Men’s basketball nabs No. 1 overall seed in NCAA Tournament

Cavaliers headline the South Region, open play in Charlotte Friday


Virginia Coach Tony Bennett helped lead Virginia to its third ACC title in program history Saturday night.

Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

One of the most successful seasons in Virginia men’s basketball history has at last reached its critical points, as the No. 1 Cavaliers head to the NCAA Tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.

Little doubt remained that Virginia (31-2) would retain the top seed after an ACC regular season title and a host of losses from other top programs. Still, the Cavaliers raised another banner Saturday night when they took down North Carolina in the ACC Tournament Final. Now, Virginia Coach Tony Bennett will be tasked with delivering an accolade that has eluded him since he’s gotten to Charlottesville — a trip to the Final Four.  

Virginia will begin its quest against No. 16-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County  Friday night. UMBC (24-10) captured the America East tournament title over the weekend with a win over favorite Vermont to punch its second-ever NCAA Tournament ticket. 

The Cavaliers have no easy road ahead of them with several other title contenders filling out the South Region. The No. 2-seeded Cincinnati won the AAC title Sunday and sits right behind Virginia as the nation’s second best defensive team. SEC runner-up Tennessee holds the No. 3 seed, while Arizona and Kentucky hold the No. 4 and 5 seeds after winning the Pac-12 and SEC, respectively. Should the Cavaliers advance past UMBC, they will get a date with either No. 8-seeded Creighton or No. 9-seeded Kansas State in the round of 32 Sunday. 

Bennett will likely have to lead his team through squads with NBA-level talent and hard-nosed defensive to reach the promised land of San Antonio, Texas, but a matchup with the Retrievers Friday will be the first test. Tip-off is set for 9:20 p.m. from Charlotte, N.C. 

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