UVa's Anderson ready for Belmont

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Virginia's Justin Anderson said his left pinkie is feeling better, and he expects to be more of a contributor for the second-seeded Cavaliers in the NCAA tournament.

The physical junior guard failed to score in two ACC tournament games last week after returning from an eight-game absence due to the broken finger followed by an appendectomy.

Anderson said Thursday he's pain-free and "ready to rock and roll" beginning Friday against 15th-seeded Belmont.

"It's really good," Anderson said while holding out his left hand, which had the left pinkie and ring finger taped together. "I got an week extra for it to heal, and it feels really good."

The Cavaliers (29-3) could certainly use his offensive prowess.

Virginia has lost two of its past three, averaging just 62.6 points per game during that span. Anderson was averaging 13.3 points per game before injuring his finger against Louisville on Feb. 7.

This wrap will be smaller than the one Anderson wore during the ACC tournament which went all the way up his wrist.

Anderson only played 26 minutes in the conference tournament and was 0-for-6 from the field.

Coach Tony Bennett has shown a keen interest in Anderson's injury, even having his own fingers taped up by trainers so he knows exactly what his player's limitations are on the court.

Bennett doesn't think the tape will affect Anderson's shooting because players shoot with the middle three fingers, but said it could limit his ability to catch the ball.

"The more he gets used to it and plays with it, the better off he'll be," Bennett said.

Anderson understands concerns that "outsiders" have over the team's offensive struggles without him, but insists he's not putting any added pressure on himself to score.

"Once you starting thinking like that, it takes away from who we are as a team," Anderson said. "That puts something in your mind that doesn't allow you to be free and go out and play your game. So you have to block out that outside noise."