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Virginia’s Austin Nichols suspended for season opener

University of Virginia junior forward Austin Nichols has been suspended for the team’s final two pre-season scrimmages, as well as the team’s season-opener against UNC-Greensboro on Nov. 11 due to a violation of team rules. This is Nichols’ first season as an active member of the Cavaliers roster, having sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules when he departed from Memphis.

Nichols earned a First-team All-AAC selection during his sophomore season with the Memphis Tigers, Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. Rated as a five-star recruit by Rivals and 247sports coming out of Briarcrest HS in Eads, Tennessee, the 6’9″ 232-pound Nichols won the AAC Rookie of the Year his first year on campus at Memphis.

Senior guard London Perrantes is the only scholarship senior Virginia has on the roster this season. Nichols is expected to take a prominent frontcourt role alongside sophomore center Jack Salt as the Cavaliers come off a 29-8 season that saw them finish behind only North Carolina in the conference standings.

Coming off an Elite Eight appearance last season under the guidance of head coach Tony Bennett, Virginia will be replacing reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year in guard Malcolm Brogdon. They were awarded a No. 1 seed in last season’s NCAA Tournament, knocking off Hampton, Butler, and Iowa State, before conference foe Syracuse made a late comeback to advance to the Final Four.

The Cavaliers will be without Nichols for their season opener, but they don’t play a high profile game until Nov. 25 when they face-off with Iowa at the Emerald Coast Classic. But from there, they’ll play three-in-a-row against Memphis (Nichols’ old team)/Providence, Ohio State, and West Virginia, with the latter of the two being played at home.

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