Things move fast this time of year, and on multiple fronts. The Wahoos made a good run through the ACC Tournament, before falling short in the championship game on Saturday. Today, we got the NCAA Tournament bracket reveal. Meanwhile, the offseason is underway for many teams, with players set to start filling up the transfer portal this week.
Next Stop Orlando
Virginia received the 4 seed in the south region of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. They’ll face 13 seed Furman on Thursday afternoon in Orlando, scheduled for a 12:40 PM start. The winner of that game advances to take on either 5 seed San Diego State or 12 seed College of Charleston on Saturday. Whichever team survives the four-team pod earns a ticket to the Sweet Sixteen in Louisville, with games there taking place on the following Friday and Sunday.
Furman (27-7) is the champion of the Southern Conference, both regular season and tournament. This is their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1980. It’s an experienced team that’s won a lot of games together. They’ve won 14 of their last 15 games. It’s a really good offensive team, top 10 nationally in scoring at 82 points per game.
The Paladins start five players who are all three-point threats. They take and make a lot of shots from behind the arc. It’ll be a challenging game for UVA’s frontcourt defensively, having to defend on the perimeter. But Furman also converted 60% of their two-point attempts this season, tops in the nation. They play with great spacing, which opens up driving lanes.
The early Vegas line has Virginia as a 6-point favorite. They’ll need to play well in order to advance.
Five ACC Bids
Five ACC teams received bids to this year’s tournament. Virginia has the best seed. Duke and Miami are both 5 seeds. NC State is an 11. And Pittsburgh, as one of the last teams selected, will need to play their way in at the First Four in Dayton.
It’s been a down year for the league as a whole. Obviously not the number of teams we’re used to seeing, nor the quality of seeds. But it was exactly as most experts predicted going in, so no real surprises.
It was interesting that neither Virginia or Duke were placed in Greensboro. There was an assumption that the winner of the ACC title game would get that reward. Instead, they’re both in Orlando. Separate brackets of course, but both pods in the same location. It looks like that was probably already set, and the championship game didn’t matter for seeding.
Another tidbit revealed during CBS’s selection show was that North Carolina and Clemson were among the first four teams out. A little closer than people thought. Of course, UVA eliminated them both from the conference tournament. I don’t think most people believed one more win would have been enough for either team at the time, but it appears that might have been the case.
It’s a weird time of year. Some teams are beginning their offseason, while others continue to play. In the middle of it all, the transfer portal opens up for business on Monday. Graduate transfers had already been allowed to enter, but now it’ll open for everyone.
For Virginia, it’s unclear how involved they’ll be in transfer recruiting this spring. The extent, as always, will depend on the stay or go decisions from current players. Regardless of whether we hear mentions of interest, it’ll probably be a month or so before anything real comes of it. But there’s no doubt going to be names flying around starting this week.
As things stand, an experienced frontcourt player will probably be the main interest for Virginia in the portal. They’ll lose a lot of up front after this season. A versatile power forward/center who could play alongside any of the returners would make sense, if they could find the right player. More shooting in the backcourt could be of interest as well, particularly if Armaan Franklin doesn’t return for his extra season.
We’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for any relevant names.
(Featured Image Credit: Matt Riley/UVA Athletics)