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Tuesday, February 12, 2013 | The Cavalier Daily

SPORTS

IN BRIEF

Cavs tally first season victories

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Senior Melanie Mitchell pitched a 16-strikeout, complete game shutout Friday against Robert Morris to lead Virginia to a season-opening 4-0 win at teh Campbell/Hampton Inn Invitational in North Carolina.

SPORTS Virginia freshman guard Justin Anderson was named ACC Rookie of the Week for his performances against Clemson and Maryland. He averaged 15.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in the victories, including a career-high 17 points and nine rebounds against the Terrapins ... Duke senior forward Mason Plumlee was named ACC Player

The Virginia softball team opened its season this weekend in North Carolina at the Campbell/Hampton Inn Invitational, defeating Robert Morris and St. Bonaventure and falling to the host Camels. The Cavaliers (2-1, 0-0 ACC) began their season Friday with a 4-0 win against Robert Morris. Senior Melanie Mitchell threw a shutout, striking out 16 while allowing only two hits. She became Virginia’s all-time leader in career starts with 113 and earned the win after the offense produced four runs in the bottom of the third inning. Virginia suffered a setback against host Campbell later that day, losing 8-0 in five innings for its first loss of the season. Junior third baseman Marcy Bowdren had the team’s lone hit in the third inning and freshman Aimee

Chapdelaine had an even outing in her first career start, striking out two and allowing five runs in four innings. The Cavaliers closed out the tournament with a 15-5 win against the Bonnies, tallying 11 hits to earn the five-inning victory. Chapdelaine bounced back from her loss the previous day to earn her first career win, notching three strikeouts and giving up five runs in a complete-game performance. A fourth game against George Washington scheduled for Saturday evening was postponed because of freezing temperatures and will be made up in Charlottesville at a later date. Next weekend, the team will travel to Baton Rouge to compete in a tournament hosted by Louisiana State. —compiled by Peter Nance

AROUND THE ACC of the Week for the same period, averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds to help guide the fourthranked Blue Devils to wins against NC State and Boston College. His three free throws in the final minute guided Duke to a come-from-behind win against the Eagles that kept his team one game ahead of Virginia in second place

in the conference standings ... Miami continued its ascent in the national rankings in a storybook season under second-year coach Jim Larranaga, former George Mason head man. Having already made history by claiming the largest win ever against the nation’s topranked team in a 90-63 win against then-No. 1 Duke

Jan. 23, the Hurricanes again entered the record books. Miami defeated Boston College and North Carolina to improve to 10-0 in ACC play and take over the No. 3 spot in the national rankings, garnering first-place votes for the first time since 1960 and earning its highest ranking in school history ... The ACC Baseball Coaches’

Preseason Poll named NC State the favorite to capture the conference title in 2013, receiving six of a possible 12 votes. North Carolina was named on four ballots while Virginia and Florida State received one vote each. The baseball season will begin this Friday. —compiled by Daniel Weltz

Basketball | Mitchell: Virginia is ‘lights out’ at home Continued from page A1 sidelined indefinitely with their own ailments. Instead, a team that was supposed to be languishing in the lower middle of the ACC has overcome injuries to win six of seven games and move into sole possession of third place in the conference — two games ahead of the coaches’ top ACC choice, NC State. Led by the nation’s third best scoring defense, one of its most talented freshmen classes in decades and a mindset that matches the attitude of its coach, Virginia finds itself stating an ever-improving case for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament with eight games still remaining in the regular season. “We’ve just got to keep battling, keep swarming, keep doing the things we’re doing, and playing together like we are,” Bennett said of the injuries. “We must put a premium on playing smart, not getting in foul trouble, using our trap, using our choke.” Injuries have largely defined

but not derailed the 2012-13 season. First, foot injuries plagued the team’s backcourt, keeping Evans out for nine of the team’s first 13 games and ending Brogdon’s season before it had even started. Next, a shin injury has limited Atkins to sporadic appearances the past few weeks, leaving a void in the frontcourt. Most recently, Tobey was diagnosed with mononucleosis and is out indefinitely, leaving junior forward Akil Mitchell as the only scholarship player with experience as a post player and forcing Anderson to learn the power forward position on the fly. “If you were to have told me three years ago when I was coming in that I would be playing 40 minutes a game as a center, I wouldn’t have believed you,” the 6-foot-8 Mitchell said. While selflessness and an emphasis on defensive fundamentals have orchestrated a strong season in Charlottesville, things have gone south quickly for the Cavaliers’ rival to the southwest. Tuesday night’s

