These teams seek NCAA bids they didn’t get last year

Virginia hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game since its 2019 national title and failed to even make the field last season.

The return of five starters should enable the Cavaliers to change that trend.

“This probably is the oldest team maybe that I’ve had,” coach Tony Bennett said as he enters his 14th season at Virginia.

Virginia is 18th in the Associated Press preseason Top 25, making the Cavaliers the highest-ranked team that isn’t coming off an NCAA Tournament berth.

The Cavaliers went 21-14 and reached the NIT quarterfinals last season. That followed a 2020-21 season in which Virginia earned a No. 4 seed in its region but lost to Ohio in the opening round of the tournament.

Virginia has the pieces in place to make a deeper run this season.

The Cavaliers return three double-digit scorers from last season in preseason second-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection Jayden Gardner (15.3), Armaan Franklin (11.1) and Kihei Clark (10.0). Clark and Gardner are graduate students, while Franklin is a senior.

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