2006-07 MBB Preview: Schedule Analysis

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In his second season, Dave Leitao will try to guide UVa to an NCAA Tournament bid.

In many ways, the 2006-07 men’s basketball season is about a new beginning. Obviously, the Cavaliers have moved into the John Paul Jones Arena – that in and of itself signals a fresh start. Plus, this is just the second year of the Dave Leitao era. Most importantly, perhaps, the Hoos are eyeing a renewed tradition of excellence with hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth.

What will it take to get there? The Sabre’s season preview begins with a look at the schedule.

There are many, many combinations of wins that could send the Cavaliers dancing in March. Ultimately, however, the Cavs would need at least 16 wins to even reach the NCAA Tournament bubble and that would be a precarious position unless several of the W’s came against marquee opponents. The “likely in” number sits between 18 and 22 wins, again depending on how the victories stack up. Certainly, if the Hoos surpass the 22-win mark, they’d safely be in the field.

Of course, the selection committee takes other things into consideration that can’t be known currently – your record in the final 10 games, injuries, conference strength, schedule strength, RPI, and so on. Still, based on the quality of Virginia’s out-of-conference schedule, the expected strength of the ACC, and the potential for marquee wins, the Hoos have a good chance to get there.

How can the Cavaliers reach these benchmarks? The Sabre has broken the schedule down for into three categories:

  1. Must Win – Games they likely can’t afford to lose
  2. Approximately .500 – Games where approximately 50-50 success would lead to the 18- to 22-win window
  3. Résumé Builders – Wins that would make it hard to keep them out of the NCAA if they’ve reached the 18+ category

If UVa can achieve what’s necessary in the first two categories (the aforementioned 18 to 22 victories),