No ranked team had a more different first two games than Tony Bennett's Virginia Cavaliers. On Wednesday, they opened with an 89-54 blowout of Towson in which they made 15 of the 29 3-pointers they attempted. Looked great. But then, on Friday,to San Francisco in which they missed nine of the 12 3-pointers they attempted. Looked terrible.
"[We have to] look in the mirror [and] grow from it," Bennett told reporters after Friday's loss.
The good news is that if there's any program built to do exactly that, it's probably the one that in 2018 became the first No. 1 seed in NCAA Tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed before bouncing back in 2019 and winning the NCAA Tournament. In other words, I'm not concerned about Virginia's ability to bounce back. But the loss to San Francisco really did change the entire conversation about the Cavaliers after an awesome season-opening victory.
It wasn't just that they won their first game by 35 points. It was how they won their first game by 35 points — specifically by shooting better than 50% from 3-point range on 29 attempts. The morning after that performance, I suggested that if Virginia is suddenly a great 3-point shooting team like it was two seasons ago, as opposed to a terrible 3-point shooting team like it was last season, the Cavaliers would be a real threat to win what would be back-to-back national championships. Then, just one day later, Virginia shot 25% from beyond the arc and lost to a San Francisco team that opened with a loss to UMass Lowell.
As for what it means for the CBS Sports Top 25 And 1, loyal readers might remember that a few years back I implemented an automatic 10-spot drop for obviously good teams that take terrible losses early in the season. It's the best way to punish while not overreacting to one surprising result and dropping somebody from the top 10 to completely out. So the Cavaliers are falling from No. 4 in Friday morning's Top 25 And 1 to No. 14 in Saturday morning's Top 25 And 1 and thus remain in the top 15. But if they take another confusing loss any time soon, needless to say, they'll have to go.
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Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Drew Timme finished with 28 points and 10 rebounds in Friday's 90-67 victory over Auburn. Both of Gonzaga's victories are double-digit wins over power-conference schools.||--||13-0|
|The Bears are returning the top three scorers from a team that would've been a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. It's among the reasons Scott Drew has an opportunity to guide Baylor to its first Final Four since Bill Henderson did it in 1950.||--||11-0|
|Jeremiah Robinson-Earl finished with 28 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday's 83-74 victory over Arizona State. Justin Moore added 16 points and 12 rebounds.||--||8-1|
|Luka Garza finished with 41 points and nine rebounds in Friday's 103-76 victory over Southern. The CBS Sports Preseason National Player of the Year was 14-of-15 from the field, 3-of-3 from 3-point range, and 10-of-12 from the free throw line.||1||11-2|
|Ayo Dosunmu made two late free throws to secure Friday's 77-75 victory over Ohio. The junior guard is averaging 25.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists through three games.||1||9-4|
|Christian Braun finished with 30 points and nine rebounds in Friday's 94-72 victory over Saint Joseph's. The Jayhawks' lone loss is a loss to top-ranked Gonzaga.||1||10-3|
|The return of Matthew Hurt and Wendell Moore gives Mike Krzyzewski two experienced and reliable pieces to pair with a top-three recruiting class highlighted by five-star prospects Jalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward and Mark Williams. So Coach K winning a sixth national title remains very much in the cards.||1||5-3|
|Four of the five starters from a team that was the No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament are back - most notably Marcus Zegarowski, a CBS Sports First Team Preseason All-American. It's a core that should give Creighton a realistic chance to make its first Final Four in school history.||1||10-2|
|D'Mitrik Trice finished with 15 points and three assists in Friday's 92-58 victory over Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Badgers' two wins have come by an average of 22.0 points.||1||11-3|
|Foster Loyer made six 3-pointers and finished with 20 points in Wednesday's 83-67 victory over Eastern Michigan. Joey Hauser added 15 points and nine rebounds.||1||8-4|
|Tennessee is adding five-star guards Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson to a proven core of John Fulkerson and Yves Pons. It's an experienced and talented roster that most believe will result in a nice bounce-back season for Rick Barnes' Vols.||1||9-1|
|B.J. Boston finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in Wednesday's 81-45 victory over Morehead State. Terrence Clarke added 12 points, four rebounds and four assists.||1||4-7|
|Derek Culver finished with 15 points in Friday's 70-64 victory over Western Kentucky. The Mountaineers won the Crossover Classic by beating South Dakota State, VCU and WKU.||1||9-4|
|The Cavaliers uncharacteristically gave up 40 second-half points in Friday's 61-60 loss to San Francisco. Virginia missed nine of the 12 3-pointers it attempted.||10||8-2|
|Quentin Grimes finished with 25 points and eight rebounds in Friday's 68-58 victory over Boise State. The former McDonald's All-American is averaging 16.5 points and 7.5 rebounds through two games.||--||10-1|
|Mac McClung finished with 18 points and two assists in Friday's 84-52 victory over Sam Houston State. The Red Raiders have won their two games by an average of 37.5 points.||--||11-3|
|Caleb Love made all eight of his free throw attempts and finished with 17 points, four assists and two steals in Wednesday's 79-60 victory over Charleston. Day'Ron Sharpe added 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.||--||8-4|
|Justice Sueing finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and three steals in Wednesday's 94-67 victory over Illinois State. CJ Walker added 10 points and six assists.||--||10-3|
|Courtney Ramey finished with 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds in Wednesday's 91-55 victory over UT Rio Grande Valley. Greg Brown added 11 points and 10 rebounds.||--||10-2|
|Two of the best three scorers from the Pac-12 champs are returning - among them former JUCO National Player of the Year Chris Duarte. If the Ducks get a waiver for St. John's transfer LJ Figueroa, they'll be even stronger and clearly talented enough to win back-to-back league titles.||--||9-2|
|Ron Harper Jr. finished with 30 points and four rebounds in Friday's 96-75 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson. The Scarlet Knights won without senior guard Geo Baker, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.||--||7-5|
|Trayce Jackson-Davis finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds in Wednesday's 89-59 victory over Tennessee Tech. Trey Galloway added 13 points off the bench.||--||8-6|
|Cameron Thomas made four 3-pointers and finished with 27 points in Thursday's 94-81victory over SIU-Edwardsville. Trendon Watford added 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.||--||9-2|
|Remy Martin took eight shots but only made two of them in Thursday's 83-74 loss to Villanova. The Sun Devils finished with nine turnovers and only eight assists.||--||4-5|
|The Seminoles lost three of the top four scorers from a team that won the ACC. But the arrival of Scottie Barnes will give Leonard Hamilton a chance to finish in the top four of the league for the fourth time in a five-year span.||--||6-2|
|Isaiah Livers finished with 17 points and nine rebounds in Wednesday's 96-82 victory over Bowling Green. Hunter Dickinson added 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.||--||11-0|