Virginia Basketball Notes: Official Schedule Released

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Virginia has 27 games scheduled.
Kihei Clark and Virginia will open the season against Maine. ~ Mike Ingalls

The much-anticipated release of the Virginia basketball schedule finally arrived on Tuesday. The ongoing global pandemic and the subsequent shift to the starting date for the season led to a longer delay, but the Hoos now know they have 27 regular season games with 14 contests at the John Paul Jones Arena. UVA’s schedule features 20 ACC games and 7 non-conference games.

Much of the non-conference slate was known before Tuesday’s announcement, but there was a change with an opening week opponent at the Mohegan Sun Arena and a pair of additional games that had not previously been released. Instead of opening the season with St. Peter’s as initially expected, the Wahoos will take on Maine on Wednesday, Nov. 25 instead. It’s the second season in a row that they’ll face the Black Bears. That’s the first of two games at the Mohegan Sun with Florida filling the other slot on Friday, Nov. 27. The Gators are just outside of the preseason Associated Press Top 25 rankings.

The other non-con games include No. 3 Villanova (Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden as originally announced) and No. 13 Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at the JPJ. William & Mary also comes to town for a Dec. 12 meeting that was previously known, while the schedule also added two more JPJ games against St. Francis of Pennsylvania (Dec. 1) and Kent State (Dec. 4).

Tuesday’s news also revealed the order of the 20 ACC games for the Hoos. The schedule is back-weighted with expected contenders for the regular season title race. UVA opens at Wake Forest on Dec. 16 and travels to Notre Dame on either Dec. 29 or 30. Those two teams then come to Charlottesville early in 2021 too with the Demon Deacons in town on either Jan. 5 or 6 and the Irish at JPJ on either Jan. 12 or 13. The Cavaliers also play NC State (Jan. 19 or 20 at home, Feb. 2 or 3 in Raleigh), Georgia Tech (Jan. 23 at home, Feb. 9 or 10 in Atlanta), Virginia Tech (Jan 2 at home, Jan. 30 in Blacksburg), and Louisville (Feb. 6 at home, March 6 in Kentucky) twice.

The solo opponents for league games are Boston College (in Boston on Jan. 9), Clemson (in South Carolina on Jan. 16), Syracuse (at home on Jan. 25), North Carolina (at home on Feb. 13), Florida State (in Florida on Feb. 15), Duke (in Durham on Feb. 20), Pittsburgh (at home on Feb. 23 or 24), and Miami (at home on March 2 or 3).

That order means the Cavaliers finish with their final six games against UNC, FSU, Duke, Pitt, Miami, and Louisville. The Tar Heels, Seminoles, and Blue Devils are ranked in the preseason top 25 and Florida State won the regular season race last season. UVA, of course, finished last season with 11 wins in its final 12 games including its final 8 games.

The Hauser Bowl

The ACC/Big Ten Challenge matchup with Michigan State seemed like a foregone conclusion in some people’s minds because of the Hauser brothers. When the two players left Marquette, Sam Hauser transferred to UVA while Joey Hauser headed to MSU.

The two frequently went head to head at their home this offseason during quarantine, but those one on one battles are now headed for the team stage. Sam Hauser told reporters Monday that they’d never played on opposite teams before.

“I was definitely excited to see that,” Hauser said with a laugh. “I’ve never played against my brother. We’ve always been on the same team, so the parents are excited, the whole family is excited. I’m curious to see who they’re going to cheer for or where they’re going to in the stands. So that’ll be really fun.”

Murphy Watch

When Virginia picked up Rice transfer Trey Murphy III in April, it didn’t expect to have him available for this season. The NCAA rules require a transfer to sit for a year unless approved for a waiver. A social media post from Murphy last week, however, caught fan attention with many wondering if he applied for and potentially received a waiver. With the NCAA ruling that eligibility is frozen for players that play this season, a granted waiver could potentially mean that the Wahoos would have Murphy for three seasons.

Reporters asked Bennett about the possibility of a waiver at UVA’s virtual Media Day on Monday and he didn’t provide much clarity about Murphy’s situation when asked if he had petitioned for immediate eligibility.

“Coach [Mike] Brey [at Notre Dame], put a motion to the NABC, or maybe presented – and I don’t even know if they’ve ruled on it yet – that no one should have to sit out this year because of this unique season with a pandemic,” Bennett said. “I’m not exactly sure where that stands. I don’t know if there’s been anything, so we’ll wait and see on some of those issues.”

Bennett Bonanza

For Virginia fans craving basketball news, this week is providing a run of opportunities to hear from Coach Bennett. He took part in UVA’s virtual Meet The Team Day series on Sunday night with the Voice of the Cavaliers Dave Koehn and took questions from reporters on Monday at UVA Media Day. Later this week, he’ll be on the ACC Network as part of ACC Operation Basketball. He’s on Thursday night in the 7-9 p.m. slot.

Here is Sunday’s video:

Here is Monday’s video:

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