UVa-VMI Moved Up to 2 PM


The first pitch for the Tuesday (Feb. 23) game between Virginia and VMI at Davenport Field has been moved to 2 p.m. The game originally was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m., but a threat for inclement weather has prompted the change.

UVa's Official Release about the Gametime

Coach of the Year: CTB is the #1 Candidate


1. Tony Bennett, Virginia It is not hard to make a case for Bennett as coach of the year—the Cavaliers are one game out of first in the ACC, but they are in a much stronger position to earn a No. 1 seed than North Carolina—but Bennett must also be recognized for the work he has done in Charlottesville over the past three seasons. This program was in rough shape when he took over seven years ago (Virginia played in one NCAA tournament between 2001 and 2012), but now Bennett has his team on the verge of a possible third consecutive ACC regular season championship. I would submit that he has done his best job this season, considering that he lost his best offensive player (Justin Anderson, whom the Dallas Mavericks selected in the first round of last year's NBA draft) and his best defensive player (Darion Atkins) from last year's team. Bennett is at his best teaching his vaunted pack-line defense, and though his teams are sometimes limited offensively, they are never undisciplined. If a team is going to beat Virginia, it is going to have do it by playing Virginia's way. That is the ultimate compliment to a coach.

Honest Assessments from Other Coaches -


Virginia (21–5, 10–4): "If they're missing some shots, it's not as easy for them to come back. I don't know if their guys get tired playing that way sometimes. [Senior guard Malcolm] Brogdon can be a little streaky as a shooter. The guy that hurts you is [junio guard London] Perrantes. He makes big shots. They're not as good as they've been defensively, but they're not bad. When Brogdon and Perrantes don't score, they struggle. Teams are keying on those two guys and saying, let everybody else beat us. Brogdon is going to reject 90% of all screens. He wants to play in space by himself. I don't think they trust [senior center Mike] Tobey with ball screen coverage defense. That's why they're playing small. I don't think Tobey has been what they anticipated he would be as a senior."

Power Rankings: Virginia Cavaliers No. 1 by Sports Illustrated


Meanwhile, an entirely reasonable case can be made for Virginia as No. 1. The Cavaliers have the most attractive combination of résumé (seven wins over the top 50), efficiency (ranked No. 3 overall), momentum (seven straight wins, including three on the road) and passing the eye test (they’re currently playing their best defense of the season). The defensive data falls in line with the eye test, too.

SI's Luke Winn

Athlon Sports: College Football's Pre-Spring Top 75 Running Back Rankings for 2016


49. Taquan Mizzell, Virginia. Mizzell posted a career-best 664 yards last season and was a valuable cog in Virginia’s passing attack. The Virginia native led the team with 75 catches and ranked second with 721 receiving yards.

Athlon Sports

SI's Luke Winn Puts UVa at #2 in Power Rankings


I may regret going out on this limb, but I like this Virginia team’s chances of making a Final Four more than I did the previous two, which had far superior defenses. The Cavaliers are more proficient on offense this time around, and they have more positional flexibility—the ability to play two point guards alongside scorer Malcolm Brogdon; the ability to play small with Anthony Gill at the five, or go big by pairing him with 7-footer Mike Tobey; and the ability to mix in sophomore wings Devon Hall and Marial Shayok depending on matchups. They can still put the clamps on teams—their 0.77 points-per-possession suffocation of Louisville is a big reason why they jumped to No. 2—and they’ve beaten quality opponents of varied styles in West Virginia, Villanova, Notre Dame, Miami and the Cardinals.

Next up: 2/6 at Pittsburgh, 2/9 vs. Virginia Tech SI's Latest Power Rankings

SI's Power Rankings Put UVa at #7


The most entertaining part of Virginia-Wake Forest, which I’m sure you’ve seen by now, was the Cavaliers scoring 18 points in the final 1:23, including a banked-in Darius Thompson three at the buzzer, to pull off a 72–71 win. The part that most intrigued Virginia Defense Nerds, a community to which I belong, is that for six possessions in the second half, Bennett switched the Cavaliers into something resembling a 1-2-2 zone.

As unexpected as this was—according to Synergy, the last time Virginia had played a possession of zone was Feb. 18, 2014, at Virginia Tech, and the last time Virginia used zone for multiple possessions in a game was Jan. 28, 2014, at Notre Dame—the zone still adhered to Bennett defensive principles. They fronted the post, and the off-ball defenders mostly stayed inside the arc, so that if you paused the tape at times, it resembled the Pack-Line.

SI's Power Rankings

Mike Brey impressed with UVa's home-court advantage


''I think they're a confident team,'' Brey said. ''When you win at Wake and you win at Duke within three days, you have something to work with. No one wins at Virginia, so I wouldn't even count that. They know they have a very important homestand, and they started off very focused and played really well.''


Canady earning high praise at Senior Bowl


I really enjoyed watching Maurice Canady, the cornerback from Virginia. I really thought he stepped his game up in press coverage on Wednesday against excellent competition.

Senior Bowl: Day 2 NFL Media observations

Blanding named to Yahoo's Top 50 for 2016

46. Quin Blanding, S, Virginia

Blanding has started all 24 games since he stepped onto campus in 2014 and has over 100 tackles in back-to-back seasons. The junior should continue to thrive under new coach Bronco Mendenhall. Top 50 college football players for 2016