for this game

Virginia needs to get back on track vs. Albany

Mar 16, 2007 - 1:47 PM Albany (23-9) at Virginia (20-10) 12:15 pm EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Ticker) -- Virginia needs to turn the intensity back up after struggling down the stretch.

The fourth-seeded Cavaliers (20-10), losers of three of their last five games, meet 13th-seeded Albany on Friday in an NCAA Tournament South Region first-round matchup.

Virginia is making its first NCAA appearance since 2001, when it was eliminated by Gonzaga, 86-85, in a first-round game. This is the 16th appearance in the NCAAs for the Cavaliers, who have an all-time record of 21-15.

"I'm very pleased to be selected as high as a number four (seed)," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "I also know that in this tournament the numbers they place on seeds are going to have a whole lot less to do with one's success than the mind-set and what teams will bring to the table. It is a great tribute to our players and the season they've had. But at the same time we have to realize that there are a lot of really difficult challenges ahead."

The Cavaliers missed a chance to win the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title when they lost to lowly Wake Forest, 78-72, in their regular-season finale. They followed that up with a loss to 10th-place North Carolina State in the ACC tournament quarterfinals.

Virginia is led by the backcourt duo of Sean Singletary - a first-team All-ACC selection - and J.R. Reynolds, who average 18.9 and 17.8 points, respectively. They are the only double-figure scorers on the team.

Albany advanced to the NCAAs by defeating Vermont 60-59 in the America East Conference tournament final, avenging a pair of regular-season losses to the Catamounts.

The Great Danes (23-9) are riding a five-game and the team's 23 wins are the most since the 1993-94 squad went 25-3. Senior guard Jamar Wilson averages 18.6 to lead Albany. At just 6-1, Wilson also topped the team in rebounding (6.3) and assists (4.9). Senior swingman Jason Siggers was second in scoring at 13.9 points per game.

This is the second tournament appearance in a row for the America East champions. They gave top-seeded Connecticut a huge scare in the first round last season before losing.

Albany and Virginia had one common opponent this season. The Cavaliers lost to Utah, 94-70, at the San Juan Shootout, while the Great Danes defeated the Utes, 59-58, in Salt Lake City.

The winner will face either Tennessee or Long Beach State in Sunday's second-round action.

    --- --- -----
    ALBANY 25 32 57
    VIRGINIA 45 39 84 FINAL

    Mar 16 2:14 PM

    NCAA BB (13) ALBANY 25

    Mar 16 1:07 PM