Virginia Cavaliers Must Win Final Two Games to Make NCAA Tournament

By Sean Labar
UVA basketball
Mark L. Baer- USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Cavaliers made a statement last week defeating the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils 73-68, proving to the nation that they should be a force to be reckoned with come NCAA tournament time.

But then there was Sunday. UVA traveled to Boston College, who was ranked No. 11 in the conference and 13-16 on the season.

Yet the Cavaliers looked unmotivated and complacent, and left Chestnut Hill with a 53-52 loss at a critical point of the season.

This is the time of year where tournament hopefuls should be playing their best. I strongly believe that late season momentum is built in this latter part of the schedule.

The Cavaliers have shown that they can beat great teams like Duke and N.C. State, but only in the confines of John Paul Jones Arena. They are 17-1 at home, but only 3-8 in all games played outside of Charlottesville. Sunday’s loss was UVA’s 7th against teams outside the RPI index top 100, a troubling stat with Selection Sunday looming around the corner.

This Virginia team is well coached and has the talent to compete with the NCAA’s best, but fails to do so night after night. They can’t rely on Joe Harris to throw up 30 points a game, it just isn’t realistic. Akil Mitchell has the size and athleticism to dominate down low, while Justin Anderson and Evan Nolte are both reliable shooters to divert the attention away from Harris.

The Cavaliers will close out the season with a road game at Florida State, and then they will host Maryland. UVA’s tough defensive style will play in their favor against these two squads, but they have to generate multiple scoring options.

Virginia will beat the struggling Seminoles, but will have their hands full when the Terrapins come to Charlottesville. The Cavaliers are definitely on the bubble and must find a way to win both of these games if they want a serious look from the selection committee.

Follow this writer on twitter @SeanLabar

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