the conference in both scoring (21.2 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg).

Cavaliers Must Cut Down on Turnovers
Turnovers are one thing that drive basketball coaches crazy. And this season turnovers have been a big bugaboo for head coach Jeff Jones and his staff as the Cavaliers are averaging 16.7 turnovers per game. Virginia has three games of 20+ turnovers and two others of 19 miscues.

The Cavaliers have 95 more turnovers than the opposition so far this season. They have also attempted 42 fewer shots despite having 21 more offensive rebounds than their opponents.

An inability to maximize their scoring chances has doomed the Cavaliers in several games this season as they have lost two games by five points, and others by four, eight and 11 points.

Strangely, two of Virginiaís three-lowest turnover totals have occurred in losses. The Cavaliers turned the ball over just 12 times against Richmond in the opener, but the Spiders scored 12 points off those turnovers and won by four points in double overtime.

The Cavaliers turned the ball over 12 times against Liberty on January 7. However, the Flames turned the extra possessions into 18 points and won by five points.

Overall this season the Cavaliers have a 0.88:1 assists-to-turnover ratio.

Virginia has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last two seasons.

Nolan 11th in School History
Norman Nolan has led Virginia in rebounding the last two seasons and is bidding to lead for the third consecutive season in 1998. So far he holds a wide lead in the team rebounding race with a 8.9 rebounds per game average.

If he leads the team in rebounding again this season he would be the first Cavalier since Ralph Sampson to pace the team for three straight seasons. Sampson led all four years from 1980-83.

Nolan has grabbed 658 rebounds in his career, 11th in school history. Wally Walker is currently 10th with 665 career boards.

Virginia Wins with Defense
UVa has built a reputation for outstanding defensive play over the last 20 years and the tradition continues this season.

Virginiaís opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 18 of the last 181 games dating back to the 1991-92 season.

Virginiaís defensive statistics under head coach Jeff Jones are listed below.

Year          FG% D   PPG allowed
1990-91        .442   68.5
1991-92        .424   65.2
1992-93        .405   69.3
1993-94        .394   65.7
1994-95        .390   66.8
1995-96        .394   68.8
1996-97        .409   65.0
1997-98        .406   67.4
Jonesí career  .408   67.1

Field Goal Shooting Improves this Season
Virginia has not been known recently for its field goal shooting proclivity, but so far this season the Cavaliers are shooting 45.0 percent from the field. This is a marked improvement from last seasonís mark of 42.7 percent.

Virginia topped the 40-percent mark in the first 16 games of the season before shooting a season-low 34.4 percent against Georgia Tech last week. (The season high is 58.9 percent vs. VMI on December 22.)

The Cavaliers bounced back from the poor performance against Georgia Tech by shooting 52.5 percent in defeating N.C. State last Sunday. The Wolfpack came into the game allowing its opponents to make 41.6 percent of their shots, but the Cavaliers became only the third team all season to shoot better than 49 percent against N.C. State.

Last season UVa topped 45 percent 12 times in 31 games, and shot less than 40 percent from the field in 10 contests.

Already this season Virginia has topped 45 percent 10 times in 19 games.

The Cavaliersí field goal shooting percentage this season is their best since shooting 45.5 percent in 1990-91.

Staples Sets ACC Three-Point Record
Curtis Staples is known as one of the top three-point shooters in the nation. So far this season he is living up to his reputation, leading the nation with an average of 3.8 three-pointers per game.

He has led the Cavaliers in scoring four times, reaching the 20-point plateau each time.

Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in eight games this season, including a season-best seven threes in the opener against Richmond. In that game he connected on seven of 15 from behind the arc and scored 26 points.

He connected on three three-pointers in the win over N.C. State last Sunday. His third trey of the game was memorable for several reasons. It came with 1:21 left in the game and gave the Cavaliers the lead for good at 55-54.

The three-pointer also enabled him to move past former Georgia Tech standout Dennis Scott into first place in ACC history with 352 career three-pointers. Scott finished his career with 351.

Staples is now sixth in NCAA history with 355 career three-point field goals.

His place on the NCAA career three-point list is below.

     Player, school, years                  3FGM
1.   Keith Veney, Lamar/Marshall, 1993-97    409
2.   Doug Day, Radford, 1990-93              401
3.   Ronnie Schmitz, Missouri-K.C., 1989-93  378
4.   Mark Alberts, Akron, 1988-93            375
5.   Jeff Fryer, Loyola Marymount, 1987-90   363
6.   Curtis Staples, Virginia, 1995-98       355

Something About the Water
That Curtis Staples is among the top three-point field goal shooters in NCAA history shouldnít come as a surprise. What might be surprising, however, is the fact that he is one of three Virginia natives in the top-seven in NCAA history in three-point field goals made in a career.

Doug Day, a bomber at Radford University from 1990-93, is second in NCAA history with 401 career threes. He hailed from Blacksburg and Blacksburg High School.

Current NBA standout Dennis Scott played at Georgia Tech from 1988-90 and is second in ACC history behind Staples with 351 treys. He hails from Reston, and played his high school ball at Flint Hill.

Staples, from Roanoke, is sixth on the NCAAís all-time list. He moved past Scott last Sunday and now has 355 career three-pointers. He began his high school career at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, before concluding his prep days at Oak Hill Academy.