At 15-5 (5-2 in ACC), The Virginia Cavaliers are the real deal. While ESPN, CBS Sports, and every other major media outlet is labeling Virginia’s 58-55 victory over No.19 NC State an upset, I think that’s a bunch of bollocks.
Contrary to popular belief, the Cavaliers were actually 3.5 point favorites in Vegas going into last night’s contest against the Wolfpak. NC State is heavily dependent on a strong transition game and if you’ve watched Virginia basketball this season, then you know that one of their strongest attributes is defense, particularly in transition. Needless to say, the Wolfpak never shifted into gear last night, especially because their mobile guard Lorenzo Brown injured his ankle early in the game, putting the pressure on TJ Warren, Rodney Purvis, and Tyler Lewis to make things happen, which they failed to accomplish. Even with Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell pouring in 36 points for the Cavaliers, the Wolfpak kept the game within reach, thanks to CJ Leslie’s monster game (20 points, 14 rebounds).
The Cavaliers are undefeated (5-0) vs the RPI top 100, however they have managed to lose five times to teams outside the RPI top 100 thanks to inconsistent shooting spurts and untimely turnovers. They have now beaten NC State, alongside Wisconsin and North Carolina, but managed to have terrible losses to George Mason, Wake Forest, Old Dominion, Clemson, and…Delaware, yes Delaware.
While they’re not a lock to make the NCAA tournament the Cavaliers have a solid shot at an at-large bid, if they can win 11 or 12 games the rest of the way, including a victory in the ACC tournament. NC State on the other hand is in better shape for a tournament bid, even though they have one more loss in conference play than Virginia, but they have managed to beat Duke, North Carolina, and UConn. Then again, they lost to Wake Forest.