While we are still two weeks away from Selection Sunday, March Madness is in full force at UVa. The battered, bruised, and face mask-donning Hoos came away with a 69-57 win last week over their in-state rivals Virginia Tech. And then UVa clinched the ACC regular season title and the number one seed in the ACC tournament with a win versus Syracuse this past Sunday. With a win against Louisville and a strong showing in the ACC tournament, UVa is all but guaranteed a number one seed in the tournament. Joe Lunardi, ESPN’s resident bracketologist, released his latest predictions on how the NCAA field will be laid out on March 15, Selection Sunday.
Lunardi currently has UVa at the number one seed in the East, with Villanova, Duke, and Kentucky earning number one seeds in the remaining three divisions. If we take a look at UVa’s bracket, Lunardi projects the East’s 2nd through 5th seeded teams to be Kansas, Maryland, Wichita State, and Butler. If this scenario were to play out, there would be a lot of happy Cavaliers fans returning from Spring Break that following Monday.
Kansas is reeling after losing two of its last four games. The Jayhawks have been shaken by an NCAA investigation into the eligibility of their star player Cliff Alexander, and they have two tough opponents remaining in West Virginia and Oklahoma. Maryland, a team UVa beat earlier in the year, is coming off an impressive win against then #5 Wisconsin, but it still has had two bad losses to Iowa and Illinois.
Wichita State boasts an impressive 27-3 record, but they have only played two ranked opponents all year. They ended their season by winning 18 of their last 19 games, so the Shockers are riding a streak, but it will be interesting to see how they cope against tougher opposition. Lastly, Butler, has put together an impressive season with four wins against ranked opponents, including an early season victory over #5 North Carolina. However, that was early in the season. A few weeks after that win over North Carolina, they dropped four out of seven games, and they also had a recent blowout to Xavier. It’s clear that the Butler squad has some apparent weaknesses.
No matter whom UVa will be paired up with in the Big Dance, the Cavaliers are poised for a deep run in the tournament. With London Perrantes returning from his broken nose and Justin Anderson set to join the squad for the NCAA tournament after suffering a hand injury, there is plenty of optimism surrounding’s postseason hopes.
By Alex Overdyk, Staff Writer