Most everyone involved knew what was on the line for Virginia in their ACC tournament quarterfinal against N.C. State, including the Cavaliers themselves. With a resume that features as many bad losses as quality victories, Virginia was in a position where a one-and-done weekend in Greensboro could end their NCAA tournament hopes.
In the aftermath of their 75-56 loss to the Wolfpack on Friday, Virginia will spend the next two days nervously monitoring the results across the country with the hope that they’ve done enough to receive an at-large bid.
Scott Wood shot 7-of-12 from beyond the arc and scored a team-high 23 points to lead the way for N.C. State (24-9), which advances to take on Miami in Saturday’s ACC semifinals. The Wolfpack shot 46% from the field, and through two tournament games Mark Gottfried’s team is starting to look like the group that used the ACC tournament as a springboard to the Sweet 16 last season.
Virginia (21-11) hit just five of its 20 three-point attempts on the day, and when Tony Bennett’s team struggles from deep they have a hard time scoring consistently. Akil Mitchell led the Cavaliers with 19 points and eight rebounds and Joe Harris added 13 (4-of-13 FG), but they were the only players to reach double figures against a team that had three players score 17 points or more.
Unless they were to win the ACC’s automatic bid Virginia’s resume was bound to spark debate amongst selection committee members. With their 8-4 record against teams ranked in the top 100 of the RPI the Cavaliers have a record few bubble teams can match in that regard.
But they also have seven losses to teams outside of the Top 100, which could very well result in Virginia playing its next basketball game in the Postseason NIT. Before Friday’s defeat at least Virginia knew it had an opportunity to make its case on the court.
With that opportunity now gone, the Cavaliers can only sit and wait. And hope that the positive attributes of their resume outshine the negative ones.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.
GAME OF THE DAY: No. 3 Michigan State vs. Providence, 9:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Two Player of the Year candidates lock horns on Sunday night as Michigan State senior Denzel Valentine battles Providence’s Kris Dunn. Both players are strong threats to record a triple-double each time they take the floor and both are key reasons why their teams are 6-0. The Friars could probably use this game a bit more than Michigan State since they enter this game unranked and could use another confidence-boosting win for a team filled with newer players. As for the Spartans, winning the Wooden Legacy would mean another great accomplishment before December even started for a team that has national title aspirations.
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: No. 23 Xavier vs. Dayton, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
These two 6-0 teams from Ohio will meet in Orlando in the championship game of the AdvoCare Invitational. The Musketeers have six different players averaging at least 9.7 points per game this season as they’ve received great balance on the offensive end. As for Dayton, Charles Cooke as emerged as a go-to player early this season while guard Scoochie Smith has also been outstanding. This will be the first time these two schools have played since Feb. 16, 2013.
SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- One of the fun teams to watch this week has been Monmouth and their amusing end-of-bench antics. On the floor, the Hawks knocked off Notre Dame and gave Dayton a scare and they’ll face USC for the second time this season to close out the AdvoCare Invitational. The Trojans won the first one 101-90, but this is a 12:30 p.m. EST tip, so that could benefit Monmouth the second time around.
- Wisconsin visiting No. 7 Oklahoma is an intriguing Sunday matchup. The Badgers could certainly use a true road win here as they’re off to a 4-2 start. The Sooners get more of a real test after only playing Memphis as a notable opponent their first three games.
- Also going on in the AdvoCare Invitational is No. 20 Wichita State facing Iowa and No. 17 Notre Dame battling Alabama. The Shockers are going without senior starters Fred Van Vleet and Anton Grady as they try to escape Orlando with a win. Notre Dame is hoping to close out the event strong after its surprising upset to Monmouth.
- Action also continues in Anaheim at the Wooden Legacy as No. 11 Arizona will take on Boise State, while Boston College plays Santa Clara and UC Irvine faces Evansville. Arizona will look to get back on the right track after the close loss to Providence in the semifinals.
- No. 6 Duke gets an afternoon tilt with Utah State at home before they face Indiana during the week. It’ll be interesting to see if Blue Devil freshman wing Brandon Ingram keeps his strong play going from earlier in the week.
- UCLA returns home and could badly use a win against Cal State Northridge. The Bruins went a disappointing 1-2 in the Maui Invitational and need to get back on the right track before the face No. 1 Kentucky next week.
TOP 25 GAMES
- Brown vs. No. 25 SMU, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- Jackson State at Marquette, 12:30 p.m.
- Rider at Rhode Island, 1:00 p.m.
- Savannah State at South Florida, 1:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
- South Carolina State at Kansas State, 2:00 p.m. (ESPN3)
- Northern Colorado at Colorado, 2:00 p.m. (PAC12)
- UC Santa Barbara at Arizona State, 4:00 p.m. (PAC12)
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics