Virginia Ranked No. 21 in ESPN’s Way-Too-Early College Basketball Top 25

See where ESPN’s Jeff Borzello has the Cavaliers ranked in his “way-too-early” top 25

Virginia is ranked No. 21 in ESPN’s latest “Way-Too-Early” college basketball top 25 rankings for the 2022-2023 season. UVA is ranked third on the list among ACC teams, behind North Carolina (No. 1) and Duke (No. 9). 

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, who put the list together, had this to say about the Cavaliers: 

The highest-ranked team on our list that didn’t make the NCAA tournament last season, Virginia’s ranking reflects a combination of much-improved depth and versatility on the Cavaliers’ roster and the idea that back-to-back down years seem unlikely to happen to Tony Bennett. All five starters are back from last season, but Virginia is also adding essentially an entire second line to the roster, which will dramatically improve Bennett’s options. All-MAC forward Ben Vander Plas could make the biggest immediate impact after averaging 14.3 points at Ohio last season, but it’s the quartet of freshmen — ESPN 100 prospects Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, and Leon Bond, and four-star recruit Ryan Dunn — that should begin to form the core for the next few years. How quickly the newcomers adapt defensively is likely the biggest question.

READ MORE: Virginia Basketball Hosting Two Targets in the Class of 2023 This Week

From a team that went 21-14 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the National Invitation Tournament in 2021-2022, Virginia is set to return its entire starting five and its stop six scorers, led by All-ACC Third Team forward and leading scorer Jayden Gardner (15.3 ppg). The Cavaliers have also added Ohio transfer Ben Vander Plas, who averaged 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and was named to the All-MAC First Team last season. UVA will also bring in the nation’s 11th-best 2022 recruiting class (per 247Sports) that includes a foursome of four-star prospects in Isaac Traudt, Isaac McKneely, Leon Bond, and Ryan Dunn. 

After missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013, expect the Hoos to be back in the Big Dance next March. 

See more Virginia men’s basketball news and content: Virginia Men’s Basketball on Sports Illustrated

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