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#pounditMonday, June 24, 2024

Virginia gets roasted over surprise March Madness selection

Tony Bennett wearing a Virginia shirt

Jan 20, 2024; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett after a victory against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the second half at McCamish Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

College basketball fans were very unhappy to see one arguably undeserving team selected for the NCAA Tournament field.

The Virginia Cavaliers were selected for the 68-team field, getting a First Four game against Colorado State as a No. 10 seed. The winner will play the Texas Longhorns in the round of 64.

Virginia’s inclusion was immediately controversial. The team went 23-10, but advanced metrics do not rate the team highly. They have not beaten an NCAA Tournament team since Feb. 3, and their most impressive win of the season was arguably against Florida all the way back in November. The Cavaliers have also lost in blowouts against Virginia Tech and Notre Dame.

The mediocre resume, combined with the team’s slow, unappealing style of play, led to many fans and even some experts ripping the committee for their inclusion. Several excluded bubble teams that rated more highly than Virginia in some metrics, including Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Indiana State, were named as alternatives.

Virginia’s 13-7 ACC record was probably decisive in getting them into the field. On the other hand, Clemson got a No. 6 seed after going 11-9, while Pittsburgh was excluded despite going 12-8 and beating Virginia in their only meeting of the season.

The Cavaliers’ inclusion might have been less controversial had they managed the end of their last ACC Tournament game more capably. Ultimately, though, their poor resume and reputation for flaming out early in the NCAA Tournament ensures that they are an unpopular selection.

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