Ranking all 28 Virginia basketball wins this season
Twenty-eight. That’s how many wins Virginia captured in its 2018-2019 regular season. The wins spanned over four months, starting with a season-opening win over Towson on Nov. 6 and concluding with an ACC regular-season championship-clinching win over Louisville on Mar. 9. In between, the Cavaliers lost just two games — both to Duke — while defeating opponents from all over the nation and dominating much of the East Coast.
Of course, not all wins come equal. Advanced stats and the seeds come Selection Sunday will tell you as much. The Cavaliers’ resume is full of great wins over great teams, tough wins over tough teams and overpowering wins against overpowered teams. Here’s where they all rank.
Tier 1 (Great win over a very good/great team or a particularly great performance)
- Virginia 81, Virginia Tech 59, Jan. 15: In the first meeting ever between these two teams when they are both ranked in the top 10, then-No. 4 Virginia beats the brakes off then-No. 9 Virginia Tech. Every Cavalier who plays at least three minutes scores. Virginia makes 10 threes in the first half and shoots over 58 percent from the field on the game. Justin Robinson elbows Kihei Clark and gets a technical, much to the delight of the John Paul Jones crowd. The hosts dominate from start to finish.
- Virginia 69, North Carolina 61, Feb. 11: Two days after falling to Duke in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers have to travel to Chapel Hill to face a surging Tar Heels team. After a strong first half for the visitors, UNC takes control and leads by as much as seven with under eight minutes to go. But Virginia finishes the game on a 21-6 run, led by a scorching Kyle Guy (20 points).
- Virginia 79, Syracuse 53, Mar. 2: A program-record-tying 18 threes. Guy, Ty Jerome and De’Andre Hunter combine for 62 points. Jim Boeheim calls it the best shooting performance he’s ever seen.
- Virginia 65, Florida St. 52, Jan. 5: Virginia leads by 19 at halftime and by as much as 29 in the second half before a meaningless 16-0 run by the Seminoles against Virginia’s reserves. Guy has 21 points, and Braxton Key adds a season-high 20.
- Virginia 76, Maryland 71, Nov. 28: Just because it happened a long time ago doesn’t mean it’s not important. Five Cavaliers — the Big Three plus Key and Jack Salt — score in double figures, and the Cavaliers overcome a rowdy road environment for the first time. Spoiler alert: It won’t be the last.
- Virginia 64, Louisville 52, Feb. 23: Down 10 at halftime, Virginia rides Hunter’s 18 second-half points to a double-digit win. Hunter by himself outscores Louisville 18-15 in the second half and finishes with a career-high 26 overall. The Cavaliers set an ACC record with their fifth road win against a ranked team.
- Virginia 53, Wisconsin 46, Nov. 23: This one isn’t pretty — it rarely is when Virginia and Wisconsin meet — but Hunter’s 20 points carry Virginia to the Battle 4 Atlantis title and help him earn tournament MVP honors. The Cavaliers head into Thanksgiving at 6-0.
Tier 2 (Good win over a solid opponent)
- Virginia 73, Louisville 68, Mar. 9: The ACC title-clincher isn’t the smoothest of rides — an early second-half surge gives the Cardinals the lead — but down the stretch, Jerome (ACC-high 24 points) is simply too much for Louisville, which does a good job clamping down on Hunter this time around.
- Virginia 64, Virginia Tech 58, Feb. 18: Even without Robinson this time around, Virginia Tech gives the Cavaliers a much better battle in Blacksburg, but a big night from Kyle Guy (23 points, seven rebounds) leads the visitors to a hard-fought win.
- Virginia 63, Clemson 43, Jan. 12: After a slow start on a day Clemson football celebrates its national championship, Virginia is spurred by Jay Huff’s strong effort (11 points, seven rebounds) to beat what now looks like a possible NCAA Tournament team on the road comfortably.
- Virginia 69, South Carolina 52, Dec. 19: The Cavaliers use Jerome’s season-high 25, 18 from Guy and 10 from Mamadi Diakite to control what ended up being a decent SEC team in South Carolina.
- Virginia 100, Marshall 64, Dec. 31: Marshall was an NCAA Tournament team last year and finished second in Conference USA this year, but this win makes Tier 2 for other reasons — big number reasons. It’s the first time Virginia scores 100 points under Tony Bennett and is Bennett’s 300th Division-I win.
Tier 3 (Solid win over an overmatched conference opponent, or not-so-pretty win over solid opponents)
- Virginia 83, Boston College 56, Jan. 9: Diakite’s career-high-tying 18 points make it an easy win for Virginia in Chestnut Hill.
- Virginia 82, Notre Dame 55, Jan. 26: Guy downs the team he grew up adoring with an uber-efficient 6-of-8 shooting performance and finishes with 15 points, one of four Cavaliers in double figures.
- Virginia 68, Wake Forest 45, Jan. 22: Virginia scores the first 12 points of the game and never looks back.
- Virginia 81, Georgia Tech 51, Feb. 27: Georgia Tech’s complex zone/matchup zone defense had baffled more than its fair share of opponents, but it doesn’t matter against Virginia. The Cavaliers shoot over 55 percent from the field and nearly 53 percent from three.
- Virginia 73, Pittsburgh 49, Mar. 2: Kihei Clark helps hold high-scoring Pitt freshman Xavier Johnson to just three points, and nine Cavaliers score in another easy conference win.
- Virginia 57, VCU 49, Dec. 9: In a matchup that has grown in both significance and intensity recently, Clark adds to his growing reputation as a terrific defender by forcing a 10-second violation all by himself. The Cavaliers slog through much of this one before a late spurt gives them the edge.
- Virginia 66, Dayton 59, Nov. 22: Virginia never leads by more than nine points in the second half, but thanks to Hunter’s outstanding game, Dayton never gets closer than four. A late dagger three from Hunter puts the Flyers to rest.
- Virginia 56, Miami 46, Feb. 2: With Jerome sitting due to a back injury, the Cavalier offense sputters to a win in front of a JPJ crowd that can’t wait for the starting point guard’s return.
- Virginia 66, NC State 65 (OT), Jan. 29: The Cavaliers struggle with turnovers, allow 16 offensive rebounds and see Jerome pick up a back injury, but they survive, somehow, thanks to timely contributions from Diakite and Huff and 15 points from Hunter.
Tier 4 (A win’s a win)
- Virginia 60, Notre Dame 56, Feb. 16: After beating Notre Dame by 27 in the first meeting, Virginia is uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball and simply not sharp on offense. The Irish get within two points late, but the Cavaliers hang on at home.
- Virginia 72, William & Mary 40, Dec. 22: Thomas Jefferson hammers King William III and Queen Mary II by 32.
- Virginia 74, Middle Tennessee St. 52, Nov 21: The Cavaliers kick things off in the Bahamas in style.
- Virginia 73, Towson 42, Nov. 6: An easy victory to start the season.
- Virginia 76, George Washington 57, Nov. 11: The Colonials, who actually beat Virginia in 2016, are no match for the Cavaliers this year.
- Virginia 97, Coppin St. 40, Nov. 16 AND Virginia 83, Morgan St. 45, Dec. 3: The rare tie for last place will ultimately be settled when Coppin St. and Morgan St. play one another in the opening round of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Tournament on Tuesday.