Here are some schedule highlights and games of note:
Reversing the Trend I
March 1: at Syracuse; March 14: Notre Dame; April 3: North Carolina; April 11: at Duke
Virginia has been a cornerstone program for the ACC, holding five NCAA Tournament titles and 22 regular season league championships in the program's history. The last five seasons for Virginia, though, have been difficult efforts for the Cavaliers in the ACC, seeing the 'Hoos pivot from holding a prominent position in the conference to struggling to find ways to consistently compete in the nation's most impressive coalition of teams (the following table only includes the league records of programs that were in the ACC from 2000-2014):
|TEAM||'00-'09 REC.||WIN %||RANK||AVG. REC.||TEAM||'10-'14 REC.||WIN %||RANK||AVG. REC.|
|N. Carolina||6-24||20.00%||4||1-2||N. Carolina||8-9||47.06%||3||2-2|
The Cavs have gone from a team that won two-thirds of its ACC regular season games from 2000 through 2009 to a team that has won only a third of its regular season ACC games from 2010 through 2014. That's not a situation that the 'Hoos feel comfortable with, and with two "new" predators in the water, Virginia's press toward the top of the league will not come without difficulty.
Reversing the Trend II
April 11: at Duke
Duke hasn't lost to Virginia -- a program that owns five NCAA Tournament championships, 22 Championship Weekend appearances, 22 regular season ACC championships, and six ACC Tournament titles -- since April 23, 2010. In the last six meetings between the two powerhouse programs, Duke has throttled the Cavaliers, owning an unblemished record and a plus-25 scoring margin (averaging a 16-12 victory). That's a somewhat insane degree of domination over a member of the nation's highest reaches of the competitive hierarchy: This six-game winning streak from Duke stands as Virginia's longest losing streak among Duke (0-6), Syracuse (2-2), Johns Hopkins (1-4), Maryland (4-3), and North Carolina (3-4) going back to April 23, 2010.
That's . . . definitely something that exists.
Reversing the Trend III
February 7: at Loyola; March 1: at Syracuse; March 7: Cornell; March 14: Notre Dame; March 21: at Johns Hopkins; April 3: North Carolina; April 11: at Duke
Virginia is 13-20 over the last four seasons against teams ranked in the final LaxPower ratings, averaging a 3-5 record against those teams in that stretch. The only season in which the Cavs finished on the positive side of .500 against the nation's strongest teams came in 2011, a year in which Virginia needed a big push through the NCAA Tournament to earn three consecutive victories against the top of Division I lacrosse. The 'Hoos will face seven teams in 2015 that finished in LaxPower's top 10 in 2014, and against those opponents last spring the Cavaliers went 4-5, hope that Virginia is moving in the right direction.