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2022-23 Virginia men's basketball preview

Virginia Cavaliers

2021-22 record: 21-14, 12-8 in the ACC

Head Coach: Tony Bennett

Tenure at Virginia: 14th season

Career coaching record: 385-150

Home court: John Paul Jones Arena

Starters: G Reece Beekman, G Kihei Clark, G Armaan Franklin, F Jayden Gardner, F Kadin Shedrick

Bench: G Isaac McKneely, G/F Leon Bond III, F Ben Vander Plas, F Isaac Traudt, F Tristan How, C Francisco Caffaro

Overview: Virginia’s men’s basketball program peaked in 2019 when they lifted the national championship trophy for the first time in team history. Since then, the Cavaliers have been underwhelming. In 2021, Virginia fell to 13th-seed Ohio in the NCAA tournament and last year it failed to make it entirely. However, things should improve for the Cavaliers this season. With Tony Bennett at the helm, Virginia should once again wield one of the nation’s top defenses, and will look to reestablish itself as an ACC powerhouse. 

The Cavaliers squad will look similar to that of last year with 87.8% of its minutes returning. Despite last year’s struggles, Virginia should benefit from some continuity as Bennett’s pack line defense and mover-blocker offense does take time to perfect. Returning experience is crucial in college basketball, and an increased veteran presence should help this team. Kihei Clark looks to further his Virginia legacy in his fifth year and Jayden Gardner should continue dominating in the paint.

Along with their returning talent, the Cavaliers also possess one of their most talented recruiting classes in program history, composed of Isaac McKneely, Isaac Traudt, Leon Bond III and Ryan Dunn. The player to watch is McKneely, who will likely make an impact off the bench and push for a starting spot as the season progresses. 

Team ceiling: The defense is one of the best in the nation, the offense finds its groove and Virginia makes another title charge come March.

Team floor: Virginia produces a similar product as last year. The shortcomings on the court are a result of a lack of talent rather than a lack of experience and the Cavaliers narrowly miss out on the NCAA tournament for the second consecutive year. 

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