Virginia has no desire whatsoever to make things easy on themselves.
What else can the explanation for Virginia’s resume be after they dropped another game with the potential to do more harm than good, falling 53-51 at Florida State?
Michael Snaer, who has now hit six game-winning shots in his career, drove to the basket and completed a three-point play to give the Seminoles the victory. And the result means that Virginia will have a lot of work to do at the ACC tournament next weekend regardless of what happens in their regular season finale against Maryland.
Despite struggling for much of the night (2-of-14 3PT) the table was set for Virginia to steal one, as a team that has been the worst in the ACC on the offensive glass grabbed 15 offensive rebounds and scored 20 second chance points. Akil Mitchell led the way with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Joe Harris added 12 on 5-of-15 shooting.
Virginia (20-9, 10-6) has lost two straight since their win over Duke last Thursday, with both defeats coming on the road against teams below .500 in ACC play. The Cavaliers’ half-court style may lend itself to closer games, but in the aftermath of their win over the Blue Devils is it possible that Tony Bennett’s team considered its work done in regards to making the NCAA tournament?
The letdown has come on the defensive end in losses at Boston College and Florida State, with the Seminoles hitting 47.7% of their shots from the field on Thursday night (entering the game FSU shot 42.6% from the field in ACC play). The Cavaliers rank third in the ACC in both field goal and three-point percentage defense but they haven’t defended at that level in either of their last two games.
Given their overall resume Virginia is a team that’s going to alternate between brilliant and head-scratching performances. With the NCAA tournament bubble being what it is all the Cavaliers had to do over their last three games is stay out of their own way.
Virginia’s failed to do so, and as a result Sunday’s regular season finale may not be their final home game this season.
Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.