Chris Graham: First 6-1 ACC start for UVa. since … when, again?

uva-logo-new2Think back to the last time UVa. basketball was 6-1 in the ACC. No, not the 1994-1995 team that went to the elite eight. That seems to be the year that a lot of us remember, because it was only 19 years ago, and that team did win a share of the ACC regular-season title.

So did the 2006-2007 Cavs, but no, they weren’t 6-1 at the start of ACC play.

Try 1982-1983, back when a guy named ralph sampson patrolled the paint for Terry Holland.

Yeah. It’s been that long.

The comparisons between the 2013-2014 Cavs and the 1982-1983 UVa. teams are interesting when you look at them. Both underachieved in the non-conference season (this year’s team losing at Green Bay and getting blasted at Tennessee, the 1982-1983 team losing memorably at Chaminade). But then when ACC play got going, they turned it on.

This years’ ‘Hoos are on perhaps the most dominating stretch played by a Virginia team since the ralph sampson era. Each of the six ACC wins have been by double digits, and in five of the six Virginia led by double digits no later than the midway point of the first half and coasted.

It took until the opening minute of the second half before Virginia could lead North Carolina by double digits here at home earlier this week.

The sole loss, at Duke, was impressive in its own right. A Duke team desperate for a win to avoid at 1-3 start in ACC play took a double-digit lead at the 10-minute mark of the first half and still led by 11 with three minutes left before a furious Virginia rally actually had the Cavs ahead by a point into the final seconds before the Blue Devils got a lucky bounce on a long three-pointer that somehow spun through the net and the eventual game-winning points.

Through seven games, Virginia is 4-0 at home, 2-1 on the road, with two wins over a tough Florida State team, a blowout win over Carolina, a win on the road at NC State and taking-care-of-business Ws over Wake Forest and Virginia Tech.

Next week gets tougher with road games at Notre Dame on Tuesday and at nationally-ranked Pitt on Sunday. A split leaves Virginia at 7-2 at the midway point of the ACC campaign, and very much in the running for the regular-season conference title.

UVa. was supposed to be in the mix – the writers pegged the Cavs fourth in the rugged ACC, behind Syracuse, Duke and UNC. Right now, it’s a three-team race with Syracuse, Pitt and UVa., with Clemson, Duke and Florida State in the next tier looking up right now.

There’s plenty more work to do. Two-thirds of the conference slate remains to be played. But this is no fluke. Virginia is in a historic groove right now.

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