UH versus UVA: Two powerhouses set to collide Tuesday night
Since the 2017-18 season, only Gonzaga has amassed more wins than Houston (113) and Virginia (108). On Tuesday night, these two powerhouses will collide as the Cougars host the Cavaliers at Fertitta Center in what is sure to be an electric environment.
“This is the type of game you work hard all summer for,” said UH junior guard Marcus Sasser. “It’s a big game.”
Not only have both the Cavaliers and Cougars racked up more wins than almost anyone in the country over the past four seasons, but they have had great success in the NCAA Tournament in recent years.
Virginia won the 2019 NCAA national championship and held the title as reigning champion for two full years due to the COVID-19 pandemic canceling the 2020 NCAA Tournament.
On the other side, UH is coming off a 28 win season in which the Cougars returned to the Final Four for the first time in 37 years, when UH defeated Virginia in the national semifinal before falling to Georgetown in the championship game.
A look at Virginia
Just like the Cougars, the 2021-22 Cavaliers team features a lot of new faces.
Two transfers in Jayden Gardner, who transferred from East Carolina, and Armaan Franklin, who was previously at Indiana, join veteran Kihei Clark, who has started 73 games for the Cavaliers since 2018, and second year player Reece Beekman to make up the Virginia backcourt.
In the frontcourt, 7-foot-1-inch center Francisco Caffaro 6-foot-11-inch forward Kadin Shedrick give the Cavaliers plenty of size down low which presents plenty of challenges to their opponents.
“Good players. Good team. Outstanding coaching staff with Tony (Bennett),” Sampson said. “(Playing Virginia) would be a challenge for anybody.”
The two teams have met up six times, with the series split at 3-3.
Virginia has won two of the last three meetings between the two schools, but UH is 2-0 against the Cavaliers in Houston.
The Cougars, who have won 27 straight inside Fertitta Center, will look to extend the home winning streak Tuesday night but will have to get past one of college basketball’s premier programs to do so.
“I expect it to be like an NCAA Tournament game,” Sasser said. “That’s what we are calling it. Two powerhouses. I feel like it should be sold out, loud. We just got to come ready to play.”