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Game Preview: Virginia Basketball vs. Iowa

The Cavaliers host the Hawkeyes in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge on Monday night at JPJ

Since starting the season 1-2, Virginia has put together a four-game winning streak, including a pair of wins over major conference opponents Georgia and Providence in the Legends Classic last week. The Cavaliers have made substantial improvements defensively in the last few games, but there is still significant work to be done for UVA on the offensive end, especially with a hot-shooting Iowa team coming to town on Monday night in the opening game of the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.

Game Details

Who: Virginia Cavaliers (5-2) vs. Iowa Hawkeyes (6-0)

When: Monday, November 29th at 7pm

Where: John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia

How to watch: ESPN

All-time series: Iowa leads 2-1

Last meeting: Virginia defeated Iowa 74-71 in the Emerald Coast Classic semifinals on November 25th, 2016. 

By the Numbers

Virginia Cavaliers vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

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Opponent Outlook: Iowa

Iowa has dominated the competition through the first six games of the season. The Hawkeyes come into this matchup with a perfect 6-0 record and they have outscored their opponents by a combined 190 points. Iowa has scored over 100 points in three of its six games and have scored at least 80 in every game. The Hawkeyes are averaging 97.2 points per game on 50.0% shooting from the field as well as 38.5% three-point shooting and they make over 10 threes per game.

The Hawkeyes’ offense has been no joke, but the same cannot be said for their opponents, who have a combined record of 15-22 this season. Iowa has defeated Longwood, Kansas City, NC Central, Alabama State, Western Michigan, and Portland State, with each of those wins coming at home in Iowa City. Iowa will play its first road game of the season at Virginia on Monday night.

Iowa is led by twin brothers Keegan and Kris Murray, who are both 6’8” and 225 pounds. Keegan Murray is the team’s leading scorer at 25.7 points per game and he is shooting 62.2% from the field so far this season. He also averages 8.8 rebounds per game. Kris Murray is averaging 6.8 rebounds and 12.8 points per game on 58.5% shooting. The Hawkeyes have two other double-digit scorers in Patrick McCaffrey (12.5 ppg) and Jordan Bohannon (10.0 ppg). There are certainly an array of scorers on Iowa’s roster, but it will be interesting to see how effective the Hawkeyes are against Virginia in their first test of the season. 

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What to Watch For

Iowa Offense vs. Virginia Defense

This game will likely be determined by which team is able to enforce its will when Iowa has the ball, matching up the strengths of these two teams with Iowa’s high-powered offense against Virginia’s steadfast defense. The Hawkeyes will likely score much less than their season average of 97.2 points per game, but Iowa certainly has the firepower to score at a frenetic pace. UVA will have to be solid defensively and contest most of Iowa’s shots to give the Cavalier offense, which is still very much a work in progress, a chance to keep up.

Can UVA score enough?

Virginia got scoring from a variety of sources on Friday against Lehigh, with six different Cavaliers recording at least eight points. Having multiple offensive options is a valuable asset, but the Hoos will likely need one of Jayden Gardner or Armaan Franklin (preferably both) to step up and have a big game to power the UVA offense over Iowa.

ACC/Big 10 Challenge

The ACC holds a 12-7-3 all-time advantage over the Big Ten in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, but the Big Ten won the Challenge in 2019 and 2020. Virginia will look to get the week started with a win for the ACC over Iowa on Monday night. The Cavaliers did not participate in the Challenge in 2020, as their game with Michigan State was cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols, and the Hoos fell to Purdue in 2019, which snapped a five-game winning streak in the Challenge. Overall, UVA is 13-7 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. 

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