2022-23 record: 25-8, 15-5 in the ACC
Head coach: Tony Bennett
Tenure at Virginia: 15th season
Career coaching record: 410-158
Home court: John Paul Jones Arena
Starters: G Dante Harris, G Reece Beekman, G Andrew Rohde, F Jacob Groves, F Jordan Minor
Bench: G Isaac McKneely, G Elijah Gertrude, G Taine Murray, G/F Leon Bond III, G Ryan Dunn, F Blake Buchanan, F Tristan How, F/C Anthony Robinson
Overview: The Cavaliers’ ACC championship-game roster is no more. This is a wildly different Virginia team than what’s been seen in past years. The Cavaliers will be without four of last season’s five starters, only returning Reece Beekman after the senior pulled out of the NBA draft. Duke fans remember Beekman all too well after his game-winning 3-pointer sealed Virginia’s upset win in Cameron Indoor Stadium in February 2022. Last season, the Milwaukee native shone once more, winning ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He ranked second in the conference in steals and first in assist-turnover ratio. Now, the 6-foot-3 guard will have to take the team on his back and lead a much younger squad.
The Cavaliers brought in three new transfers and four active freshmen, with recently reclassified Christian Bliss taking a redshirt year. Forwards Jacob Groves and Jordan Minor will likely fill out a small-ball frontcourt, with neither player eclipsing 6-foot-9. Groves is on his third school after two-year stints at both Eastern Washington and Oklahoma, while Minor did all four of his undergraduate years at Merrimack, where he was a three-time All-NEC honoree, earning first-team honors as a senior. His 17.4 points per game in his final year, good for second in the NEC, will bring much-needed offensive firepower to a team drained of most of its top scorers.
Virginia’s 2023 postseason was turbulent, to say the least. From their ACC tournament run and subsequent title-game loss to their first-round NCAA tournament exit as a No. 4-seed to No. 13-seed Furman, the Cavaliers struggled on the big stage after a stellar regular season. However, with so much roster turnover, Virginia has an opportunity for a fresh start.
Team ceiling: The transfer pieces and incoming freshmen rapidly build chemistry and are able to find success in the ACC. The Cavaliers make the most of a NCAA tournament bid and make a multi-round run.
Team floor: The departures are too much to overcome, and the combination of returners, transfers and freshmen doesn’t quite translate to success on the court. Virginia finds itself middling in the ACC and missing out on the NCAA tournament.
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Rachael Kaplan is a Trinity junior and sports managing editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.