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Virginia Basketball releases 2015-2016 schedule

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers have released their 2015-2016 basketball schedule. Virginia, looking to defend its second consecutive ACC regular season title, will play 30 regular season matchups this year - 12 out-of-conference games, followed by 18 ACC games.

Here's the full schedule - some thoughts follow:

Virginia Cavaliers 2015-2016 Basketball Schedule
Day Date Opponent Time TV
Fri. Nov. 13 Morgan State TBA
Mon. Nov. 16 @ George Washington 7:30 PM ESPN2
Thurs. Nov. 19 vs. Bradley (Charleston Classic) 9:30 PM ESPN2
Fri. Nov. 20 vs. Long Beach St. OR Seton Hall (Charleston Classic) 7 or 9:30 PM ESPNU/ESPN3
Sun. Nov. 22 vs. Oklahoma St. OR Towson OR Ole Miss OR GMU  (Charleston Classic) TBA ESPN2/ESPNU/ESPN3
Wed. Nov. 25 Lehigh TBA
Tues. Dec. 1 @ Ohio State 7:30 PM ESPN
Wed. Dec. 5 William and Mary TBA
Tues. Dec. 8 vs. West Virginia (MSG) 7 PM ESPN
Sat. Dec. 19 Villanova Noon ESPN2
Tues. Dec. 22 California 9 PM ESPN2
Wed. Dec. 30 Oakland 6 PM ESPNU
Sat. Jan. 2 Notre Dame 5 PM ESPN2
Mon. Jan. 4 @ Virginia Tech 9 PM ESPN2
Sat. Jan. 9 @ Georgia Tech 2 or 2:30 PM
Tues. Jan. 12 Miami 7 PM ESPNU
Sun. Jan. 17 @ Florida State 6:30 PM ESPNU
Tues. Jan. 19 Clemson 9 PM
Sat. Jan. 23 Syracuse Noon ESPN or ESPN2
Mon. Jan. 25 @ Wake Forest 9 PM ESPNU
Sat. Jan. 30 @ Louisville 1 PM CBS
Wed. Feb. 3 Boston College TBA RSN
Sat. Feb. 6 @ Pittsburgh Noon
Tues. Feb. 9 Virginia Tech 8 PM
Sat. Feb. 13 @ Duke 4 or 9 PM ESPN or ESPN2
Mon. Feb. 15 NC State 7 PM ESPN
Mon. Feb. 22 @ Miami 7 PM ESPN
Sat. Feb. 27 North Carolina TBA ESPN or ESPN2
Tues. Mar. 1 @ Clemson 7 PM ESPNU
Sat. Mar. 5 Louisville TBA ESPN or ESPN2

Virginia's schedule is another challenging one.  However, the season gets off to a manageable start, save a road trip to GW; the team plays a couple lower-level teams in Morgan State, Bradley, and Lehigh and participates in the winnable Charleston Classic. However, things get serious when the calendar turns to December. UVA heads to Ohio State for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, plays West Virginia in New York, and has back-to-back showdowns at home against Villanova and Cal.

The Hoos start ACC play Saturday, January 2nd, when they'll host Notre Dame, followed by a two-game road trip to Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.  The most difficult stretch is the six-game one to end the season. The team plays at Duke, then takes on NC State in ESPN's Big Monday two days later.  UVA returns to Big Monday against Miami the next week, then takes on UNC on February 27th in a made-for-ESPN-College-Gameday matchup. After a road trip to Clemson, the Hoos close the season against Louisville at JPJ.

One interesting quirk about the conference schedule is the heavy emphasis on Monday and Tuesday games. UVA plays nine weekend games (8 Saturdays, 1 Sunday), and nine mid-week games. Of those mid-week games, 4 are on Monday, 4 on Tuesday, 1 on Wednesday, and none on Thursday.  UVA has four "one-day turnarounds" in conference play.

The team will be all over national television once again this year. 13 of UVA's 18 ACC games will be nationally televised, as will 9 non-conference games that we know about (and it's possible others may be picked up) - that's over two-thirds of the season.

The table below shows last year's KenPom and RPI ranking of each team on UVA's out-of-conference schedule. On average, it's a bit more difficult than last season; however, with one fewer road game, it's safe to call it a push.  Note that while last year's numbers are a pretty good proxy for this year's performance, it won't be perfect.  For example, Cal finished last year at #113 on KenPom, they'll start the season ranked in the top 25 this year.

UVA OOC Schedule Strength
Date Opponent 2014-15 Ken Pom Rank 2014-15 RPI Rank
Nov. 13 Morgan State 337 337
Nov. 16 @ GW 74 84
Nov. 19 vs. Bradley 270 288
Nov. 20 vs. LBSU/Seton Hall 142/107 109/95
Nov. 22 vs. Oklahoma St./Towson/Ole Miss/GMU 42/268/50/219 51/282/60/222
Nov. 25 Lehigh 196 175
Dec. 1 @ Ohio State 21 41
Dec. 5 William and Mary 130 93
Dec. 8 vs. WVU 26 24
Dec. 19 Villanova 6 2
Dec. 22 California 113 94
Dec. 30 Oakland 164 155
Average: 133 (145 last year) 129 (137 last year)