game sets Virginia against a Virginia Tech (11-12, 2-8 ACC) team reeling from six straight losses. Senior Erick Green, a sublime individual scorer, has been among the best guards in the nation. But even as he dominates games individually, the numbers in the standings tell a different story. The Hokies have lost those six straight games by a combined 59 points beginning with a 74-58 thrashing by Virginia Jan. 24. First-year coach James Johnson has been unable to turn around the program following last season’s 4-12 conference record that led to the dismissal of former coach Seth Greenberg, who guided the team for nine years. Virginia Tech ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring, at 71.5 points per game this season, but is allowing a conference-worst 73.0 points. The Hokies’ season-long struggles are epitomized by their past two losses at home against Georgia Tech and Maryland. Green lit up Cassell Colliseum for 28 points against the Yellow

Jackets and 29 points against the Terrapins, but his team lost both contests by a combined 15 points, falling to dead-last in the ACC standings with their eighth conference defeat. Virginia’s win against those same Terrapins Sunday, meanwhile, was the team’s seventh ACC win this year — one more than Virginia Tech has had in the past two seasons combined. They did it with four starters scoring double-digit points and by becoming the first team this season to outrebound Maryland, despite missing the 6-foot-11 Tobey and with the recovering Atkins playing just seven minutes. Perhaps most impressively for the Cavaliers, they did it away from home, moving to a mediocre 3-4 in road contests this season. The team’s vulnerability away from Charlottesville has been apparent, but its dominance at home has been even more striking. John Paul Jones Arena has been a nightmare for visiting teams, who have won just once

in 14 tries. Virginia has won 13 straight home games since a devastating early-season setback against Delaware, setting the alltime arena record for consecutive victories in the process. “We’re lights out when we’re at home, but when we don’t have our fans behind us, it’s a different team,” Mitchell said. A little more than one month remains before the ACC Tournament begins in Greensboro, N.C., giving the Cavaliers time to get healthy before postseason play. The task for Bennett’s team is to maintain the level of play that has put the team in contention for an NCAA Tournament berth despite losses to CAA teams George Mason, Delaware and Old Dominion early this season. “It’s not the end of the year, and if we can play like that, we’ll be alright,” Bennett said after Thursday’s blowout against Clemson. “Hopefully we’ll get some guys back and we’ll just keep plugging.” Tipoff at John Paul Jones is scheduled for 7 p.m.

McGoey |Underdogs’ success portends unpredictable March Continued from page A1 history that includes Jim Valvano’s 1983 NC State team and the Butler squads that made it to back-to-back NCAA Championships. But this year, the anatomy of the upset has changed, as the power conferences have turned into brutal proving grounds where nationally-renowned teams beat up on each other and turn conference play into a war of attrition. The Big Ten in particular has been the land of the triumphant

underdog this year. Indiana and Michigan have combined for eight weeks at No. 1 but have lost five times to conference foes. The common assailant is Wisconsin, who held Indiana to 59 points at Assembly Hall in January then knocked off Michigan Saturday with an overtime buzzer-beater. Illinois rose as high as No. 10 in the rankings, then dropped a dismal nine of 11 games, then rebounded by claiming the scalps of ranked conference opponents Indiana and Minnesota. But it’s not just the Big Ten.

ESPN featured a shocking statistic Monday: Seven of the top 10 teams in the USA Today coaches’ poll have lost in the last 11 days. In addition to Indiana’s and Michigan’s woes, Big East power Syracuse stumbled to an unranked opponent, as did SEC leader Florida, Pac-12 top-dog Arizona and former Big 12 leader Kansas, who dropped three straight to unranked teams in that span. The lesson? Nobody is safe. Though we might not see another 15-seed triumph against a No. 2 this March like Lehigh did

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to Duke and Norfolk State did to Missouri last year, be prepared for the reality that some highlyranked teams are going to bow out of the Big Dance much earlier than their seed suggests. And how fitting that in this year rife with upsets, one of the teams that looks primed to take advantage is traditional giant killer Gonzaga, who has ridden the play of forward tandem Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk to the No. 5 spot in the polls. Despite my love of upsets, I like when traditional powers

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like Duke are relevant. Half of the fun of upsets is seeing a lowly opponent humble a highlyranked team, then watching to see whether the talented squad will pull themselves back up by their bootstraps to reclaim their top-dog status. Indiana and Duke have done it already this year, and it will be interesting to see if another team like Michigan will do it as well. With little time left before dance cards get punched, there are bound to be more upsets left in this season. Who’s next?

February 12, 2013  

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February 12, 2013  

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