Virginia embarrassed itself and selection committee with terrible 2024 March Madness performance

Virginia basketball’s inclusion in the 2024 men’s NCAA tournament was always highly questionable. The Cavaliers were the No. 69 team in the country on Selection Sunday, according to KenPom, but made the bracket over teams with stronger analytical projections. UVA’s NET ranking — the preferred resume tool of the selection committee — wasn’t any better, finishing at No. 54, well behind many of this year’s biggest snubs, including St. John’s (No. 32 in NET), Oklahoma (No. 46), and beloved mid-major Indiana State (No. 28).

Virginia’s nauseating style of play only made their inclusion in the field of 68 more frustrating. The Hoos have always played an immensely methodical style of offense under head coach Tony Bennett, draining the shot clock, limiting opponent possessions, and attempting to turn every game into basketball’s version of a rock fight. Virginia’s defense was excellent once again, as it always is under Bennett, but as opposing offenses have optimized with more three-pointers and better shot selection in recent years, it no longer feels like Virginia’s style can produce great teams like it did during their 2019 national championship run.

Still, Virginia had a chance to prove their skeptics wrong, and that’s all a team can ask for. The Cavaliers were put in the First Four as a No. 10 seed against Colorado State, with the winner drawing No. 7 seed Texas.

Alas, UVA never had a chance. Colorado State beat Virginia, 67-42, in a game that set basketball back several decades. Let’s count the ways Virginia was an absolute embarrassment on Tuesday night in the First Four:

  • Virginia went more than nine minutes without a made field goal to close the first half. They headed into halftime with only 14 points.
  • The second half wasn’t much better. Colorado State dropped 40 points on the vaunted UVA defense in the final 20 minutes.
  • Virginia shot just 25 percent from the field for the game. 14-of-56!
  • UVA shot just 3-of-17 from behind the foul line

Only a few years ago, Virginia became the first No. 1 seed in men’s NCAA tournament history to lose to a No. 16 seed in UMBC. I’ll never forget writing about that game. Is it possible this loss is even more humiliating?

Okay, probably not. But everyone still had fun dunking on Virginia during and after the game.

What was so painful about Virginia’s performance is everyone knew it was coming. Virginia just couldn’t score at all this year. Their offense finishes the season ranked No. 211 in the country out of 362 DI teams. That’s not good!

CBS analyst Wally Szczerbiak blasted the selection committee for including Virginia in the tournament after the game.

There’s no doubt Bennett is a legendary college basketball head coach, but the game has changed so much since he led Virginia to a national title run in 2019. Now coaches have to deal with the transfer portal and the NIL off the court. Teams have adapted on the court, too, by recruiting more shooters and upping their three-point volume.

I was at the Final Four in 2019 when Virginia won the national title. That was a tremendous team with so many great stories. Is the magic gone now?

It just feels like Virginia has failed to evolve with the times. Maybe this loss will be a humbling experience that will help Bennett and his program adjust their style moving forward. It’s just a shame the entire country had to watch them learn this lesson the hard way when there were so many more deserving teams that could have been in this tournament.

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