BROOKLYN, N.Y. — If defense wins championships, then the 2017 Virginia Cavaliers may very well be the poster boys of that mantra in college basketball, as they hope to add more championship hardware to what they just achieved against last season’s national champions.
Kyle Guy scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half as Virginia completed one of the great seasons in the storied history of the Atlantic Coast Conference, defeating North Carolina 71-63 in the championship game of the conference tournament. Including tonight’s win, the Cavaliers won 20 of their 21 games against teams from the ACC this season, with their lone defeat in league play coming by one point in overtime (to Virginia Tech).
From not being ranked in the preseason Associated Press poll and being picked to finished sixth in the ACC preseason poll, the Cavaliers have almost certainly wrapped up the No. 1 overall seed for the 2018 NCAA Tournament as Selection Sunday, and the reveal of the 68 teams in the Big Dance, is just a few hours away.
The 63 points they allowed to the Tar Heels were the most points scored by a Virginia opponent in New York City, as the Cavaliers surrendered just 58 points in wins over No. 9 seed Louisville and to No. 4 seed Clemson in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. Other than Guy, three other players scored in double figures for the Cavaliers: Devon Hall had 15 points, Ty Jerome had 12 and De’Andre Hunter scored 10 while coming off the bench. Virginia hit 9-of-17 from three while committing just four turnovers the entire game.
North Carolina forward Luke Maye led all scorers with 20 points, as the Tar Heels could have sewn up a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a win tonight.
As always, our senior photographer, Robert Cole, was his ubiquitous self, snapping away and taking amazing photos from the baseline of the Barclays Center during the championship game. There are 15 photos in this gallery, and make sure to come back to ALOST for coverage of the championship game of the 2018 Big East Tournament.