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Staff Roundtable: Who is Virginia’s rival?

With Louisville on the horizon, we got to thinking...who is Virginia’s biggest rival?

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NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

This week has been dubbed “Rivalry Week” across college basketball, and the Hoos already have a road win over Virginia Tech. Up next, the Hoos head to face the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday. Coach Mack, when asked in this week’s press conference, said he guessed UVA would be Louisville’s “rival”. This is in line with the ACC making UVA and Louisville perma-rivals from a scheduling standpoint, and the Athletic’s Jeff Greer went on his own journey to find out who Louisville’s rival is in college basketball ($$).

So, we asked the Streaking the Lawn staff: Who would you say are Virginia’s “rivals” in basketball, and does that change in football?

Brian “Fearless Leader” Leung: Virginia Twitter fans are my biggest riva...oh you mean the team? For me, I think Virginia Tech remains the rival in both sports. For football, the reasoning is obvious. The Hokies are not where Virginia is in basketball from an upper echelon perspective, but I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we described it as Duke or Carolina, because then we’d basically be the NC State of Virginia, and literally nobody wants that. At the end of the day, for most fans, I think a loss to Duke, Carolina, or any other school in basketball results in, “Oh man, that sucks,” but a loss to Virginia Tech really has some sting to it. See, e.g., last year. As much as I appreciate the ACC assigning our commonwealth brethren as Virginia’s rival...

Pierce: The overall answer is certainly Tech - and that definitely carries over into basketball. Tech being a better basketball team in recent years has helped, but I think anytime the Hoos play any sport, the Hokies are the primary rival - with the exception of sports like men’s lacrosse, which our less-sophisticated friends are too afraid to play. However, I think old-ACC ties and the history of Virginia basketball do keep UNC and, perhaps more-recently, Duke as rivals to me. Growing up watching the best UVa squads still be unable to beat UNC (and the rooting instructions from my alum mother) will always keep UNC as a rival in my mind - while the recent years of battles (and the obvious nation-sweeping hatred for the team) probably put Duke in third place to me. Louisville has a long way to go to replace Maryland (who would be #3 in my basketball rival list, ahead of Duke) - but I see potential in their style of play, quality coaching meaning they’ll be a championship contender, and overly-rabid fan base.

Fearless Leader: If we’re doing rankings, I continue to hate Maryland more than I do either Duke or Carolina. Passionately.

Sayer Paige: In the grand scheme of things, it is hard to argue for any school besides Virginia Tech as the primary rival for the Hoos in both football and basketball. To be sure, a lot of it stems from the whole in-state thing, but, at least in recent years, we’ve also seen our fair share of close contests between the two programs, which is a necessity for any healthy rivalry.

However, I will make the argument that Duke, at least over the past few years, has been close to if not our main rival in men’s basketball. Dating back to the 2013-2014 season, nearly all of the contests between the two have been the source of national conversation and have played an important role in conference standings. Of course, some of the excitement that surrounds these games stems from the freakish athletes that Coach K seems to consistently bring in (i.e. Zion Williamson), but it also comes from the fact that UVa has seen so much success in the ACC of late. Any time two teams meet three times in a row as programs ranked inside the top five, tension is bound to rise.

Tiki: I may have a different perspective on this, since I went to school so long ago. Our main rival in basketball is, obviously, Chaminade.

OK, I’m not actually that old. But things were very different when I was in school. VT wasn’t a threat in basketball. Even when we were bad, they weren’t in our league. (Literally, as they were MCAC and then Atlantic-10.) Similarly, we weren’t on the same level as Duke and UNC, so we couldn’t be rivals with them. Our biggest rival was probably Maryland, at least until they went and won a title.

VT has always been our main rival in football, even when they were Big East.

That will likely never change.

Danny “Stats Man” Neckel: Unfortunately it is VT. Back when I was an undergrad it was Maryland since UVA was competitive with them in every sport. There was also the added geographical rivalry in Northern VA/DC area. But alas, the Terps moved to the Big 10, never to be heard from again. So it is VT.

Emily Caron: No offense to Coach Mack, but I don’t think anyone at Virginia would call Louisville a rival. It’s always a good game in basketball but a rivalry is a stretch. That said I’d still say, in the broad sense, that Virginia’s rival is and will always be Virginia Tech. The proximity, history, multi-sport aspect of it is unmatched. But then I also echo Sayer’s thought that Duke has become just as much of a rival when it comes to basketball.

Ryan Reese: As with any discussion of rivalries at UVA it all depends on your generation. Obviously, Virginia Tech has always been a big deal, but before they joined the ACC, it was really only a football thing. UNC holds a special place of hate up for folks up until the late 90’s coming to a head with the Ronald Curry saga. But by the time I was in school in the early 2000’s, it was definitely Maryland (as others have pointed out). It’s hard to call Duke or UNC a rival when they don’t really consider us theirs. Obviously, the games with Duke in recent years have been really good and huge on a national stage, but we will never be UNC to them. And furthermore, we don’t compete for the same recruits. That has to be part of it.

Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t mind Louisville taking the place of Maryland. Between baseball and basketball, both schools are national powers. Geographically, there isn’t much there, but going back to an idea I heard on a podcast or radio show a couple years back (sorry I forget who to credit), you could easily call all matchups between the two schools the Bourbon Bowl. And who isn’t up for that?

Paul Wiley: There are a couple of different answers that could all have merit, depending on your definition of the rivalry. Rivals based on being similar fanbases and institutions? UNC-Chapel Hill, even if we don’t want to admit it. One-sided rivals, who take it way more seriously than UVA does? Definitely VCU. Online troll rivals? Syracuse--I’m looking at you, TNIAAM. But for pure, visceral, gut-hatred rivalry, it’s VPISU and not even close

Darns: So, I am less touchy about what’s called a rival. I agree with Sayer 100% in that the Duke-UVA games have definitely had a rivalry feel with the build-up, the excitement, and being well-fought games. They’re obviously not a “rival” (that’s UNC and always will be), nor is UNC, but games with those two squads have become a recent rivalry of sort because of regular/postseason implications and high-level play.

As far as Louisville, I’d put them with Syracuse in the group that is starting to develop as a rivalry. Playing the Cards twice obviously ups the ante, but I have always looked forward to the Louisville games in the last couple seasons to see if Virginia can keep up their domination. If you throw in the exciting game last season, I think matchups with them have a little more oomph than ones with, say, Georgia Tech, Boston College, or Pitt.

I’d agree that Virginia Tech is still Virginia’s primary rival in both sports. It’s just more fun to beat them (and worse to lose to them) if we’re being honest.

What say you? Who are Virginia’s rivals?


Who do you consider to be Virginia’s Basketball rival?

This poll is closed

  • 55%
    Virginia Tech
    (234 votes)
  • 13%
    North Carolina
    (57 votes)
  • 16%
    (71 votes)
  • 0%
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    (12 votes)
  • 9%
    (39 votes)
  • 0%
    (4 votes)
420 votes total Vote Now