|4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Nov 6, 2018
John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia Attendance: 13,807
Motivated No. 5 Virginia opens vs. Towson
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- Eight months removed from becoming the first No. 1 seed to ever lose to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, fifth-ranked Virginia is back and hungrier than ever.
The Cavaliers open their 2018-19 campaign at home Tuesday night against Towson.
"We've learned to just put the blinders on and be focused for the season," Virginia guard Kyle Guy said. "Mental toughness is going to be big for this team, especially for the returners. It's going to be in our face the whole season."
Despite the early exit from the NCAA Tournament last season, Virginia's resume was quite impressive and included 31 wins, a No. 1 ranking and an ACC Tournament title. A lot of high expectations surround the Cavaliers again this season as they return three of the best players in the conference.
"The way last season ended is a huge motivation factor," Guy said. "Honestly, it will probably propel us to a place we've never been before just because that is our mindset this season."
Guy and Ty Jerome highlight Virginia's backcourt with the two combining to average just under 25 points per game last season. Guy and Jerome are two of the better shooters in the ACC and are now the leaders of a Virginia team picked to finish second in the conference.
"The biggest difference for me, is the game has slowed down so much," Jerome said. "I'm better in all of the areas that I really wanted to improve in."
Joining Guy and Jerome is redshirt sophomore De'Andre Hunter who missed the Cavaliers loss to UMBC with a wrist injury that nagged him throughout the postseason. Hunter averaged nine points per game and 3.5 rebounds per game in his debut season as a Cavalier and is touted as an elite NBA prospect.
The Cavaliers will need to replace three seniors in Devon Hall, Isaiah Wilkins and Nigel Johnson, all of whom made a significant impact on last year's team. Alabama transfer Braxton Key will be one of those pieces that looks to do so as he will be expected to make an immediate impact on coach Tony Bennett's group. Virginia's lone senior is 6-foot-10 center Jack Salt who will be joined by sophomore Jay Huff and junior Mamadi Diakite in the Cavaliers? frontcourt.
Virginia will debut their 2018-19 version of arguably the best defense in the country as they led all 353 teams in points per game allowed last season (54.0).
Towson loses its top six scorers from a squad that won 18 games for the fifth time in six seasons a year ago. Seniors Jordan McNeil and Alex Thomas will anchor the Tigers as McNeil is Towson's leading returning scorer after averaging 4.7 points per game last season.
"We have some size, strength and length in our front court," Towson head coach Pat Skerry said. "Alex (Thomas) had a great summer and has taken some steps forward. He's been our best post defender over the last three years. He looks great."
Skerry is entering his eighth season as Towson's head coach and has turned around a program that had 15-straight losing season before he arrived. A tough first test of the season for his Tiger program as they will face a Virginia team that has won at least 29 games in four of the last five seasons.
Virginia is 5-0 all-time against Towson.
Updated November 5, 2018