Virginia started this season 12-6 overall, and 4-4 in the ACC, with losses to Boston College and South Carolina. Making things worse, through 18 games, was the fact that the Cavaliers had zero wins over schools ranked in the top 60 at KenPom. So, at the time, Virginia looked like a candidate to join the list of programs that missed the NCAA Tournament a year after winning it all.
But then everything flipped.
As I explained on the CBS Sports Network set late Friday, Tony Bennett, whose team remains offensively challenged, figured out a way to just stack one close win on top of another -- evidence being how the Cavaliers are 10-1 in their past 11 games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Louisville. They've beaten Florida State. They've beaten Duke. And they're currently on a seven-game winning streak that's really remarkable because most of the games have been unusually close.
These seven straight wins have come by a total of just 26 points -- which means these seven straight wins have come by an average of just 3.7 points. Broken down, it's a one-point win over Notre Dame, three two-point wins over North Carolina, Duke and Miami, two three-point wins over Pitt and Virginia Tech, and a 13-point win over Boston College. So six of the seven wins in this stretch have come by three-or-fewer points. As a result, Virginia is 14-5 in the ACC and 26th in Saturday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The Cavaliers host Louisville on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. If they win, and Florida State loses to Boston College, Virginia will secure at least a share of the ACC regular-season title for the third consecutive season and fifth time in a seven-year span.
Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Udoka Azubuike finished with 31 points and 14 rebounds in Wednesday's 75-66 victory over TCU. The Jayhawks will take a 15-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Texas Tech.||--||6-1|
|Filip Petrusev finished with 27 points and six rebounds in Saturday's 86-76 victory over Saint Mary's. The Zags are 9-2 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first quadrant.||--||7-2|
|Devonte Bandoo made four 3-pointers and finished with 18 points and four assists in Monday's 71-68 victory over Texas Tech. The Bears are 11-1 in Quadrant 1 opportunities.||--||8-0|
|Obi Toppin finished with 20 points on 11 shots in Wednesday's 84-57 victory at Rhode Island. Both of the Flyers' losses have come in overtime to schools ranked in the top 30 at KenPom -- namely Kansas and Colorado.||--||6-3|
San Diego St
|Malachi Flynn finished with 22 points, five rebounds and five assists in Friday's 81-68 victory over Boise State. The Aztecs have won four straight games since losing to UNLV.||--||5-3|
|M.J. Walker made four 3-pointers and finished with 21 points in Wednesday's 73-71 victory at Notre Dame. Florida State is 14-5 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with just two losses outside of the first quadrant.||--||5-3|
|Myles Powell missed 13 of the 18 shots he attempted in Wednesday's 79-77 loss to Villanova. Seton Hall can still secure an outright Big East title with a win at Creighton on Saturday.||--||7-1|
|Marcus Zegarowski finished with 20 points and eight rebounds in Wednesday's 91-76 victory over Georgetown. The Bluejays are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at St. John's.||--||7-2|
|Justin Moore made five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points in Wednesday's 79-77 victory at Seton Hall. The Wildcats are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming to Providence.||--||6-2|
|Jordan Nwora finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday's 68-52 victory over Virginia Tech. The Cardinals are tied in the loss column with Florida State atop the ACC standings.||--||6-2|
|The Terrapins missed 26 of the 32 3-pointers they attempted in Tuesday's 78-67 loss at Rutgers. Maryland is tied for first in the Big Ten with a 13-6 league record.||--||5-4|
|The Wildcats allowed Tennessee to shoot 52.8% from the field in Tuesday's 81-73 loss at home to the Vols. The defeat snapped UK's eight-game winning streak.||--||6-1|
|Payton Pritchard finished with 20 points and nine assists in Thursday's 90-56 victory over Cal. The Ducks' resume features seven Quadrant 1 victories and just two losses outside of the first quadrant.||--||5-4|
|Xavier Tillman finished with 23 points and 15 rebounds in Tuesday's 79-71 victory at Penn State. The Spartans are tied with Maryland atop the Big Ten standings with one regular-season game remaining.||--||7-2|
|Cassius Stanley finished with 18 points and six rebounds in Monday's 88-69 victory over NC State. Duke is 2-3 in its past five games with multiple losses to currently unranked opponents.||--||7-1|
|Yoeli Childs finished with 38 points and 14 rebounds in Saturday's 81-64 victory at Pepperdine. The Cougars are 16-2 with Childs in the lineup.||--||7-1|
|Sean McDermott finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds in Wednesday's 77-55 victory over St. John's. The Bulldogs are 14-9 in Quadrant 1/Quadrant 2 opportunities with zero losses outside of the first two quadrants.||--||5-3|
|E.J. Liddell finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday's 71-63 victory over Illinois. The Buckeyes are 6-1 in their past seven games with the lone loss in that stretch coming at Iowa.||--||6-2|
|The Nittany Lions blew a 15-point halftime lead in Tuesday's 79-71 loss to Michigan State. Lamar Stevens missed 16 of the 19 shots he attempted in the game.||--||4-4|
|The Tigers allowed Texas A&M to shoot 47.5% from the field in Wednesday's 78-75 loss at home to the Aggies. Auburn will take a two-game losing streak into Saturday's game at Tennessee.||--||7-1|
|Isaiah Livers finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds in Thursday's 82-58 victory over Nebraska. Michigan has only lost once outside of the first quadrant.||--||5-3|
|The Hawkeyes missed 22 of the 30 3-pointers they attempted in Tuesday's 77-68 loss to Purdue. Iowa is 5-5 in its past 10 games with three losses in that stretch coming to unranked opponents.||--||7-2|
|Nate Reuvers finished with 11 points and four rebounds in Wednesday's 63-48 victory over Northwestern. The Badgers will take a seven-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Indiana.||--||7-1|
|The Cougars allowed UConn to shoot 50.0% from the field in Thursday's 77-71 loss on the road. Houston is 2-3 in its past five games with all three losses in that stretch coming to unranked opponents.||--||8-1|
|The Illini finished with 14 turnovers and just 10 assists in Thursday's 71-63 loss at Ohio State. The defeat snapped Illinois' four-game winning streak.||--||7-2|
|Mamadi Diakite finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds in Wednesday's 46-44 victory at Miami. The Cavaliers will take a seven-game winning streak into Saturday's game with Louisville.||--||6-3|