Earlier this week, an interesting scenario was posted over on the blog "University Ball." Imagine you have the power to decide how the rest of the UVA basketball season would go. Would you prefer an NCAA Tourney run? An ACC Championship? Or to win out, taking down Cuse on the way to the regular season title?
Pick one of the following three:
A) Final Four berth (we lose in that round)
B) ACC Championship (we lose in the early NCAA rounds)
C) ACC Regular Season title (No ACC tournament run, no NCAA run)
Brian Leung: I had this conversation with a coworker the other day. I was originally dead-set on being ACC Champions (more so from the ACC Tournament than from the regular season) until he asked me to name last year's champion, and it took me a little bit of time to come up with Miami. Now granted, I couldn't remember all four of the Final Four teams (sorry, Michigan). But being an ACC guy, I'm particularly attuned to the ACC Tournament. So if even I couldn't name the champion, how many people outside the ACC would be able to?
That's a long rambling to say that, people outside of the ACC don't care who the ACC Champion is. Everyone cares who's a Final Four team. And from a recruiting and dolla dolla bills y'all perspective, that's what matters.
Paul Guttman: Yeah, I don't see how anybody can not put final four first. The NCAA tourney is what it's all about. The media attention, the TV exposure and the excitement would be tremendous.
And since we haven't won an ACC tourney since 1976 (and since that is our only one), that comes second.
Paul Wiley: I'll cut against the grain here. An ACC Tournament championship looks like it's within reach with this group. I can get my hopes up for that. A Final Four is one of the most difficult team accomplishments in sports. Brian's point about the national prestige and attention are well taken, and it would be great to add another line to the Final Four banner (stagnant since 1984). Some of that will come with a run to the Elite Eight too; I'd be happier with a Final Four, but I'm not going to shed tears if the season ends in the Elite Eight. But I'm getting to the point that I expect this squad to be playing on ACC Championship Sunday.
Will Campbell: Wiley is trying to practice his future profession and not answer the question directly. You might only be a half a lawyer in real life, but you're a whole lawyer in my book, Paul!
Anyways, I am with Tiki. The only answer to this question is a Final Four birth. It might be the Virginian in me that has GMU and VCU friends and I am tired of hearing about their Final Four runs, or it might be the former baseball player in me. I got to see first hand the amount of attention that an ACC Tournament title brings to a team, but I also got to see what a College World Series birth brings. I understand that baseball and basketball is a bit of apples and oranges, however, I think the comparison can still be made. Obviously I would be very happy if this team can pull of an ACC Tournament title, but like I said, there is really only one answer for this: Final Four birth.
Brian Schwartz: Yeah, I'll add to the consensus for the final four visit. Who had the better season last year, Wichita State or Kansas? Everyone will answer the Shockers did. Kansas won a share of the regular season Big 12 title, romped through the Big 12 tourney, but fell in OT to Michigan in the Sweet 16. Wichita State had a solid but unspectacular regular season, didn't win their conference title, then put together a few wins at the right time and were suddenly viewed as part of college basketball's elite.
I really value the regular season as an indicator of who the best teams in the nation are. But, in the end, the postseason is all that matters and the Final Four is the biggest stage of 'em all.
What say you guys? On board for UVA's Final Four run? Sounds good