There could be no other finish to the regular season.
There could be no other finish for the Virginia Cavaliers who, when faced with cancellations, media criticism on their “down year,” and questions of whether this team had the defensive wherewithal to pull it together in time for March, took care of business for the last game of the regular season, beating Louisville, winning the ACC Regular Season title, and clinching the No. 1 seed—again—in the ACC Tournament next week.
It’s the fifth regular season ACC title for Tony Bennett and the program’s 10th overall.
“To get it how we did it, I’m so grateful,” Bennett said after the game. “It’s not lost on me. I’m sitting right now in the locker room where we had one of the biggest celebrations when we beat Purdue to go to the Final Four. Right across the hallway was our other one, we were throwing water and just so excited I said, ‘Congratulations to the 2021 ACC Regular-Season Champs.’”
It was a gif for the ages.
With the regular season title, of course, comes the enviable No. 1 seed in the ACC Tournament. Top-seeded Virginia will get a double-bye through the first two rounds of the tournament before facing the winner of No. 8 Syracuse or No. 9 NC State in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Rounding out the double-bye teams are No. 2 Florida State, No. 3 Virginia Tech, and quietly, almost surprisingly, No. 4 Georgia Tech. Florida State could have taken the top seed had they taken care of Notre Dame earlier Saturday. But they didn’t.
Here’s the full bracket:
Watch Virginia’s locker room celebration after Saturday’s win here, including Jay Huff who is dutifully playing his part in wearing a mask throughout the celebration. We see you, Jay.
Tipoff for Virginia will be at noon on Thursday, March 11 on either ESPN or ESPN2. The ACC Tournament begins Tuesday with No. 12 Pitt and No. 13 Miami at 2:00 p.m.