ACC Championships Coverage: Day 2

Whether you’re resting at home, engaging in service work, or drinking one of those fruity concoctions with the little umbrellas in them, check “Pulse of the Fan” all weekend for extensive ACC Tournament coverage.

11:50 PM: Scintillating outside shooting and a Florida State defense that mentally went back to Tallahassee midway through the second half combined to produce an 83-62 North Carolina victory in the game’s final day. Though the outcome offers virtually no relevance to Virginia fans, the game showcased in small ways why so many of us spend our weekend nights watching college basketball: exciting offense, maximum effort, and an emotional, talented senior—Michael Snaer—valiantly battling in his final game.

If you’ve recovered from today’s tragedy by tomorrow, Virginia fans, join us again for our coverage of the ACC Semifinals. Action should be top-quality, especially between a soaring N.C. State squad and a Miami team that still has the conference’s best player in Shane Larkin. In the other game, Tournament halfway-MVP Dez Wells will try to work another miracle against North Carolina and its impressive combination of perimeter play, inside brawn and facial hair.

Good night everybody, and we’ll see you tomorrow!

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9:29 PM: Day 2 of the ACC Tournament has featured high-quality basketball so far. Unfortunately, it’s also proving ruinous to Virginia’s NCAA chances.

Led by a career-high 30 points from Dez Wells, Maryland outlasted a Duke team that came out flat and never fully recovered for an 83-74 victory. In addition to wresting a sure No. 1 seed from Duke, the outcome probably catapults the Terrapins above the Cavaliers on the NCAA Tournament bubble. It’s been that kind of a day for Virginia fans; even when their most detested rival mails in a Tournament game, they can’t fully enjoy it.

Check in again for updates during the Friday finale, which pits No. 3 seed North Carolina against sixth-seeded Florida State.

8:49 PM: While the Terrapins and Blue Devils duke it out in game three of the ACC Tournament’s second day, let’s quickly summarize the enigma that is Virginia’s NCAA at-large status.

The Cavaliers, the expert consensus holds, have compiled one of the weirdest NCAA Tournament resumes in decades. For every marquee win against a team such as Duke and Wisconsin, Virginia has suffered losses against the likes of Old Dominion, Delaware and Wake Forest. As a result, although the Cavaliers brandish a 4-3 record against the RPI top-50 that outstrips that of other bubble teams, their RPI of 64 and glaring seven losses against teams below the top-100 in RPI barely even begins to approach the typical standard to which the Selection Committee holds at-large contestants. It’s even unclear whether Virginia passes the “eye” test as a tourney-worthy team. Though few observers would dispute that Virginia features a defensively staunch, feisty unit, the squad’s limited offensive capabilities hardly cater to the standard NCAA fan’s preferences.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason Virginia media members here and the more learned fans are surlier than Kristen Stewart on a rainy day right now: losing as they did Friday to N.C. State probably killed the Cavaliers’ chances. Whereas a win would have validated Virginia as a gritty, dangerous team, Friday’s lackluster effort merely highlighted the glaring offensive deficiencies that have rendered the team borderline unwatchable this year. As Tony Bennett aptly remarked of his players: “You can certainly win with them, but you can lose with them.”

Although Virginia fans should not forsake all hope of a tournament berth, the team’s most likely destination next week is an extremely welcome one: John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers would likely be a top-three seed in the NIT Tournament, meaning they’d get to host a game against the likes of Richmond or Norfolk State. That contest would occur Tuesday or Wednesday or next week.

Lost in all the tournament intrigue swirling around Bennett’s boys these past two weeks. Compared to the preseason prognostications, Virginia has overacheived dramatically in vying for a tournament berth until the bitter end. Though today cast a shadow over the 2013 season, the long-term future has never looked brighter for Virginia basketball.

5:05 PM: Some combinations, such as mayonnaise and mustard and Skip Bayliss and a microphone, just don’t go together well.

Add the Virginia men’s basketball team and the ACC Tournament on the list.

Outclassed and overpowered by a surging N.C. State team, the Cavaliers have failed to reach the semifinal round of the tournament for the conference-high 18th consecutive season after losing 75-56 in Friday’s quarterfinal round. Despite junior forward Akil Mitchell’s admirable 19-point, 8 rebound performance, Virginia shot an abysmal 5-of-20 from beyond the arc and were outrebounded 39-28. Scott Wood posted a game-high 23 points for the Wolfpack and put the game beyond reach with four straight 3-pointers in the second half.

The full, depressing details are forthcoming on

3:22 PM: Halftime

2:41 PM: Tipoff!

1:10 PM: It was a tale of two halves within a half between Miami and Boston College. After smothering the Eagles’ offense and compiling a 21-8 lead, the Hurricanes simultaneously started throwing bricks and fouling Boston College indiscriminately—enabling the Eagles to end the half on a 19-4 run and enter the break with a 27-25 lead.

The mmuch-ballyhooed matchup between Durand Scott and Olivier Hanlan has fizzled so far, with Hanlan scoring 7 points on just three field goal attempts. Meanwhile, Scott and the rest of his teammates have looked so disheveled in a 31.0 percent shooting calamity that a No. 2 or 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, a certainty last week, may slip away from the team if it continues to flounder.

More to come after this game.

11:52 AM: Welcome to the Ides of March edition of our ACC Championships coverage! We’re locked and loaded at the Greensboro Coliseum to watch eighth-seeded Boston College try to upend top-seed Miami before Virginia finally takes the court to clash with N.C. State around 2:30 p.m. For an in-depth analysis on what the Cavaliers must do to avoid early elimination and the “privilege” of hosting an NIT game, check yesterday’s blog post.

Duke and Maryland will commence the night session at 7 p.m., with North Carolina and Florida State closing today’s action thereafter.

Up first, though, Boston College and Olivier Hanlan — whose 41-point eruption against Georgia Tech to open the tournament highlighted an otherwise drab first day of action — face the Hurricanes. Keep checking this blog and @CavDailySports on Twitter for frequent updates throughout the day, especially when the Cavaliers finally take the court. And otherwise, if you want to hear me marvel at Reggie Johnson’s size or maybe even make a few cracks at Duke’s expense.

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