NCAA Basketball Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia Basketball: 5 Predictions for the Upcoming Season

Bold Predictions for the Upcoming Virginia Basketball Season

UVA
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After a breakthrough season in which Virginia posted its best record (30-7) in more than 30 years, it will be an important year for the Cavaliers. Gone are seniors Joe Harris (drafted by Cleveland) and Akil Mitchell, leaving a roster full of talented underclassmen and a decent freshmen class. Virginia also faces the challenge of retooled teams at Duke and North Carolina, as well as Louisville's ACC debut. Here are five predictions for 2014-15.

5. Mike Tobey Will Become a Serious Post Threat

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5. Mike Tobey Will Become a Serious Post Threat

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If you just look at Tobey's numbers, you can make the argument that he actually regressed in 2013-14, his sophomore season. But offense was spread out a little more between Harris, Malcolm Brogdon and late in the year, Anthony Gill. But Tobey showed flashes of being a solid post presence who can also step out and hit jumpers to 14 feet or so. He'll have a bigger offensive role next season and the bet is he'll excel.

4. UVA Will Miss Akil Mitchell More Than Joe Harris

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4. UVA Will Miss Akil Mitchell More Than Joe Harris

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It sounds crazy, given that Harris went 33rd in Thursday's NBA Draft to Cleveland and Mitchell wasn't drafted, but in many ways, Mitchell was the heart of last year's Cavaliers team, especially defensively. He and Justin Anderson often made the key defensive play that would spark a long, game-deciding run in the second half against the likes of Notre Dame and Syracuse. It will be tough to replace that intangible next season.

3. UVA Won't Win the ACC Regular Season

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3. UVA Won't Win the ACC Regular Season

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With Duke and North Carolina combining to bring in seven McDonald's All-Americans next fall, and the entrance of a perennial powerhouse in Louisville, the ACC is going to be much tougher next season than it was in 2013-14, when Virginia won both the regular season and tournament. The truth is, UVA could even be a little bit better this coming year and still not win the ACC. The Cavaliers will contend, but repeating is going to be a tough task.

2. Malcolm Brogdon Will Be First-Team All-ACC

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2. Malcolm Brogdon Will Be First-Team ACC

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Along with Harris, Brogdon developed last season into one of the conference's best overall players. He scored in double figures in every ACC regular-season game, and was regularly Mr. Clutch at the free-throw line late in close games, leading UVA to a 16-2 conference record. He was Second-Team All-ACC for his efforts, but he will improve next season and earn First-Team honors. By his senior year, he'll be contending for Player of the Year.

1. Virginia Won't Win 30 Games Next Season

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1. Virginia Won't Win 30 Games Next Season

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Saying Virginia won't win 30 games in 2014-15 makes it sound like the Cavaliers will slip. Not so. The ACC will be very tough next season, and skating through it at 16-2 as the Cavs did last year is highly unlikely. Virginia could well be 26-9 and be one of the better teams in the country, ranked in the polls, because their league schedule is that tough. But it will take deep runs in the ACC and NCAA tourneys to match last season's 30-7 mark.