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2010 Maui Invitational: Why Washington Should Beat Virginia In The First Round

Chris Dobbertean of SBN's Blogging the Bracket sums up the 2010 Maui Invitational first round matchup between the Washington Huskies and the Virginia Cavaliers pretty well.

College Basketball Viewer's Guide: Maui And CBE Events Are Monday Highlights - Blogging the Bracket
Virginia vs. Washington, 11:59 p.m. ET (ESPN2): The Cavaliers lost by 21 to a team who's probably not going to contend in the Pac-10. Meanwhile, the Huskies currently rank 1st in the nation in scoring and rebounding, and UVa's in the bottom half of D1 in both statistics. Danger, Tony Bennett, Danger!

After Virginia's performance against Stanford, there's certainly reason to believe that UW has a pretty good chance to win tonight's game, to say the least. However, as dominant as UW has been in shooting efficiency and rebounding, those might not even be the areas that haunt Virginia the most.

Where UW has absolutely dominated their opponents thus far is with their perimeter defense, forcing opponents into turning the ball over on just over 26 percent of their possessions. Although Virgina has two rather sure-handed guards in Jontel Evans and Billy Baron, they have also turned the ball over more than their opponent through three games. And against a Stanford team that is not expected to have a top tier defense in the Pac-10 - but has forced turnovers at a high rate thus far this season - UVA turned the ball over on 28.1 percent of their possessions.

UW forward Justin Holiday has written in his Hawaiian Holiday blog that "the balls are a little slippery" in Maui and given how Stanford forced UVA into turnovers, things might get a little more slippery when the Cavaliers have to bring the ball up against the likes of UW guard Venoy Overton, whose very presence on the court seems to scare opponents into turnovers. 

All that said, Virginia coach Tony Bennett's defensive schemes will be a much better test for the Huskies' supposed highly regarded shooting versatility around the perimeter. It's unlikely that the open shots will come quite as easy or often tonight, which will be a good test for where they can create scoring opportunities when they face a bit more resistance.

The game will begin at 9 p.m. PST on ESPN2 and as a bonus, UW will be wearing Maui-themed Nike Elite uniforms for the tournament.

Huskies Will Sport Exclusive Look at Maui - University of Washington Official Athletics Site
The uniforms came to the forefront when Duke donned the uniforms during their 2010 NCAA National Championship run.

The jersey that Washington will wear has a design of Suzzallo Library -- the universities signature library -- a prominent "W" just below the numbers and the words "Bow Down To Washington" running in a banner.