The ACC released its entire basketball schedule yesterday.
So it’s only fair to start taking a deeper look at the three local/psuedo-local schools.
Virginia, which went 17-16 last year, is the first of the bunch to be featured and the seventh of the 28 Division I schools in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. to garner a look.
Here we go:
They’ll miss: No. 44. For four years, Sean Singletary was one of the most reliable point guards in the country, and his number hangs above John Paul Jones Arena. That the Cavaliers will “miss” him is an understatement.
They’re adding: Sylven Landesburg, a 6-foot-6 guard from Queens, is arguably the best recruit Dave Leitao has landed at Virginia. The Cavaliers will need him to be good pretty quickly, too.
Home/road/neutral schedule split: 17/10/0
Best team visiting Charlottesville: How about the likely preseason No. 1? North Carolina will come calling on Jan. 15.
Best home game subplot: The Cavaliers started to unravel when they absorbed a 38-point drubbing at Xavier on Jan. 3. The Musketeers return the game exactly a year to the day of administering a beatdown that sent Virginia into a 1-10 tailspin.
Funny seeing you here: An interesting game on the schedule is a Dec. 20 visit from Auburn in a game featuring programs that might just have some toasty coaching seats by the end of the season.
Best road venue: Both Maryland and Virginia Tech will probably be on break when Virginia visits. So, alas, the answer will have to be Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Cavaliers play at Duke on Feb. 1, Super Bowl Sunday.
Best showcase: Nov. 28 at Syracuse. Might as well find out how far you have to go early on. The Orange should be improved this year, and the return trip to the Carrier Dome is a notable early nonconference game.
Best opponent: North Carolina. Virginia only lost by a point to the Tar Heels at JPJ last year, but Carolina brings back pretty much everyone other than Quentin Thomas and Alex Stepheson. Virginia is one of the unfortunate teams to draw the Tar Heels twice.
New to the schedule: VMI, South Florida, Radford, Liberty, Minnesota, Auburn, Brown
Pivotal stretch: The conference schedule is backloaded with home games, with Virginia playing five of its last seven at JPJ. But really, the Cavaliers need to do well early with such a young team. That’s why at least splitting the four pre-Christmas games against power conference teams (South Florida, Syracuse, Minnesota and Auburn) could be huge for the season’s prospects.
—- Patrick Stevens