Virginia Coach Terry Holland received word late Monday night that his team had been voted into a first-place tie with Oregon State in the Associated Press basketball poll.
Holland restrained his enthusiasm.
"At this point of the year, it doesn't make a great deal of difference who's No. 1," said Holland, whose team is 6-0 in the ACC and 16-0 overall going into tonight's 9 o'clock ACC clash in Charlottesville against sixth-ranked Wake Forest (4-1 and 15-1).
"It's like a popularity contest; whoever has the prettiest bathing suit on wins. I think because we had a great game against Ohio State Sunday had to influence the voting. Maybe it was good the TV cameras switched to the hostages at halftime and didn't come back until OSU had made their run. At one point when they were coming back, they looked like they were one of the top teams in the nation."
After the impressive 16-point victory over the Big Ten Bad Boys, Holland said he hopes his players "won't be too enthused with reading the papers and the polls and forget about Wake."
The Deacons had been rolling along unbeaten until they went cold against North Carolina Wednesday and lost at home, 74-60.
Wake Forest warmed up for its attempt to stop the nation's longest winning streak from growing to 22 by blowing away North Carolina-Asheville, 99-68, Saturday night. No one has to tell Holland that Wake is dangerous.
"Wake is a very solid team. They have a good front line that does more than just score, and Frank Johnson is a great guard. I've seen a lot of him in five years, although he red-shirted last year, and I, for one, will be glad to see him leave," Holland said. "I don't think being ranked first will affect our players. Their minds will be on Wake."
The one player who would love to bust out tonight is Virginia's forgotten man, 6-9 forward Craig Robinson. A lanky, talented sophomore who moved in as a starter in place of Terry Gates this season, Robinson at times has seemed lost in the Cavalier offense.
"At times, I guess I feel a little left out," said Robinson, who is averaging seven points and five rebounds. "And, I'm sure teams aren't very concerned with me because I'm pretty quiet on the court. I'm a lot better than seven points a game but the way our guys have been playing, they don't need a lot of scoring from me.
"My main job is to help Ralph (Sampson) on the boards and play good defense against the other team's top forward. I'm working hard and when I really do something to warrant attention, I'll get it."
Holland has had no complaints with Robinson's play.
"He does everything we ask of him," Holland said. "He's just starting to mature physically and is contributing both shooting and rebounding."
With Sampson, Jeff Lamp, Jeff Jones and Lee Raker taking most of the shots, Robinson has to be content with scoring the garbage goals. But with Sampson hovering around the basket, there isn't much garbage to go around either.
"I'm just looking to contribute something," said the 205-pound Robinson, who played 17 minutes and scored two points against Ohio State. "Maybe I've put too much pressure on myself; rushing a little too much. I didn't have a good game against Ohio State and maybe that's why my time was short. I can't complain, though, because we're winning. You can't do much better than being undefeated."