2014 NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed: Virginia
Winning ACC's regular-season, tournament titles impress committee enough to give Cavs a 1.
Coach: Tony Bennett | NCAA Tournament record: 173-92
Best finish: Sweet 16 (2008 with Washington State)
Assistants: Ritchie McKay, Jason Williford, Ron Sanchez? Starting lineup:
G: Malcolm Brogdon
G: Joe Harris
F: London Perrantes
F: Akil Mitchell
F: Mike Tobey
Top reserve: Anthony Gill
Leading scorer: Malcolm Brogdon (12.3) | Leading rebounder: Akil Mitchell (6.9)
National championships: None | Last Final Four: 1984
Why Virginia might win it all: Virginia is back in the Dance for the first time since 2012, and only the second time the past seven season seasons. The Cavs -- who claimed both regular season and tournament titles in the ACC -- last won an NCAA Tournament game in 2007, last reached the second weekend way back in 1995, and made its only Final Fours in 1981 and 1984. The stifling 'Pack-Line' defense, which allowed an NCAA-best 55.1 points during the regular season, is the main component of the success for Tony Bennett's squad. When the Cavs need a bucket, guards Malcolm Brogdon (12.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg) and Joe Harris (11.7 ppg) are the primary options.
Why Virginia might not win it all: The Hoos play great D, but they play slow and keep games close — most of the time. They’ve already been proven they can be blown out (lost to Tennessee by 35 points this season). When you play so many games that are so close, it can be tough to win six in a row.
Player to watch: Malcolm Brogdon. He's a great guy to have, one of the best in the ACC. He's also a tough matchup for a lot of teams. You don't know the name, but you probably soon will. Brogdon will need to have huge games come the second weekend.
One guy soaring: Akil Mitchell has become a force. He'll eat up the rim and keep Virginia's pack-line defense in check. Expect Mitchell to take on anyone that will go up against him. Good size and strength for his frame.
One guy slumping: Nobody. Maybe this is why Virginia's in this spot: No one really qualifies here. Joe Harris had a few down games in recent weeks, but overall, UVa is doing quite well with its tight rotation and spread-it-around offense.
Notable stats: The Cavs play defense and they do it well, allowing 89.5 points per 100 possessions, according to KenPom.com. Also, the team averages 61 possessions per game, which is among the slowest in college basketball. Only six teams were slower this season than the Cavs.
Final thought: Tony Bennett is something of a miracle worker. He did it at Washington State, and now he’s done it at UVa. Really something else. They won’t have tremendous pressure, given this surprising run to a No. 1, but still, the Cavaliers will play with confidence. Bennett’s teams do not break. They will wear you down and make you work for your shots. Susceptible to upset, but also capable of beating anyone -- anyone -- in this tournament.
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