Home Mike Ingalls: Virginia’s best hope at this point is to finish second in the ACC

Mike Ingalls: Virginia’s best hope at this point is to finish second in the ACC

Mike Ingalls
uva basketball team
Photo: Mike Ingalls/AFP

While anything is possible in college athletics, at this point it’s unlikely that Virginia has a legitimate shot at tying or winning the ACC regular-season title. The Cavaliers’ recent drop in confidence, effort and execution against Pitt and Virginia Tech made that path nearly impossible. Virginia needed to win at least one of those games in order to stay in the hunt. Frankly, they may have needed to win both of those even if they manage to take down North Carolina today at JPJ Arena. But before we get to a possible road map to #2, let’s understand the landscape a bit.

For the 2023-2024 season, the Cavaliers fielded one of its youngest and least experienced teams in the Tony Bennett era. Yet, they were still picked to finish fourth in the conference behind Duke, Miami and UNC. And despite recent setbacks against Pitt at home and Virginia Tech on the road, Virginia still has a legitimate chance to earn the #2 seed in the ACC Tournament. To get there, the Cavaliers will need to play like they did during their eight-game conference win streak this season. Young teams experience crazy ups and downs throughout a season, particularly when learning the pack line defense and understanding their roles in the blocker mover offense. A swing back into contention is not only possible, it’s likely based on what we’ve seen from Bennett’s teams in the past.

Here’s a scenario that offers a path for the ‘Hoos to get to #2. Virginia would share the #2 spot with North Carolina, but would own the tie-break over UNC. And while anything can happen when it comes to college hoops, even if the ‘Hoos can’t take down the Heels, they are likely to finish in the Top 4 of the conference and earn a much-needed double bye in the ACC Tournament.

Duke (16-4)

(W) at Wake Forest

(W) Louisville

(W) Virginia

(L) at NC State

(W) North Carolina

Virginia (14-6)

(W) North Carolina

(W) at Boston College

(L) at Duke

(W) Georgia Tech

North Carolina (14-6)

(L) at Virginia

(W) Miami

(L) NC State

(W) Notre Dame

(L) at Duke

Mike Ingalls

Mike Ingalls

Mike Ingalls, the godfather of UVA Athletics coverage on the interwebs, joined the staff at AFP as a photographer and contributor in 2023 capturing UVA basketball games and players for #teamAFP. Ingalls is best known for launching The Sabre, which began as VirginiaFootball.com back in 1996.