ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
(COACH: TERRY HOLLAND)
In a year in which seniors dominate the ACC, Virginia has none. But being down in the ACC doesn't necessarily mean you're out. Last year's Cavs finished 3-11 in the conference but 17-16 overall, beat Georgia Tech, Arkansas and Louisville, and made the NIT quarterfinals.
Coach Terry Holland had to slow down his offense midway because the running game was getting smothered by bigger, quicker backcourts. Now Holland, who has a knack for recruiting exactly what he needs, has signed two big, blue-chip guards. If 6'4" Lance Blanks, last year's Mr. Basketball in Texas, or 6'3" Richard Morgan blossoms early, then hooray for the Hoos. Otherwise, Virginia may have to return to the half-court game, which would mean another .500 season.
With the bench untested, center Olden Polynice and forward Tom Sheehey, both juniors, will have to put in 33 minutes-plus per game, a big burden if the Cavs return to running. Polynice overcame last fall's messy honor-court acquittal on a charge of cheating to nearly double his scoring average to 13.0. The 6'9" Sheehey has added 15 pounds of muscle and, at 233, may finally give Polynice some help on the boards.
Holland likes 6'5" sophomore Mel Kennedy so much as a sixth man, he's reluctant to start him. But he will. Replacing Kennedy off the bench will be another Kennedy—Andrew (no relation), a juco transfer from Jamaica.
Depth will be a problem, but everybody's back next season.