Tuesday’s game at No. 2 Miami is not only a chance for Virginia to enhance its NCAA tournament credentials but also the Cavaliers’ first-ever regular-season clash with a team 12-0 or better in the ACC.
The Hurricanes (21-3 overall) defeated Clemson 45-43 on Sunday, their seventh ACC road victory. They were a combined 7-25 on in road conference games from 2009-12.
Miami leads second-place Duke (22-3, 9-3) by three games with six to play, virtually assuring them the Hurricanes top seeding for the ACC tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Miami would be the event’s first No. 1 seed other than Duke or North Carolina since Wake Forest in 2003, the first from outside the Tar Heel State since Maryland in 2002.
While Virginia (18-7, 8-4) has never encountered a 12-0 or better ACC team during the regular season, the Cavaliers have four times in the ACC tournament. A quick summary:
* After completing a 16-0 ACC regular season in 1999, Duke faced last-place Virginia in the opening round of the ACC tournament. Led by William Avery’s 18, eight Blue Devils scored at least eight points in a 104-67 rout.
* The most competitive and memorable of the four games was a 1987 ACC semifinal against North Carolina at the Capital Centre in Landover, Md. The Tar Heels had gone 14-0 during the regular season and dismissed Maryland in the quarterfinals. Fourth-seeded and NCAA tournament-bound Virginia extended Carolina to double-overtime before falling 84-82. Andrew Kennedy scored 22 for the Cavaliers, Joe Wolf 27 for the Tar Heels, who lost the title game to N.C. State. Virginia’s John Johnson played all 50 minutes.
* The Cavaliers were no match for David Thompson and eventual national champion North Carolina State in the 1974 ACC semis. The Wolfpack, 12-0 during the regular season, rolled 87-66 behind Thompson’s 37 points.
* Similarly, in 1963, Virginia encountered 14-0 Duke in the ACC quarters, losing 89-70 as Jeff Mullins and Art Heyman combined for 50 points.
A couple of follow notes on the rarity of Virginia shooting 58.5 percent from the field in Saturday’s 93-81 loss at North Carolina.
That’s the Cavaliers’ best shooting in defeat since 2003, when they made 59.2 percent in a 78-77 setback at Clemson.
The Tar Heels’ 53 second-half points were one more than they scored in a 61-52 defeat at Virginia last month.
North Carolina has won 284 games in Roy Williams’ 10 seasons as coach. None of those victims shot as well as the Cavaliers on Saturday.
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Here’s a link to my Daily Press print columns, including one on Virginia's loss at UNC.