Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and Joe Harris notched 13 of his 15 points after halftime as Virginia won their first ACC tournament title since 1976 with a 72-63 win over Duke.
Brogdon was the best player on the floor for much of the afternoon for the ‘Hoos, and Harris hit a massive, deflating three with just under two minutes left to push Virginia’s lead to 64-57. And the masterful defensive performance that Tony Bennett’s club put on for the first 12 minutes of the game will be a talking point as Virginia heads into the tournament, but that’s not what won them this game.
It was their work on the offensive glass.
Duke has their issues defensively, but they actually played pretty solid first-shot defense for much of the second half. It’s how they were able to overcome UVA’s hot start and work their way back into the game. But the Blue Devils allowed 11 second-chance points in the second half, eight of which came in the final nine minutes after Duke took a 45-44 lead, their first since it was 2-0.
The win caps one heckuva season that Tony Bennett was able to orchestrate, but the question now becomes whether or not the Cavaliers will be the fourth No. 1 seed when the brackets are announced. They won the ACC regular season and tournament titles and they have just two losses since the calendar changed. That’s strong, but when you put them up next to Michigan, it’s not an easy choice to make.
Michigan has five top 25 wins. Virginia now has three. The Wolverines have 10 top 50 wins. Virginia now has five. Michigan is 15-6 against the top 100. Virginia is 13-6. Granted, much of that is the result of playing in a stronger Big Ten, and the Cavs have a stronger non-conference SOS (35 vs. 83) and they don’t have a loss near as bad as Michigan getting tripped up by Charlotte, who is 149th in the RPI. But to be fair, Glenn Robinson III missed the final 30 minutes of that game with an injury and Nik Stauskas sprained his ankle in the second half.
I think it’s Michigan.
Who would you pick?