Not the Final Four, but I certainly think a trip to the Tourney's second weekend is possible in 2012.
The 1) Jontel Evans as a junior, with another offseason of improving his offensive game under his belt. Sammy Zeglinski fully healthy, and playing as a senior. Billy Baron providing depth and offense off of the bench. Superfrosh Malcolm Brogdon being able to slide in and play some minutes at the point, in a pinch.
The 2) KT Harrell, making the biggest leap forward in a basketball player's career, from his freshman to his sophomore season. Joe Harris making the same leap. Freshman Paul Jesperson providing a 6-foot-6 presence as a sniper. Brogdon filling in when needed. Zeglinski.
The 3) Joe Harris providing a savvy, sweet-shooting presence on the wing. Brogdon making his case as Tony Bennett's best recruit at Virginia. Jesperson. Harrell if we go small. Akil Mitchell if we go big. Options galore.
The 4) Mike Scott in his 5th season of college basketball (6th season out of high school) -- he'll truly be a man amongst boys. Akil Mitchell and his bounciness, after a year of adding strength and refinement. Will Regan with a year of polish. Enter the BEAST, James Johnson. Freshman Darion Atkins adding another athletic, defensive-minded big body.
The 5) Assane Sene's senior season. James Johnson adding more beef to the meat pie. Mike Scott when/if we go small. Regan? Atkins?
Next year's team will be loaded with depth. It will have senior leadership in Scott, Zeglinski, and Sene. It will be the third season of ingraining Tony Bennett's tough packline defense and precise blocker/mover offense.
Next year's team looks to me like a top-25 outfit. It looks to me like a team that can finish in the top third of the ACC. It looks to me like a team capable of getting hot and winning a few games in the NCAA Tournament.
Be bold, Hoo fans. Proudly declare:
NCAA TOURNAMENT OR BUST IN 2012!
And dare to dream of the Sweet Sixteen, because this team will have more substance than any team since 1995, when we beat Kansas (Jacques Vaughn and Greg Ostertag) to go to the Elite Eight.