By all accounts, the Virginia Cavaliers‘ season has already been a success because of winning the ACC regular season crown, having the No. 1 ranked scoring defense in college basketball and looking like a Final Four contender.
However, the Cavaliers cost themselves a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament after falling to the Maryland Terrapins in College Park Sunday. The loss hurts Virginia’s chances because the Terps will not be an at-large tournament team, Arizona, Florida and Wichita State look to be locks and Kansas is still in the running.
It is not completely a done deal that Virginia cannot get a No. 1 seed, but the Cavaliers will need a lot of outside help. Wichita State was the probably the weakest No. 1 seed based on its strength of schedule, but the Shockers won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to lock up a No. 1 seed.
Florida went through the SEC undefeated. Even if the Gators fall early in the conference tournament, their resume is strong enough to keep a No. 1 seed. The Gators may actually be the most secure of any top contender, and an early exit in the conference tournament does not seem possible with the way they have been playing.
Arizona could drop out of the No. 1 area if they fall in their first game of the Pac-12 tournament. Still, Arizona has done plenty to earn the high seed and could still beat out Virginia depending on how every other top team does.
Kansas hurt their chances with a loss to West Virginia, but Virginia also needs a lot more to happen than that. Wisconsin could jump right in the mix if the Badgers walk away with a Big Ten tournament championship. Wisconsin seems to have been forgotten in the talk about championship-caliber teams, but the Badgers are definitely a contender for a No. 1 seed.
Virginia stands as a secure No. 2 seed and losing the No. 1 spot may not matter when the NCAA tournament fires up, but losing it because the Cavaliers fell to Maryland may be a hard pill to swallow.
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