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THE BIG COUNTDOWN: Virginia Basketball in the polls

Hoos highly regarded coming into 2019-20.

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NCAA Basketball: ACC Media Day Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

We made it to single digits! There are only NINE (!!) days until the 2019-20 basketball season kicks off, so today we’re looking at where the reigning national champion Virginia Cavaliers stand heading into the season.

Yes, we know, polls are pointless. Still, it’s fun!

Understandably, some outlets are concerned about the departures for the Cavaliers as Virginia loses De’Andre Hunter, Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy, and Jack Salt are all gone. Still, the Hoos — and especially Tony Bennett — are respected in the preseason rankings as Virginia doesn’t come in lower than ESPN’s ranking of No. 16. KenPom’s algorithm still loves the Hoos as they come in at No. 5.

Here are some of the preseason rankings:

2019-20 Preseason Rankings

Outlet Virginia Rank No. 1
Outlet Virginia Rank No. 1
AP 11 Michigan State
KenPom 5 Michigan State
NBC Sports 10 Michigan State
CBS Sports 7 Michigan State
ESPN 16 Michigan State 12 Michigan State
Coaches Poll 9 Michigan State

What they said:

Rob Dauster, NBC Sports:

I am a Tony Bennett stan, and I fully believe that the combination of Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff is the kind of malleable, versatile and talented frontcourt that will allow Bennett to flex his X’s-and-O’s muscles and get creative offensively, but I fully admit that putting Virginia in the top ten is likely beyond the top of their range.

Andy Katz,

The more I think about the Cavaliers, the more I want to continue putting them higher. They don’t fade under Tony Bennett.

Matt Norlander, CBS Sports:

Now, UVA at No. 7? Yeah, that feels pretty close to right. Sure, the program is losing three players to early NBA Draft entry for the first time in its history, but this is Virginia and it’s still got arguably the best coach going in the sport. Jay Huff, Kihei Clark, Braxton Key and Mamadi Diakite all return, all players that logged significant minutes a season ago. And until UVA shows it can take a big step back regardless of who’s on the roster, I’ll be ranking the Wahoos in the preseason top 10 every season going forward until they fail to finish as a top-10 team by season’s end.

The countdown will continue until the Hoos kick off the season at Syracuse on November 6! Stay tuned!