No. 21 Virginia clinched a top-four seed and a double-bye in next week's Atlantic Coast Conference tournament with its victory over Miami on Monday night.
Louisville has that same goal in mind when the Cardinals (13-5, 8-4 ACC) host the Cavaliers (16-6, 12-4) on Saturday in the regular-season conference finale for both teams.
Virginia halted a three-game losing streak with a 62-51 win over the Hurricanes on Senior Night in Charlottesville, Va., the final home game for Sam Hauser, Jay Huff, Tomas Woldetensae and Austin Katstra.
Hauser scored a game-high 18 points and added six rebounds and two blocks. Trey Murphy III added 12 points, and Huff contributed seven points and seven boards. Virginia turned the ball over only eight times and limited Miami to 38.5 percent shooting, including 26.7 percent (4-of-15) from 3-point distance.
The Cavaliers' bench outscored the Hurricanes' reserves by a decisive 20-2 margin, led by Justin McKoy's eight points, six rebounds and two steals.
"We needed it," said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. "I thought it was important that those guys did that. We've been playing five guys such heavy minutes, and tonight to be able to go to our bench, when (the starters weren't) as sharp as they needed to be, was very important."
The Cavaliers bring a 5-3 road record to Louisville, where the Cardinals are 9-1 this season.
Virginia has a 15-4 lead in the all-time series, including an 11-2 record under Bennett. The Cardinals and Cavaliers split two games last season, with Louisville winning 80-73 on its home floor on Feb. 8, 2020.
Saturday's game will be a bittersweet Senior Night for the Cardinals, who announced Monday that senior Malik Williams will likely miss the rest of the season after reinjuring his right foot. The team captain played in only three games this season, averaging 5.0 points and 6.0 rebounds.
Louisville has been idle since an 80-73 overtime victory at Duke on Saturday. Carlik Jones scored seven of his 25 points in OT, with Jae'Lyn Withers adding 16 points and nine rebounds and Samuell Williamson posting a double-double with 14 points and 12 boards.
The Cardinals, who played only four games in February, had yet another schedule interruption on Wednesday when their game at Virginia Tech was canceled due to COVID-19 issues in the Hokies' program.
Seeding for the ACC tournament, which starts on Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C., will be determined by winning percentage. Louisville enters the weekend in the No. 4 slot with a .667 winning percentage, ranked between No. 22 Virginia Tech (.692) and Georgia Tech (.625).
With a potential double-bye and automatic quarterfinal berth at stake, there is a lot on the line Saturday. The Cardinals' NCAA Tournament resume could also use some extra padding.
Louisville head coach Chris Mack is counting on another big performance from Withers, a 6-foot-8 freshman forward who is averaging 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds.
"He's done a great job here as of late," Mack told the Louisville Courier Journal. "We need him to be a consistent guy for us."
--Field Level Media