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UVA basketball gets relatively favorable draw in ACC Tournament bracket

Wahoos avoid Miami, Duke, and Pitt on their side of the bracket.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

With ACC regular season play in the books, the Virginia Cavaliers sharing the Regular Season Title with the Miami Hurricanes, and UVA slated as the #2 seed in this coming week’s ACC Tournament, the bracket is set with the Wahoos getting a relatively favorable draw. Pitt’s loss to Miami combined with Duke’s win over North Carolina and Clemson’s over Notre Dame has the Hurricanes, Blue Devils, and Panthers all on the opposite side of the bracket from UVA.

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Considering that Pitt and Miami gave UVA the most trouble when the team was playing well earlier in the season (read: not during their five game skid in February), avoiding both of them potentially until the championship game is a plus. So is staying away from a Duke team that has only gotten better as the season has gone on and would be undoubtedly fired up to avenge their controversial* loss to Virginia back on February 11th.

Of course, there’s still the small matter of likely playing the North Carolina Tar Heels, in Greensboro, in a quarterfinal contest that UNC would need to win to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Yet, considering that UVA played so poorly against the Heels in Chapel Hill and still only lost by eight points last Saturday would, more recent trends would indicate that an improved Virginia team since then could handle its business against Carolina if Pete Nance and RJ Davis don’t shoot it as well as they did a week ago.

Should UVA win that game (which could also be against the winner of #10 Boston College vs #15 Louisville should one of those teams pull of the upset against UNC), the Cavaliers would likely face either #3 Clemson or #6 NC State. Both teams that Tony Bennett and company handled relatively comfortably at home, neither squad provides as much of a threat as a bought-in, desperate UNC squad. Yes, the Wolfpack and the Tigers absolutely have quality individual players who can be problematic. But we also saw UVA handle its matchups well against the likes of Hunter Tyson (Clemson) and Terquavion Smith (NC State).

Of course, if Virginia does reach the championship game on Saturday, the ‘Hoos will have to beat a really quality team — likely Duke or Miami. But, in either case, an in-form Virginia team that is playing sound offensive basketball with the right rotation of guys contributing defensively can beat and could very well be favored to beat anybody else in the ACC.

Is UVA’s path to the program’s fourth ACC Tournament Championship an easy one? Absolutely not, it won’t ever be. But it is easier than, say, Duke’s or Pitt’s as those squads would have to beat the other (assuming Pitt also beats the winner of #12 Florida State vs #13 Georgia Tech) and Miami to get to the championship game. Maybe this all will sound silly when UVA loses to North Carolina in the quarterfinals on Thursday in a sign that the team hasn’t improved as much as we thought over the last eight days. But Virginia still does look set up well on their side of the bracket relative to where the conference’s other top teams are.

*Filipowski wasn’t fouled and should’ve been able to finish through a player nearly an entire foot shorter than him.