Virginia has a huge Sunday ahead. Thanks to their 51-48 win over Pittsburgh in the semifinals of the ACC tournament in Greensboro, the Cavaliers will remain in North Carolina for another day to take on Duke in the ACC tournament title game. They will then hang out and watch selection Sunday in the comfy confines of their Greensboro hotel.
For the 2nd straight day, defense was the name of the game for Virginia. With time winding down, Pittsburgh's James Robinson had his potential game-tying 3-pointer blocked by Justin Anderson. The Panthers 48 points were the fewest by a Virginia foe in the ACC Tournament since the Cavaliers’ 47-45 loss to North Carolina in the 1982 Final.
Notes & observations:
• For the 20th straight game the Cavs held their opponent under 50% shooting (Pitt shot 37%).
• Virginia advances to the ACC tourney final for the first time since 1994 (they lost to North Carolina).
• The Cavaliers's 27th win of the season is their most since 29 wins in 1982-83.
• While many coaches react to each and every trip down the floor, Tony Bennett seems to take in the situation. Even on turnovers there was no stomping of the feet or screaming at the offending player or someone on the bench. Instead, he just looked at the player and asked why, or shook his head and was already on to the next situation. His players appreciate that approach, and it paid off on Saturday. Justin Anderson admitted making some defensive mistakes, but he went to his coach and asked him to trust him. Coach Bennett did just that, and Anderson was on the court to make the game's final play.
Now the Cavaliers get big, bad Duke in the final. Seniors Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris have helped put Virginia basketball back on the map. If they beat Duke, it is possible that they could be named a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. Of course, that means doing something even the great Cavalier Ralph Sampson couldn't accomplish, win the ACC tournament title.