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Barry Jacobs On Uva's Weak Start

No one likes to be the bearer of ill tidings. Well, most people don't.

We have to say, though, that, based on ample precedent, prospects are already clouded for a winning season at Virginia.

It's not just that the Cavaliers got off to a 1-2 start in 2012-13; Boston College and Wake Forest experienced similar debuts.

It's not just that UVa's early schedule was relatively easy - a visit to George Mason followed by games at Charlottesville against Fairfield and Delaware.

It's that history is not on Virginia's side.

Paul Hewitt's second George Mason squad, lacking a pair of suspended players, topped the Cavs in the opener before a sellout crowd at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. The Hoos were without perimeter stalwarts Malcolm Brogdon and Jontel Evans, the point guard, both of whom are recovering from foot surgery.

The result was UVa's first loss in an opener since 1998. Florida State (South Alabama) and Maryland (Kentucky) also lost their first games this season.

Virginia followed a victory over Fairfield in the NIT Season Tip-Off with another defeat, this one at Charlottesville with an NIT trip to Madison Square Garden on the line. Evans appeared for just three minutes against the Blue Hens.

Unfortunately, as is periodically noted, the record book doesn't include asterisks to denote missing personnel, blown officiating decisions, bad weather, indigestion, or other extenuating circumstances.

There's no question that, based on the record book, a 1-2 start bodes ill for the Cavaliers. Each of the 11 previous seasons in which they started 1-2 or worse ended with a losing record.

If there's any good news in all this, it's that all but two of the shortfalls occurred prior to Bennett's birth in 1969. The only time since 1970 the Cavs started with at least two losses in their first three games was 1999, Pete Gillen's inaugural season at UVa.

Bennett's first two teams stumbled out of the gate. The 2010 squad started 4-4, and the 2011 unit was 3-3. Both essentially broke even. Last year's NCAA entrants started 2-1, then proceeded to win 12 straight.

Virginia Season Record When Starting With
Two Or More Losses In First Three Games
Season Start Final W-L Coach
1999 1-2 14-16 P. Gillen
1970 0-3 10-15 B. Gibson
1966 1-5 7-15 B. Gibson
1964 1-5 8-16 B. Gibson
1963 0-3 5-20 B. McCann
1961 0-8 3-23 B. McCann
1960 1-4 6-18 B. McCann
1959 1-4 11-14 B. McCann
1958 0-2 10-13 B. McCann
1957 1-4 6-19 E. Male
1956 1-6 10-17 E. Male