After last year's magical season culminated in ACC regular season and tournament championships and a Sweet 16 run, expectations for the Virginia Cavaliers are high once again. Here's a rundown of where the Hoos are in various preseason rankings, polls, and predictions that we know of:
Virginia joined Duke, UNC, and Louisville in the top 10 of the USA Today/Coaches poll, as the Hoos are ranked #8. UVA has 6 games against teams ranked in the preseason top 25, and another 6 against teams in the "also receiving votes" category.
The AP Poll should follow in the next week or so.
Ken Pomeroy: #8
Ken Pom had UVA at #4 in his final rankings last season, and the Hoos start in the top 10 once again this year. Duke tops his projections, with ACC brethren Louisville at #3 and Syracuse #11. Computers aren't fooled by North Carolina's pedigree, as KenPom's has the Tar Heels down at a more reasonable (than other rankings) #20.
Pomeroy's system has Virginia's offense as the 19th best in the nation and the defense at #4. It's all good for a projected 21-8 (12-6 ACC) record. In the out-of-conference, Virginia is decent (75%+) favorites against everyone except at VCU, where the Hoos are a slight underdog, and at Maryland, a toss-up game.
ESPN has LOTS of good stuff here, including analysis from Dana O'Neil, Jay Bilas, Eamonn Brennan, and John Gasaway. Brennan and Gasaway highlight a key to UVA's success - replacing Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell. Harris excelled at 3-point shooting and Mitchell at defensive rebounding, while their likely "replacements" (in terms of minutes) Justin Anderson and Anthony Gill have lots of room to improve in those respective categories.
There's also a video preview from Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg. Greenberg asserts that Virginia's backcourt of London Perrantes and Malcolm Brogdon is "one of the best" in college basketball. His "X-Factor" is Justin Anderson.
That #12 ranking is the result of tabulating the predictions of CBS Sports's six designated college basketball experts, Chip Patterson was highest on Virginia, pegging the Hoos at #8, while Doug Gottlieb has the team at 23. Jerry Palm, usually no friend of the Hoos, had us 10th.
Before we go all go and tweet angry things at Gottlieb, remember that these are preseason rankings with little to go off of and there should be some variance. Now let's all go tweet angry things at Gottlieb.
SBNation: ??? (Top 8)
SBNation has been counting down the top teams in college basketball as the season nears. They have posted previews on teams ranked from #25 (Kansas State) to #9 (Louisville), but still no sign of the Virginia Cavaliers... We'll keep you updated.