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2018 Virginia Basketball Countdown: Hoos in the preseason polls

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Virginia enters 2018-19 with high expectations.

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-Villanova vs Kansas Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Basketball season starts in a little over a week, and we continue our countdown today looking at where the Hoos ranked in preseason polls across the league. Virginia is No. 5 in the first AP Poll of the season, and that seems to be the consensus for most.

Let’s get to it!

ESPN Insider, John Gasaway ($$)

Virginia Rank: 1

No. 1 Pick: Virginia

Gasaway relies heavily on advance statistics and is a generally good judge of basketball, so it’s unsurprising he has the Cavaliers in the top spot of his rankings.

Says Gasaway:

This season could be for Bennett what 2014-15 was for Bo Ryan, the long-awaited union of a coach’s time-tested system and a relative wealth of talent. De’Andre Hunter is projected as a 2019 lottery pick, Kyle Guy is a returning first-team All-ACC performer, Alabama transfer Braxton Key was, like Guy, a national top-35 recruit out of high school and for all we know Ty Jerome might have a better season than all of the above.

ESPN Power Rankings, Jeff Borzello

Virginia Rank: 12

No. 1 Pick: Kansas

Woooowee. Having the Hoos at 12 in the preseason Power Rankings seems weird, but you do you, Jeff. In his defense, this published the same day that Braxton Key’s eligibility was announced, so maybe that’s why they’re so low?

Says Borzello:

On paper, this team has plenty of questions. There are three stalwarts in Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter -- but what will Tony Bennett do in the frontcourt? And where is the depth going to come from? In reality, how far are we really dropping the Cavaliers? They’ve won at least 29 games in four of the past five seasons. They’ll figure it out.

CBS Sports, Matt Norlander

Virginia Rank: 5

No. 1 Pick: Kansas

Norlander has the Hoos as the highest ranked ACC squad, coming in just one spot ahead of Duke at No. 6.

Says Norlander:

I’m going to get through this paragraph without mentioning it. So, who’s back? Future first-rounder De’Andre Hunter is. Potential First Team All-ACC guy Kyle Guy is. Eminent Virginia Player Ty Jerome as well. Jack Salt and Mamadi Diakite are in the fold again, too. Let the record show I had UVA ranked fifth even before Braxton Key was ruled eligible, but all the better. Virginia rated as the best team in college basketball’s regular season last year. Tony Bennett has proven to be reliable in this regard, and I’m not bailing on the Wahoos. This will be the best team in the ACC.

Fansided, Lukas Harkins

Virginia Rank: 4

No. 1 Pick: Kansas

Harkins is high on De’Andre Hunter and thinks Key, Salt, Huff, and Diakite will be important for the Hoos. He also had high praise for Virginia’s backcourt duo, which is not surprising.

Says Harkins:

Guy, the leading scorer for the Cavaliers last season, is back after averaging 14.1 points per game last season. Even though he does not do much more than fill up the basket, he functions in this role quite well. He shot 39.2% from beyond the arc last season. Then, Jerome returns as a strong scorer (10.6 ppg) and creator (3.9 apg) at 6-foot-5. He is a dangerous playmaker and a superb defender due to his size and length.

NCAA, Andy Katz

Virginia Rank: 6

No. 1 Pick: Kentucky

Andy Katz goes against the popular Kansas pick for No. 1 and puts Kentucky in the top spot. He’s high on the Hoos, keeping right in that same range as most of the other rankings.

Says Katz:

The Cavaliers are locked in after losing to UMBC in the first round. Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome said they have never worked harder. De’Andre Hunter is healthy and he could be their toughest player to defend. The key will be the bigs and if they can play their role, this team could compete for a top seed again.

KenPom

Virginia Rank: 4

No. 1 Pick: Kansas

The numbers once again like Virginia, coming in with the No. 2 overall defense (Kansas is No. 1) and the No. 14 overall offense. He has the Hoos dropping four games over the course of the season with losses at Clemson, at Duke, at North Carolina, and at Syracuse. If that holds, it’ll be another good conference performance for the Hoos, and the home crowd at JPJ would be very happy.

Here are the rankings in an easy-to-decipher table:

UVA Basketball Preseason Rankings

Outlet UVA Rank No. 1
Outlet UVA Rank No. 1
ESPN Insider (John Gasaway) 1 Virginia
ESPN Power Rankings 12 Kansas
CBS Sports 5 Kansas
Fansided 4 Kansas
NCAA (Andy Katz) 6 Kentucky
KenPom 4 Kansas

We will update these as they come out closer to the season.