As the Virginia Cavaliers handled their business against the Louisville Cardinals Saturday afternoon and consequently won a share of the ACC Regular Season Title with the Miami Hurricanes, the program has now outright won or shared the title in six of the last ten seasons. That’s something that, before Saturday, only the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels had achieved.
With all due respect to the program’s success in the early 1980s and 1990s, the past ten years have been the absolute and undisputed prime of Virginia basketball. With a National Championship, those six Regular Season Titles, two ACC Tournament Championships, an absurd .778 win rate in conference play, and nearly a dozen players making their mark on the NBA, Tony Bennett has firmly established the UVA basketball program as the modern standard for success in the ACC.
This isn’t meant as a direct shot at Duke or North Carolina, the two programs who have always been the biggest brands in the conference and arguably in college basketball. Each program has had more NCAA Tournament success than UVA over the last ten seasons (UNC has 22 NCAAT wins since 2013, Duke has 20, UVA has 13) and it will take probably another decade or two of similar degrees of success for Virginia to realistically be listed alongside the two Carolina schools as the best in the ACC all-time.
Yet, over the last ten seasons, UVA won as many NCAA Championships as both those schools, claimed double as many ACC Regular Season titles as UNC and six times as many as Duke, with only two seasons finishing outside the top two place in the ACC and 2022’s sixth place the worst finish. Meanwhile, North Carolina finished outside the top-two in the conference six times with the Tar Heel’s 13th place in 2020 a significant blemish and Duke’s four finishes outside the top-two and 10th place in 2021 highlighting just how absurd Virginia’s consistency at the top of the ACC has been.
Virginia is also 15-14 against the two Carolina schools since the beginning of the 2013-2014 season with Duke at 20-16 and UNC at 17-24. Additionally, UVA’s .778 ACC win rate over the past ten seasons is far better than Duke’s .704 and UNC’s .658 while the Cavaliers’ overall win rate (.789) is better than the two blue bloods (Duke: .772, UNC: .703) as well.
Absolutely, the Wahoos need to have more success in the NCAA Tournament and will have to more consistently reach the second weekend and beyond to truly establish themselves amongst the top-tier programs in college basketball. But, in the ACC over the last ten seasons and since Tony Bennett and the ‘Hoos announced themselves on the national stage, Virginia has set the standard for success in the ACC with the Dukes and the North Carolinas of the world close, but distinctly behind.