Virginia Ranked No. 21 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early College Basketball Top 25
See where ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has the Cavaliers ranked in his “way-too-early” top 25
Virginia is ranked No. 21 in ESPN’s latest “Way-Too-Early” college basketball top 25 rankings for the 2022-2023 season. The list includes ACC teams from UVA, North Carolina, and Duke. UVA is ranked third. The list includes Duke (No. 1) and North Carolina (No. 9).
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello had this to say about Virginia’s Cavaliers:
Virginia is the highest-ranked team on our list. Although they didn’t make it to the NCAA tournament last year, Virginia’s ranking reflects the Cavaliers’ improved depth and versatility and the notion that Tony Bennett would never have to go down in consecutive years. Bennett’s options are greatly enhanced by Virginia adding an entire second line to its roster. While all five starters are back from last year, Bennett is also adding . All-MAC forward Ben Vander Plas could make the biggest immediate impact after averaging 14.3 points at Ohio last season, but it’s the quartet of freshmen — ESPN 100 prospects Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, and Leon Bond, and four-star recruit Ryan Dunn — that should begin to form the core for the next few years. The biggest question is how quickly the newcomers will adapt defensively.
From a team that went 21-14 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament in 2021-2022, Virginia is set to return its entire starting five and its stop six scorers, led by All-ACC Third Team forward and leading scorer Jayden Gardner (15.3 ppg). The Cavaliers have also added Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and was named to the All-MAC First Team last season. UVA will also bring in the nation’s 11th-best 2022 recruiting class (per 247Sports) that includes a foursome of four-star prospects in Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, Leon Bond, and Ryan Dunn.
After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, expect the Hoos to be back in the Big Dance next March.
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