By Ed Morgans @writered21 on June 9, 2014
In one season, Virginia head coach Tony Bennett turned the Cavaliers from an also-ran that was at times unwatchable on offense into appointment television. Virginia went 30-7 for the 2013-14 season, 16-2 in the ACC and won both the regular season and tournament championships. Now a reinvigorated program, Virginia already has five games you can't afford to miss on the schedule for next season.
Virginia returns to New York City, where its 2013-14 season ended vs. Michigan State in the Sweet 16, with an appearance in the Barclays Center Classic the weekend after Thanksgiving. UVA will matchup with two of Vanderbilt, Rutgers, and La Salle. While the matchups aren't necessarily mouthwatering, the tourney invite is a sign of UVA's progress and must-see TV for Wahoo fans.
One of the teams to knock off Virginia last year was VCU, as the Rams won in Charlottesville early in the season. The teams will rematch next season in Richmond, probably in December (date and time are TBD). For all the talk of Virginia vs. Virginia Tech, the truth is that UVA vs. VCU is becoming the Commonwealth's best college basketball rivalry.
The 2014-15 season marks the debut of the Louisville Cardinals in the ACC. Head coach Rick Pitino's red birds make the conference even tougher than it already was, and the quintet of Louisville, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke and Syracuse figure to rule the league for years to come. The Cavaliers and Cardinals meet twice as conference opponents in 2014-15 and both games should be great.
Just when you thought you were out, the Cavaliers and Terrapins pull you back in. The soon-to-be former ACC rivals will meet again in College Park on December 3 as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It can be argued that UVA as the ACC champs deserved Michigan State or Michigan, etc., but all eyes should be on this game as UVA seeks revenge for an overtime loss in Maryland's home finale last season.
Virginia caught a lot of criticism from folks on Tobacco Road about its schedule last season, only having to play Duke once. That game was a four-point loss in Durham, but UVA won when the teams met in the ACC Tournament final. Next season, the lone regular-season meeting between the ACC warriors is in Charlottesville in the most can't-miss game of the 2014-15 season.
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