(Editor’s Note: This is Part 3 of 3 looking at the basketball season so far)
So where do we go from here? If Mother Nature has anything to say about it, “Nowhere” would be the answer. The light, 16 ½ inch dusting Charlottesville got this weekend has postponed most athletic events this weekend, including the UNC-Wilmington game scheduled for Saturday. Bad news for the Hoos, but good news for me, cause it gives me a little more time to finish this article.
But how do you put a bow on the basketball season so far? By looking towards the future.
When I started writing this article, we had five remaining non-conference games. We still might, but for right now, we will look at the games that are currently on the schedule.
UNC-Wilmington Record: 4-6 RPI: 156
This game has been postponed with no makeup date scheduled yet. This was a game that I was always a little weary of just because UNCW has the ability to upset major conference teams, such as Penn State, who we lost to earlier this year. But since this game never happened, we will move forward.
NJIT Record: 3-7 RPI: 300
When this contest was announced at the beginning of the season it screamed “Rebuilding Year”. The New Jersey Institute of Technology has only had a Division I basketball team for 4 years and they have won about 6 games….ever. What makes it worse is that most of those wins are over Division II or III competition, including 2 this year. The Highlanders usually play very small, utilizing a 4 guard offense most of the time. The key to winning: show up. There are about 800 ways to win this game, and 0 ways to lose. Cavalier Prediction: There can be only one….UVa in a rout.
Hampton Record: 2-8 RPI: 291
Home game? Check. Instate? Check. Creampuff? Check. Hampton is going through a rebuilding season also, and it’s not going well at all. On top of that, the Pirates are mourning the passing of their team caption due to an off-site altercation. They have a decent back court combo in Vincent Simpson and Darrion Pellum and can go inside to Michael Freeman when the opportunity arises. But this one should not be close, which is why UVa will make it a game until late in the second half before they pull away. Cavalier Prediction: Wahoos win.
UAB Record: 10-1 RPI: 38
This will be our only true test left on the non-conference schedule. The Blazers are a legit NCAA team and have been impressive all season minus their lone loss at Kent State. They have a very good defense, holding teams to under 58 points per game. Elijah Millsap is their best player who averages a double-double per game. But UAB has played about as hard a schedule as the Hoos and most of their games at home, so if UVa wants a chance at winning, they will have to treat this game like ACC game. But I just can’t see a W here. Cavalier Prediction: UAB wins easily.
University of Texas- Pan American Record: 1-11 RPI: 285
This will be the last tune up game before going on the road to NC State. If you can’t say anything nice about someone, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Well, there is not really a bright spot on this UTPA team so we will just let this one play out on the court. This one should be over by halftime. Cavalier Prediction: UVa in the biggest blowout of the season.
Can UVa regroup and focus after an up and down start of the season? The next four games will determine if the Hoos can be competitive the rest of the way. No matter what happens, we’ll stay with them all season, so stay tuned.