So we looked at the team and the schedule. Now it is time to figure out how it will go down. Last season, I pegged the Hoos for a 17-to-19 win regular season, with 8-10 coming out of conference, and a square NIT bid. We finished 21-10, with 10 OOC, and nibbled on a NCAA bid, before grabbing a #1 seed in the NIT tournament. In looking through a basketball season, you have to look at chunks of games and a range of outcomes from those groupings. Add them all up, and then you can figure out where you are going to end up come the end of the year.
Best Case: 12-1
Worst Case: 10-3
I don’t see Virginia beating VCU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, but I can’t really see them losing them all either. The Hoos are not very ‘preseason tournament’ savvy, and usually drop one game in those formats, so the TAMU/Missouri State game in the 2nd game in the Corpus Christi Challenge should be one to watch. Davidson is a mild scare, but the rest of the slate should be clean pickins. If the Hoos go 12-1 or 11-2 to start the year, awesome, but even a 10-3 or 9-4 mark depending on the losses should not, or will not, be viewed as NCAA killing, unless there is an 'ODU' loss in there.
ACC Group A: Duke, Syracuse, UNC, Notre Dame
Best Case: 3-2
Worst Case: 0-5
Sure we could go 0-fer against teams that will end up with Top 10 RPIs and not even bat an eye, but I find that pretty difficult when a split with ND is likely and a good shot against UNC at home. A ‘W’ at Duke would be unheard of, and the home tilt with Syracuse late in the season could be one to circle if the Cavs are looking for one last quality win.
ACC Group B: Pitt, Maryland, Boston College, FSU, NC State
Best Case: 6-1
Worst Case: 3-4
It’s not that I’m being too pessimistic, but these road games scare me a lot, and it is all about timing. At Florida State is the first ACC game of the year. At Maryland is the last ACC game of the year and last time playing our rivals to the north. At Pitt follows a touch road trip to Notre Dame and at NCSU comes before a trip to Durham. We won’t go unscathed, but losing all 4 of these games are a real possibility.
ACC Group C: Georgia Tech, Miami, Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech
Best Case: 6-0
Worst Case: 4-2
Continuing on with the road woes, playing at Georgia Tech has always been a nightmare for us. So has travelling to Little John Coliseum. While I would normally say that a split at VT is likely, I don’t see us losing either of those games at losing to both GT and Clemson on the road. But one or two will bite us, as per usual.
Prediction: 22-9 (11-7), ACC: 5th
Only a game and a half better than last season might not look great on paper, but it is the quality that is vastly different. Trading out the really, really bad loses for even solid loses gets the Hoos in the big dance last year, and if this team is truly better and deeper than last season, just that adjustment puts the Hoos into the NCAA tournament. Look for the rest of the ACC to beat up on each other and a 3 way tie for 4th, where Virginia falls in the middle and will play on Thursday, where they win one before playing the 1-seed. The Hoos make the tournament in the 6-8 slot and win one game. That 2-2 post season mark leaves Virginia at 24-11 and a final AP ranking. Not too shabby.