The 2016-2017 basketball season may still be seven months away, but we already have information about what UVA basketball's schedule will look like. While the official schedule won't be released until late August or early September, the overwhelming majority of Virginia's opponents are known. Here's a look ahead:
|Opponent||Location||KenPom Rank (2015-16)|
|UNC - Greensboro||Greensboro Colleseum||207|
|Iowa||Emerald Coast Classic (Destin, FL)||23|
|Memphis or Providence||Emerald Coast Classic (Destin, FL)||72 / 44|
|St. Francis (NY)||Charlottesville (Emerald Coast Classic)||280|
|Texas - Rio Grande / Savannah St. / Grambling||Charlottesville (Emerald Coast Classic)||347 / 325 / 346|
|ACC-B1G Challenge||Charlottesville||(5 if MSU?)|
Update 5/14: Virginia has added Yale to the schedule - the game has been added to the list above, as has the team's road matchup at UNC-Greensboro.
UVA has played 12 out-of-conference games the past two seasons, though they are allowed to play 13.
The out-of-conference schedule is highlighted by a road game at national champion Villanova, whom UVA handled 86-75 in Charlottesville last season. Tony Bennett has hinted that the game may be played in the midst of conference play. The team will also play at California, the return of a home-and-home (and a chance for London Perrantes to play in his home state).
Virginia will take on West Virginia in Charlottesville as part of a home-and-home, in another rematch (UVA beat WVU 70-54 in the Jimmy V Classic). It was also reported that Robert Morris will visit JPJ, as will East Carolina.
Additionally, we know that UVA will host a game in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. The Big Ten opponents eligible to play road games this year are Rutgers, Minnesota, OSU, Nebraska, Michigan State, Illinois, and Iowa. However, Iowa is already scheduled to play Virginia in the Emerald Classic, Ohio State was last year's opponent, and Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rutgers finished in the bottom 4 of the B1G last year. There's a pretty good chance that Michigan State is coming to Charlottesville this season.
In the aforementioned Emerald Challenge, Virginia will take on Iowa, then either Memphis or Providence. As part of the event, UVA will likely host two games as well, against a pool of teams including UT-Rio Grande, Savannah State, Grambling, and St. Francis. (Update 5/17: One of the games will be against St. Francis on 11/15.) These won't be difficult games.
With ten games accounted for, UVA has room for two to three more out-of-conference games. One of these may be on the road, as the team has played either two or three OOC road games in each of the past 13 years, but at least two will be at home.
Hopefully, Coach Bennett's main goal is to schedule games against "middling" opponents ranked in the 75-150 range. Virginia has plenty of big-time games on the schedule, especially considering the youth on next year's roster. However, it also has 3 games against truly painful "RPI-killer" types. That alone is okay, but any more would hurt (and counter the RPI effects of games like that big one in Philly). For example, last year UVA played #96 Long Beach State, #89 W&M, and #83 Oakland. The opener from two years ago at #203 JMU had positive RPI effects as well, since it came on the road.
2017 Conference Opponent Breakdown:
|Home Only||Road Only||Home and Road|
|Miami||Boston College||Virginia Tech|
|Georgia Tech||NC State||North Carolina|
|Wake Forest||Notre Dame|
Virginia will play a challenging conference schedule next season. The team will take on Louisville, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Pittsburgh twice. None of those teams are pushovers, and all may be projected in the top half of the ACC.
Wahoo fans can also circle that home matchup against a stacked Duke team. Not only will it be an opportunity to take on an opponent likely to be the preseason #1 in Charlottesville, but it will a chance for redemption after last season's "loss" in Durham.
For a team with high expectations but, with the loss of four senior scholarship players, many unknowns, the 2016-2017 schedule is shaping up to be an exciting one with plenty of tests.