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Virginia, Houston announce hoops home-and-home series

By Jerry Ratcliffe

uva basketballVirginia will renew an old rivalry with Houston this season, the school announcing a two-year series beginning in November.

Under the guidance of Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars advanced to the Final Four last season, its first visit to that event since 1984 when Houston defeated Virginia, 49-47 in overtime in the semifinals.

The first game between the defending regular season ACC and AAC will take place at Houston’s Fertitta Center on Nov. 16 this season. Virginia will host the Cougars at John Paul Jones Arena on Dec. 17 of 2022.

“We are excited to announce a two-game nonconference series with Houston,” UVA’s Tony Bennett said. “Coach Kelvin Sampson has done a great job returning Houston basketball to national prominence. We’re looking forward to a pair of highly competitive games.”

Houston’s Sampson felt likewise.

“We have always had tremendous respect for Coach Tony Bennett and his team,” Sampson said. “We look forward to the challenge of playing Virginia, one of the top programs in the country.”

Both programs have made it to the NCAA tournament in three of the last four years (2020 was cancelled by the pandemic). Virginia is 107-20 over that span, while Houston is 111-24, competing in the American Athletic Conference.

While UVA and Houston have met only six times, some of those games were epic battles, including clashes with Guy Lewis’ “Phi Slama Jama” teams in the 1980s. The series stands at 3-3, UVA being 1-0 at home, Houston being 2-0 at home and the Cavaliers being 2-1 on neutral courts.

The last meeting was at University Hall in 1989 when the Cavaliers defeated the Cougars 72-54.

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