UVA 2022-23 schedule breakdown: November

By Scott Ratcliffe

Reece Beekman (Photo: UVA Athletics)

Tip off of the 2022-23 Virginia men’s basketball season is less than a week away, and this week we’ll be breaking down the schedule in four parts, beginning today with the November slate.

The 18th-ranked Cavaliers (21-14, 12-8 ACC last season) return all five starters, and will host their first three contests at John Paul Jones Arena before heading out to Las Vegas to take on a pair of ranked opponents in the Continental Tire Main Event. The Wahoos return home for a post-Thanksgiving affair before closing the month at Michigan, another top-25 opponent, in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Below, we’ll dissect each matchup with every November opponent’s key returners, newcomers, last year’s numbers, the all-time series history with Virginia, tip-off times, where you can watch if you can’t make it to the game, and much more:

Game 1: vs. NC Central Eagles

Monday, Nov. 7 | 9 p.m.
John Paul Jones Arena

TV: Regional Sports Networks
Series History: This will be the first meeting between the schools.
Conference: MEAC
Head Coach (Career W-L): LeVelle Moton (221-150)
2021-22 W-L: 16-15, 8-5 (3rd) in MEAC
Postseason: None
2021-22 Final KenPom: 285 (289/259)

Notes: The Eagles are picked to finish second in the MEAC and placed four players on the preseason conference teams (sophomore guard Justin Wright made the first team, redshirt junior forward Eric Boone and senior forward Kris Monroe were on the second team, and McNeese State transfer Brendan Medley-Bacon appeared on the third team). Wright put up a team-high 13.1 points per game last season, while Boone finished 10th in the country with 71 steals (right behind UVA’s Reece Beekman, who tallied 73). NCCU also got Devin Gordon from Mississippi Valley State, who averaged double figures in the scoring category last year.

Game 2: vs. Monmouth Hawks

Friday, Nov. 11 | 9 p.m.
John Paul Jones Arena

TV: Regional Sports Networks
Series History: UVA won the only meeting in 2017.
Conference: CAA
Head Coach (Career W-L): King Rice (182-167)
2021-22 W-L: 21-13, 11-9 (4th) in MAAC
Postseason: None
2021-22 Final KenPom: 158 (188/145)

Notes: Monmouth is in its first season in the CAA after moving over from the MAAC. The Hawks were recently picked to finish 10th in their new conference out of 13 teams. They return seven contributors off of last year’s squad, but lost all five starters. Rice, a UNC alum, is the school’s all-time wins leader heading into his 12th season in West Long Branch, NJ. He led the Hawks to consecutive NIT appearances in 2016-17, and came up a game short of advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in last year’s MAAC championship game, falling to Saint Peter’s, 60-54. Junior forwards Myles Foster and Jarvis Vaughn will be looking to step up and become team leaders, along with junior guard Myles Ruth.

Game 3: vs. Northern Iowa Panthers

Monday, Nov. 14 | 8 p.m.
John Paul Jones Arena

TV: ACC Network
Series History: UVA won the only meeting in 2013.
Conference: MVC
Head Coach (Career W-L): Ben Jacobson (321-201)
2021-22 W-L: 20-12, 14-4 (1st) in MVC
Postseason: NIT; lost to BYU in second round
2021-22 Final KenPom: 91 (43/162)

Notes: UNI was picked fifth in the MVC preseason poll. The Panthers started 4-7 but ended up winning 16 of their last 21 games and finished first in the MVC in the regular season in 2021-22. Sophomore guard Bowen Born, who was the league’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, was listed on the preseason All-MVC second team, while redshirt senior forward Austin Phyfe made the third team. The Panthers are returning 11 players from a season ago, but just one starter in sophomore guard Nate Heise. Trey Campbell is a highly regarded freshman point guard who is expected to make an immediate impact. Jacobson has led the Panthers to four NCAA Tournaments, with the last appearance coming in 2016.

Game 4: vs. No. 5 Baylor Bears

Continental Tire Main Event
Friday, Nov. 18 | 7 p.m.
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Series History: Baylor won the lone meeting between the schools back in 1968.
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach (Career W-L): Scott Drew (417-233)
2021-22 W-L: 27-7, 14-4 (1st) in Big 12
Postseason: 1-seed in NCAA Tournament; lost to North Carolina in second round
2021-22 Final KenPom: 4 (8/13)

Notes: The Bears were selected to win the Big 12 for the second time in the last three seasons. The last time that happened (2021) Baylor not only won the conference, but a national championship. Redshirt senior guard Adam Flagler, who tested the NBA waters but decided to return to Waco for one more year, was a unanimous choice on the preseason All-Big 12 Team. Another guard, Keyonte George, earned the conference’s preseason Freshman of the Year honor. He was one of the most sought after prospects in the country, and is expected to be a lottery pick next summer. Junior guard LJ Cryer was the Bears’ leading scorer a year ago (13.5 ppg) until an injury ended his season. Down low, fifth-year forward Flo Thamba has started 64-consecutive games, and the Bears added junior transfer forwards Caleb Lohner (BYU) and Jalen Bridges (West Virginia). Baylor was knocked off by Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game, and then upset by UNC in the second round of the Big Dance.

