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It’s March. Here’s Virginia’s bracketology update.

UVA basketballWelcome to March, the most glorious month in college basketball and, arguably, in all of sports. Over the next two weeks or so, buzzer-beaters will happen, heroes will emerge, bids will be clinched and tears both happy and sad will be shed.

And that’s all before Selection Sunday happens.

After Selection Sunday, it’s a three-week frenzy — a sprint to the finish to see which team can earn six wins and raise the trophy in Minneapolis. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Virginia, for the next two weeks, is pretty far removed from the madness that is March. Barring an absolute stunning turn of events, Virginia will earn a No. 1 seed for the fourth time in the Tony Bennett era. The only drama that remains is whether that No. 1 seed is also the tournament’s top overall seed. The Cavaliers have lost to just one team this season, Duke, and have the inside track to the ACC regular season championship. If they can earn that and pair it with a conference tournament championship, it will be hard to keep them out of that spot.

Here’s where a few bracketologists with recent updates have Virginia placed, with some analysis and potential matchups as well.

Joe Lunardi, ESPN (updated Mar. 1)

Virginia: No. 1 overall seed, No. 1 East region

2 seed: Tennessee

3 seed: Purdue

4 seed: Nevada

Lunardi’s latest has Virginia as the No. 1 overall seed, which is a nice sign for the Cavaliers. They would first go to Columbia, South Carolina and, should they advance past the first week, go to Washington, D.C. for the second week. This is obviously the best-case scenario for the Cavaliers. Tennessee has struggled a bit as of late, needing overtime to knock off Ole Miss, which, coincidentally, is in the 8/9 matchup in this region against Baylor. Purdue runs through point guard Carsen Edwards, and the Cavaliers would seem well-equipped to limit him.

Brian Bennett, The Athletic (updated Mar.1)

Virginia: No. 1 overall seed, No. 1 East region

2 seed: Tennessee

3 seed: Purdue

4 seed: Kansas

Brian Bennett also introduced Virginia as the top overall seed in his newest bracket and also has Tennessee as the No. 2 seed in the region. Kansas at the four seed can be dangerous depending on the status of LaGerald Vick. The Jayhawks have been up-and-down this season but can be a forced to be reckoned with on any given day.

1-3-1 Sports (updated Feb. 28)

Virginia: No. 1 overall seed, No. 1 East region

2 seed: Michigan

3 seed: Houston

4 seed: LSU

1-3-1 Sports shared the title for most accurate bracket prediction last year, so the curator knows what s/he’s doing. This would be an interesting draw for Virginia, with tough defensive teams Michigan and Houston occupying the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds respectively (and defensive-minded Kansas State at No. 5). I think LSU might be the most dangerous team in this group, though. Also lurking in the shadows of this projection is the No. 6 seed, Virginia Tech.

AMA Bracketolomogy (updated Feb. 28)

Virginia: No. 1 overall seed, No. 1 East region

2 seed: Michigan

3 seed: LSU

4 seed: Iowa St.

Never one to take itself too seriously, AMA Bracketolomogy simply lists its “methodolomogy” as “my brain.” Regardless, it’s interesting to see some patterns emerge early. Michigan at No. 2 and LSU at No. 3 are two teams that have been seen in previous projections. Meanwhile, an enticing matchup with Iowa St. and former Virginia guard Marial Shayok could await in the Sweet 16. Also to note here: This is the second time Baylor is an option in the 8/9 game.

Michael Beller, Sports Illustrated (updated Feb. 28)

Virginia: No. 1 overall seed, No. 1 East region

2 seed: Tennessee

3 seed: Michigan

4 seed: Kansas

Beller moved Virginia to his top overall seed after Duke’s loss at Virginia Tech and features Tennessee and Michigan as familiar foes according to other prognosticators. Also in this field: No. 12 seed Murray St., which features potential top-3 pick Ja Morant at point guard.

Of course, that’s just a very small smattering of the bracket projections out there. You can find a long, long list of predictions at Bracket Matrix.

Essentially, the biggest takeaways are that right now, Virginia is the top seed in the eyes of most. But that of course can change, and that change could come at the very last second. Say Virginia advances to the ACC tournament final against Duke. The committee could very well have two brackets — one if Duke wins and one if Virginia wins. It’s a scenario that happens often as conference title games wrap up, part of what makes March so fun.

With 16 days until Selection Sunday, the madness of March is just getting started.

Story by Zach Pereles


augusta free press
augusta free press