Virginia entered Saturday's game at Clemson on a four-game winning streak that suggested the Cavaliers had recovered nicely since getting destroyed by top-ranked Gonzaga the day after Christmas. Still, the competition -- Notre Dame, Wake Forest, Boston College and Notre Dame again -- was nothing but teams unlikely to make the NCAA Tournament. So Saturday's showdown with Clemson, a No. 3 seed in Jerry Palm's latest projected bracket, loomed large.
Would Virginia meet the challenge?
Answer: Yes … and then some.
The Cavaliers held Clemson to just three points in the first 12 minutes Saturday, opened on a 29-5 run and cruised to an 85-50 victory inside LIttlejohn Coliseum. They shot 60.7% from the field, 55.6% from 3-point range, and 100.0% from the free-throw line. They're now 9-2 overall and alone atop the ACC standings with a 5-0 record in the league.
"I think we've grown [since losing to Gonzaga]," said Virginia's Sam Hauser, who made four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. "We've taken some really good strides since that game. It's been showing."
Even with this win, Virginia still only has two victories inside the NCAA's first two quadrants. So the body of work, blemished mostly by November's 61-60 loss to San Francisco, is lacking. But it should be noted that the Cavaliers' next 11 scheduled games are all currently listed as Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 2 opportunities. So the resume should be enhanced soon. And, for whatever it's worth, KenPom now projects Virginia to win the ACC by multiple games, which means future Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach Tony Bennett is well on his way to winning at least a share of the ACC title for what would be the fifth time in an eight-year span. Active Naismith Memorial Hall of Famers Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) have combined to win just three ACC titles in that same span.
Virginia is No. 15 in Sunday morning's updated CBS Sports Top 25 And 1 daily college basketball rankings. The only other ACC school also in the Top 25 And 1 is No. 25 Virginia Tech.
Sunday's Top 25 And 1 rankings
|Gonzaga's perfect record is headlined by double-digit wins over Iowa, Kansas and Virginia. The Zags are projected to be double-digit favorites in every game between now and Selection Sunday.||--||24-0|
|Baylor's perfect record is highlighted by victories over Texas Tech and Illinois. The Bears have won 11 of their 12 games by double-digits.||--||18-1|
|Villanova's resume features wins over Texas, Marquette and Arizona State. The Wildcats have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.||1||15-3|
|Iowa's resume features wins over seven top-100 KenPom teams - among them Minnesota, Rutgers and North Carolina. The Hawkeyes will take a four-game winning streak into Thursday's game with Michigan State.||2||17-7|
|Michigan's resume features double-digit victories over Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maryland. The Wolverines' lone loss is a double-digit loss at Minnesota.||2||18-1|
|Texas' most impressive wins are road wins at Kansas and West Virginia. Both of the Longhorns' losses are considered Quadrant 1 defeats.||1||14-7|
|Tennessee's resume features wins over Colorado and Missouri. The Vols will take a three-game winning streak into Tuesday's game at Florida.||1||16-7|
|Kansas' resume includes four wins over teams in the top 40 of the NET - most notably Creighton, West Virginia and Texas Tech. All three of the Jayhawks' losses have come to schools in the top 40 of the NET.||1||18-8|
|Six of West Virginia's nine wins have come against top-100 KenPom teams. All four of the Mountaineers' losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.||1||17-6|
|Houston's resume features wins over Texas Tech, SMU and South Carolina. The Cougars will take a three-game winning streak into Thursday's game at South Florida.||1||19-3|
|Minnesota owns Quadrant 1 wins over Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State and Saint Louis. All four of the Golden Gophers' losses have come inside the first quadrant.||4||13-12|
|Texas Tech's resume is highlighted by a road win at Texas. Three of the Red Raiders' four losses are to teams ahead of them in the Top 25 And 1.||--||15-8|
|Wisconsin's resume is highlighted by wins over Minnesota and Louisville. Two of the Badgers' three losses are considered Quadrant 1 losses.||1||16-9|
|Ohio State's best victories are wins over Illinois and UCLA. The Buckeyes will take a three-game winning streak into Saturday's game at Wisconsin.||2||18-6|
|Virginia is 5-0 in the ACC after Saturday's 85-50 victory over Clemson. The Cavaliers have won their five league games by an average of 15.4 points.||NR||15-6|
|Alabama has recorded wins over Tennessee, Arkansas and Florida. The Crimson Tide have won seven straight games since losing to Western Kentucky.||10||19-6|
|Creighton's resume includes victories over UConn and Xavier but zero wins over teams in the top 20 of the NET. The Bluejays suffered a Quadrant 3 loss Saturday when they fell in overtime at Butler.||12||17-6|
|Saint Louis' resume features wins over NC State and LSU. The Billikens have not played since Dec. 23 because of COVID-19 issues inside the program.||--||12-5|
|Illinois is just 6-5 in its past 11 games after starting the season 3-0. The Illini will take a two-game losing streak into Tuesday's game with Penn State.||6||18-6|
|Oregon improved to 4-1 in the Pac-12 via Saturday's 79-73 victory at Utah. The Ducks' resume also includes wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.||--||16-5|
|UConn's resume is highlighted by wins over USC and Marquette. The Huskies will take a four-game winning streak into Monday's game with St. John's.||--||12-6|
|UCLA's resume includes victories over Colorado and Arizona. The Bruins will take a six-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Cal.||--||17-6|
|Colorado's best wins are over Oregon and USC. The Buffaloes will take a four-game winning streak into Wednesday's game at Washington.||--||19-7|
|USC will take a six-game winning streak into Thursday's game at Stanford. The Trojans' only losses are to UConn and Colorado.||--||19-6|
|Virginia Tech's resume features wins over Villanova, Clemson and Duke. Both of the Hokies' losses are to teams in the top 50 of the NET.||--||15-5|
|Missouri's resume features wins over Illinois, Oregon and Arkansas. The Tigers' two losses are double-digit losses to Tennessee and Mississippi State.||NR||14-7|