Game 5: vs. No. 8 UCLA Bruins / No. 23 Illinois Fighting Illini

Continental Tire Main Event
Sunday, Nov. 20 | Time TBD
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

Note: The Bruins play the Illini on Nov. 18 on the other side of the bracket, so it won’t be known until then which team the Wahoos will face in this one.

Series History: Should the Cavaliers face Illinois, it would be the first all-time meeting.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach (Career W-L): Brad Underwood (203-93)
2021-22 W-L: 23-10, 15-5 (1st) in Big Ten
Postseason: 4-seed in NCAA Tournament; lost to Houston in second round
2021-22 Final KenPom: 20 (30/29)

Notes: Illinois earned the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament last season, but lost 7-footer Kofi Cockburn (20.9 ppg, 10.6 rpg) in the offseason, along with four of its other top-five scorers. The Illini have five contributors back in the mix, however, and the addition of senior transfer guard Terrence Shannon Jr. from Texas Tech — along with Baylor transfer forward Matthew Mayer, to go with a top-10 recruiting haul featuring Skyy Clark, Jayden Epps and Ty Rodgers — should keep them near the top of the standings. Underwood is entering his sixth year in Champaign, and has led the Illini to three-straight 20-win seasons and back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances.

Series History: UCLA won the only meeting in 1990, in the championship game of the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage, AK.
Conference: Pac-12
Head Coach (Career W-L): Mick Cronin (433-201)
2021-22 W-L: 27-8, 15-5 (2nd) in Pac-12
Postseason: 4-seed in NCAA Tournament; lost to North Carolina in Sweet 16
2021-22 Final KenPom: 11 (12/16)

Notes: The Bruins, despite losing talented guards Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard, were picked to win the Pac-12 this season, with senior guards Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. each named to the conference’s preseason first team. Junior Jaylen Clark and blue-chip freshman Amari Bailey, UCLA’s highest-ranked youngster since Lonzo Ball, will help provide quality depth in the backcourt. Another five-star newcomer, 6-10 forward Adem Bona, should step right into the rotation and contribute down low. Bona was a McDonald’s All-American as a high school senior.

Game 6: vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks

Friday, Nov. 25 | 6 p.m.
John Paul Jones Arena

TV: ACC Network
Series History: UVA is 2-0 all time, with the last meeting coming in 2011.
Conference: MEAC
Head Coach (Career W-L): Jason Crafton (16-43)
2021-22 W-L: 11-16, 6-8 (6th) in MEAC
Postseason: The Basketball Classic; lost to Coastal Carolina
2021-22 Final KenPom: 313 (353/177)

Notes: The Hawks were predicted to finish sixth in the MEAC preseason vote. Senior guard Da’Shawn Phillip (9.1 ppg) was named to the All-MEAC second team, while graduate forward Nathaniel Pollard Jr. (8.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg in 2021-22) was selected to the third team. The Hawks were fifth in the nation in steals and 10th in forced turnovers, and return eight players from last year’s team, including four senior starters, all of whom averaged over 8 points a night — Phillip, Pollard, Zion Styles and Kevon Voyles. UMES hasn’t experienced a winning season since the 2015 campaign.

Game 7: at No. 22 Michigan Wolverines

ACC/Big Ten Challenge
Tuesday, Nov. 29 | 9:30 p.m.
Crisler Center; Ann Arbor, MI

Series History: Tied 2-2 all time, with UVA taking the last meeting, 70-58, in the 2011 Challenge at JPJ over the 14th-ranked Wolverines.
Conference: Big Ten
Head Coach (Career W-L): Juwan Howard (61-32)
2021-22 W-L: 19-15, 11-9 (7th) in Big Ten
Postseason: 11-seed in NCAA Tournament; lost to Villanova in Sweet 16
2021-22 Final KenPom: 27 (21/74)

Notes: It’ll be the first true road test of the season for the Hoos, who have gone 6-5 on the road in ACC/Big Ten Challenge contests over the years. Virginia’s last win in the Challenge was at Maryland in 2018. The Wolverines were picked to finish third in the Big Ten this season, with 7-foot-1 junior center Hunter Dickinson earning preseason Player of the Year honors. He led the team in both scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg) last season, posting 11 double-doubles along the way. Through the transfer portal, the Wolverines added a pair of experienced graduate guards in Joey Baker from Duke and Jaelin Llewellyn from Princeton to help with perimeter shooting. Freshman Jett Howard, a consensus top-50 forward, will join his older brother, junior guard Jace, on their father’s roster. Another freshman, 6-10 big man Tarris Reed, is also expected to see significant floor time.

Wednesday: A look at the Wahoos’ December opponents