If it wasn’t for a loss to TCU, head coach Tony Bennett would have a team labeled among the remaining unbeatens in the country.
However, at 8-1 overall Virginia has still been turning some heads, and a 20-point thumping of George Mason on Tuesday night helped add to that hype.
The Cavaliers 68-48 victory over George Mason extended their winning streak to six games, as Virginia now turns their focus to a two-game west coast trip.
Virginia will have some time to sit at 8-1, as the Cavaliers enter an 11-day quiet period before heading to Oregon on Sunday, Dec. 18. They will also take on Seattle on Dec. 21 before returning to the east coast for a pair of home games before the New Year.
Since 2001, Virginia has only made the NCAA Tournament one time (2007).
Now in their third year under Bennett, the Cavaliers appear to be on the upswing, at least early on in the season. With Duke and North Carolina headlining the ACC, the race for the third spot in the conference is up for grabs.
Much of Virginia’s hype can be given to the health and production of senior forward Mike Scott.
Scott, who missed the tail end of last season due to injury, has been off to a terrific start this year, scoring in double-figures in seven consecutive games. The 6-foot-8 forward leads the team, averaging 15.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
In addition to Scott’s health and production, Virginia features a well-balanced attack with guards Sammy Zeglinski and Joe Harris in the back court.
Freshman Malcolm Brogdon has shown some great flashes early on, averaging 7.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game.
Jontel Evans, Assane Sene, and K.T. Harrell are also producing, while each averaging over 20 minutes per game.
With the Cavaliers currently riding a six-game winning streak, their hype continues to grow, while more and more people take notice into their potential this season.
A Nov. 29 win over Michigan as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, remains the Cavaliers’ best victory through their first nine games, but other wins over Drexel and most recently George Mason, are not too shabby either.
With five games remaining on their non-conference schedule, the toughest tests for Virginia are Oregon and LSU, and if the Cavaliers can keep up this early-season momentum, they may be heading into ACC play with one of the top records in the conference.
*Photo: Mike Scott *Credit: usatoday.com
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