Gameday Preview: No. 5 Virginia (7-0) vs. Purdue (4-3)


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A rematch of last season's greatest college basketball game takes place in Mackey Arena Wednesday night when Purdue tangles again with defending champion Virginia in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

The two teams met in the Elite Eight last year, and the Cavaliers broke Boilermaker hearts everywhere with a dramatic last-second shot that forced overtime. Virginia won 80-75 in OT to advance to the Final Four, where they won the national championship.

The rematch should be a good one, too. Virginia still hasn't lost this year, and it's coming off a 35-3 season a year ago

Here are the particulars:

  • Who: Virginia Cavaliers (7-0) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (4-3)
  • When: 7:15 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Dec. 4.
  • Where: Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, Ind.
  • Line: Purdue is a 1.5-point favorite
  • Rankings: Virginia is ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll, and No. 2 in the Coaches Poll. Purdue is unranked in both polls, but has received votes and would be ranked No. 33 in both polls. 
  • rankings: Virginia 5, Purdue 13 
  • TV: ESPN
  • Announcers: Jason Benetti, Dan Dakich
  • Radio: Purdue Radio Network
  • Announcers: Larry Clisby, Rob Blackman, Ralph Taylor

Three things to know about Virginia

  1. STIFLING DEFENSE: As usual, Virginia guards like no one in the country. The Cavaliers are allowing only 40.3 points per game this season and held Maine to only 26 points last Wednesday in a 46-26 win. Teams are shooting only 28.8 percent from the field against them, which also ranks No. 1 in the country.
  2. CHALLENGE KINGS: Virginia has won five straight games in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and is 13-6 overall in the annual event. Purdue and Virginia have meet twice before in the Challenge. Virginia won at home in 2000, and Purdue won at Mackey in 2006.
  3. HE'S BACK: Mamadi Diakite, the Cavalier who hit the last-second shot a year ago, is back for another go-round with Virginia this season. He's leading Virginia in scoring with 13.9 points per game. 

Three things to know about Purdue

  1. CARRYING THE BANNER: The Boilermakers have been the Big Ten's best team in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, with a 10-8 record through the years. They have been very good at home in the event, going 6-1 overall.
  2. STRUGGLES AGAINST THE BEST: This is the seventh nonconference team ranked No. 5 or better to visit Mackey Arena, and the previous six all left victorious. Most of those games against high-profile foes have been close, though. Five of the six were determined by five points or fewer.
  3. TOUGH SCHEDULE: Purdue opened the season ranked No. 23 in the country, and have played a very difficult schedule this far. They've beaten TCU, who was ranked No. 20 at the time, but they've lost to three top-50 teams in Texas (47), Marquette (27) and Florida State (20).