It’s over: No March Madness for Virginia
The midweek win over N.C. State had seemed to get the Cavs back on track toward building an NCAA Tournament resume, but even the win over the then-RPI #15 Wolfpack only bumped UVa. to 94 in the RPI, about 50 spaces or so below where you’d feel safe in terms of one’s spot on the bubble.
The inexplicable loss at Georgia Tech on Sunday dropped Virginia back to 107 in the latest rendering of the RPI. Dropping 13 spaces in early February is not the prescription for a team that can’t even rightly claim to be on or even anywhere near the bubble right now.
At this stage, the only hope – emphasis on only hope – for Virginia is to take the best possible advantage of its three remaining games against RPI Top 50 teams, at North Carolina (#34, Feb. 16), at Miami (RPI #2, Feb. 19) and at home against Duke (RPI #1, Feb. 28).
Wins in at least two of those three, and maybe all three, would be strongly recommended. Also on the to-do list: at least a split against Maryland (RPI #71) and maybe another win at Florida State (#61, March 7).
A 4-2 record in those games and at worst a 3-1 record in games with Clemson, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and on the road at Boston College would put UVa. at 22-9 overall, 12-6 in the ACC, and 9-2 against the RPI Top 100. Even then, the ‘Hoos probably need to make it to Saturday at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro and then sweat out Selection Sunday.
An 8-4 finish (including Greensboro) seems like a mighty tall hill to climb for a team that has been the proverbial little girl with the curl, who when she’s good is very, very good, and when she’s bad, she’s very, very bad.
The bet here is that it’s not going to happen.