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.