#47 Virginia Cavaliers: College Basketball 111 in 111


uva dance team

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

Returning six of their top seven scorers, the Virginia Cavaliers could be a sleeper team in the ACC.  In his third season as head coach, Tony Bennett has UVA heading in the right direction, but is it too early to be thinking NCAA Tournament?

Last Season: T-7th, 7-9 in ACC, 16-15 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 4th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Assane Sene (Sr)/James Johnson (Fr)
PF: Mike Scott (Sr)/Akil Mitchell (So)/Darion Atkins (Fr)
G/F: Joe Harris (So)/Paul Jesperson (Fr)
SG: KT Harrell (So)/Malcolm Brogdon (Fr)
PG: Jontel Evans (Jr)/Sammy Zeglinski (Sr)

Gone: G-Mustapha Farrakhan, PF-Will Sherrill, PG-Billy Baron (transfer-Rhode Island), F-Will Regan (transfer-Buffalo)

tony bennett virginia2010-2011 Outlook:
The return of power forward Mike Scott will be a huge boost for UVA’s tourney hopes.  Scott played in just ten games before suffering an ankle injury that cost him the rest of last season.  He did receive a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA and earned another year of eligibility.

He will be joined up-front by Assane Sene.  The seven-footer started 27 games last season and provides a defensive presence in the middle with his rebounding and shot blocking, but is very limited on the offensive end.  The depth in the post is young and inexperienced.  Akil Mitchell played sparingly last season but will compete for minutes with redshirt freshman James Johnson and Darion Atkins.

The injury to Scott forced Bennett to go with a four guard starting line-up last season.  That allowed KT Harrell and Joe Harris to get great experience in their freshmen campaigns.  Both guys shot around 42% from distance and should benefit from Scott drawing more attention on the block thus leaving the shooters open for better looks.

Freshman Paul Jesperson is a lengthy forward who can shoot the ball from deep and is also capable of playing a point forward type role which he did frequently in high school.  Malcolm Bragdon is considered the best of the Cavs’ in-coming freshman class and will add even more scoring on the wing.

Jontel Evans returns to run the point.  Since he is not much of an outside shooter, Evans will be relied upon to control the tempo and distribute the basketball.  Sammy Zeglinski brings experience off the bench and is capable of playing point guard or also running alongside Evans in the same backcourt.  He will be the team’s sixth man and another three-point threat, giving Virginia several guys who are capable of lighting it up from deep.

With Bennett putting his imprint on the UVA program and a very solid 2012 recruiting class, the Cavaliers should be contending for a NCAA Tournament berth in the very near future.  If the pieces fall into place, it could happen as soon as this season since the ACC lacks the depth it has possessed in recent years.

Player to Watch: Mike Scott
The 6-8 forward emerged as the team’s top player last season as he was averaging a double-double before getting hurt.  Assuming he is healthy, Scott will be relied on heavily as a low post scorer and rebounder.  His outside shot also showed improvement a year ago and being consistent from 15 feet will be a huge weapon.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/18 vs. TCU (Paradise Jam)
11/19 vs. Drexel/Norfolk State (Paradise Jam)
11/21 vs. Marquette/Winthrop/Ole Miss/Drake (Paradise Jam)
11/29 vs. Michigan (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
12/6 vs. George Mason
12/18 at Oregon
1/2 at LSU

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs

#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs

#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

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