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Virginia Basketball releases 2014-2015 schedule

Christmas came early! Here's Virginia's schedule:

Bruce Bennett

UVA Basketball's 2014-2015 schedule is out!  The defending ACC Champions will play 30 regular season games this year, including 12 out-of-conference matchups and 18 ACC games.  16 will be at JPJ, 12 on the road, and 2 at neutral sites.

Once again, UVA will feature heavily on national TV.  Virginia has 3 games scheduled for ESPN, (the 3 Big Monday matchups), 4 for ESPN2, and 3 more that will be shown on either ESPN or ESPN2.  5 games will be on ESPNU, and 2 on NBC Sports.  If not televised nationally, other games will be televised on regional TV or ESPN3.

Without further ado, here is the 2014-2015 Virginia basketball schedule.  Further analysis follows!

Virginia Cavaliers 2014-2015 Basketball Schedule
Day Date Opponent Time TV
Fri. Nov. 14 @ JMU 7:00 PM
Sun. Nov. 16 Norfolk State 6:00 PM
Tues. Nov. 18 South Carolina St. TBA
Fri. Nov. 21 George Washington TBA ESPN3
Tues. Nov. 25 Tenn. State TBA
Fri. Nov. 28 vs. La Salle (BCC) 9:30 PM NBC Sports
Sat. Nov. 29 vs. Rutgers/Vanderbilt (BCC) 7/9:30 NBC Sports
Wed. Dec. 3 @ Maryland 9:15 PM ESPN2
Sat. Dec. 6 @ VCU 2:00 PM ESPNU
Tues. Dec. 18 Cleveland State 7:00 PM ESPNU
Sun. Dec. 21 Harvard Noon ESPNU
Tues. Dec. 30 Davidson 6:00 PM ESPNU
Sat. Jan. 3 @ Miami 2/4:30 ESPN2
Wed. Jan. 7 NC State 7:00 PM ESPN2
Sat. Jan. 10 @ Notre Dame 6:00 PM ESPN2
Tues. Jan. 13 Clemson 8:00 PM ACCN
Sat. Jan. 17 @ Boston College 2:00 PM RSN
Thurs. Jan. 22 Georgia Tech 8:00 PM ACCN
Sat. Jan. 25 @ Virginia Tech 1:00 PM ACCN
Sat. Jan. 31 Duke 4/7:00 ESPN/ESPN2
Mon. Feb. 2 @ North Carolina 7:00 PM ESPN
Sat. Feb. 7 Louisville 6:00 PM ESPN/ESPN2
Wed. Feb. 11 @ NC State 8:00 PM ACCN
Sat. Feb. 14 Wake Forest 2:30 PM ACCN/RSN
Mon. Feb. 16 Pittsburgh 7:00 PM ESPN
Sun. Feb. 22 Florida State 6:30 PM ESPNU
Wed. Feb. 25 @ Wake Forest 7:00 PM RSN
Sat. Feb. 28 Virginia Tech 4:00 PM ACCN
Mon. Mar. 2 @ Syracuse 7:00 PM ESPN
Sat. Mar. 7 @ Louisville TBA ESPN/ESPN2

The schedule is another tough one for Virginia.  The out-of-conference features 4 games against teams that finished last season in KenPom's top 50, including road games at Maryland and VCU.  Tony Bennett also did a good job avoiding those "RPI-killers" that plagued the team before last season.  Virginia has just 4 games against teams that finished last season below 200th in RPI, and one of those is on the road.

The Hoos get underway on Friday, November 14, in Harrisonburg against the JMU Dukes. This marks the second time in the past 3 years that UVA has opened the year on the road against an in-state team - (the Hoos started in 2012 at George Mason).  Coach Bennett has been extraordinarily willing to play away from JPJ against local teams.  Virginia's home-opener is two days later, when Norfolk State visits on Sunday the 16th, followed by another one day break before SC State comes to JPJ.  That's 3 games in 6 days...thankfully against what could be the 3 worst teams that UVA will see all year.

UVA's first true test comes the following Friday, 11/21, against George Washington at JPJ.  Last year, Virginia was primed to take on the Colonials in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, before they fell to Memphis. This matchup is the first part of a home-and-home series that will see the Hoos head to DC next season.

In the Barclay's Center Classic, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, UVA will take on La Salle then either Rutgers or Vanderbilt in Brooklyn.  (The games against NSU and Tennessee State at home are the "opening rounds" of the tournament, but UVA "advances" to Brooklyn automatically).

The next week is a brutal one, with two more games away from JPJ.  We thought we had gotten rid of them, but Virginia will play Maryland in College Park as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  Then, that weekend, the Hoos head to Richmond to play the VCU Rams.  Let's call this week "Redemption Week" after UVA dropped heartbreakers to both teams last season.

After the exam break, Cleveland State comes to JPJ, followed by Harvard, in what could be a showdown between two top-25 ranked teams.  UVA then rematches Davidson at home before the conference season starts.

The ACC schedule will be unforgiving once again, though probably only average relative to other conference teams.  UVA sees Louisville, VT, NC State, and Wake Forest twice, so there's still plenty of opportunity for opposing fans to complain about the unbalanced schedule.

The first ACC game of the season will be on the road in Miami, followed by the home conference opener against NC State.  The toughest stretch of the year comes weeks later, when UVA sees Duke on Saturday, then heads to Chapel Hill for their "Big Monday" matchup, then returns home to take on Louisville.

The Hoos also have a brutal finish, ending on the road at Syracuse and at Louisville.

Come March, it's tough to imagine how this schedule won't be viewed favorably by the Selection Committee. Obviously, the ACC section should be brutal.  The ACC is top-heavy with the likes of traditional ACC powers like Duke and UNC, as well as Louisville, Syracuse, and Pitt.  And the bottom promises to be less sucky (we're looking at you, Virginia Tech).

And the out-of-conference section is very well done. UVA challenges themselves on the road at Maryland and VCU (and even heads to JMU, which helps the RPI). And, as noted previously, they play very few of those "RPI-killers."  Here's a look at how UVA's out-of-conference opponents fared last year in KenPom and in RPI. It's nice that the teams tended to be ranked higher by RPI than KenPom (even if only a bit) - it means they generally "looked" (to the committee) better than they actually played, rather than vice versa:

UVA OOC Schedule Strength
Date Opponent 2013-14 Ken Pom Rank 2013-14 RPI Rank
Nov. 14 @ JMU 267 235
Nov. 16 Norfolk State 253 228
Nov. 18 South Carolina St. 345 331
Nov. 21 George Washington 47 37
Nov. 25 Tenn. State 284 208
Nov. 28 vs. La Salle (BCC) 105 98
Nov. 29 vs. Rutgers/Vanderbilt (BCC) 166/112 190/122
Dec. 3 @ Maryland 40 83
Dec. 6 @ VCU 17 18
Dec. 18 Cleveland State 88 90
Dec. 21 Harvard 32 44
Dec. 30 Davidson 120 132
Average: 145 137

Now, we wait. November 14th sits just two and half months away!