Home Virginia’s win over UNC, now on the wrong side of the bubble, may prove costly to the ACC

Virginia’s win over UNC, now on the wrong side of the bubble, may prove costly to the ACC

Scott German
hubert davis
Photo: ACC/Jaylynn Nash

Virginia’s 68-59 over North Carolina in Thursday’s ACC Tournament quarterfinal action likely means one less ACC team will be heading into March Madness.

For Carolina, it was the same old story that has been the theme of their 2022-2023 season.

Poor shooting, turnovers and a hobbled Armando Bacot all contributed to the Heels’ poor performance here Thursday in the Greensboro Coliseum, where the 13th-ranked Cavaliers (24-6) advanced to Friday’s semifinals to play Clemson, an 80-54 winner over NC State.

UNC shot 35.8 percent and had 11 turnovers that Virginia turned into 14 points – a storyline that has reared its ugly head much too often this season for the Tar Heels.

With the loss, North Carolina (20-13) is likely to miss the NCAA Tournament. Ahead of the game, most bracketologists had UNC among the first four teams out. Losing, Carolina slipped a step further down, now listed as the next four out by ESPN’s brackets guru, Joe Lunardi.

Translation: North Carolina will almost certainly miss March Madness for the first time since the 2009-2010 season.

In the Carolina locker room after the game, Bacot discussed the possibility of the Tar heels accepting a bid to the NIT.

“I would be capable of it, but interested? I don’t really know,” said Bacot.

Hardly a ringing endorsement on the prospects of further postseason play for UNC.

When pressed on how he personally would make the decision to play, Bacot added, “If that’s what Coach tells us to do, but that’s not something I wanna do.”

Earlier in the postgame interview room, UNC coach Hubert Davis responded to the same question regarding accepting an NIT bid: “I’m not thinking about that at all right now.”

“We just lost a game,” Davis said. “I’m thinking about this team, and that’s the only thing on my mind right now.”

Before the press conference ended, Davis was asked what his case would be to the selection committee on why UNC deserved a bid. Davis’ reply didn’tt sound very confident.

“I don’t know. You know, again, I’m not, I know it’s hard for you guys to think that I’m not thinking about that. Our record is our record, and I know that. I think regardless of our record, I think we have shown throughout the entire year that we can compete and play and beat anybody in the country,” he said.

If indeed come Selection Sunday UNC is sitting out the Big Dance, then the best the ACC can expect is a total of five teams heading into March Madness.

Miami, Viirginia and Duke are locks. Clemson and NC State appear solid, but after that it’s the dreaded three letters NIT waiting for a few more schools.

North Carolina had plenty of time to turn things around and build an NCAA Tournament-worthy resume.

Thursday night, the Tar Heels ran out of time.

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.