Greensboro, N.C. -- Tony Bennett, who coaches Virginia, said someone had mentioned to him that his was "the Don Equis" of this March -- "the most interesting team on the bubble." It's an apt description
Virginia went 11-7 in ACC regular-season play, which is good; it also went 0-3 against teams from the Colonial Athletic Association in pre-conference play, which is hard for a winning ACC team to do. On Dec. 22n, the Cavaliers did something only four schools managed this season -- it lost to Old Dominion, which would finish 5-25. And yet:
On Feb. 28, Virginia beat Duke, which is projected as a No. 1 NCAA seed if not the ultimate NCAA champ. The Cavs also defeated North Carolina and N.C. State. Said Bennett: "We've had some really good wins, and we've had some really bad losses."
It was believed that another Virginia victory over N.C. State on Friday would put the Cavs over the top, NCAA-inclusion-wise. Instead they lost by 19 points, and it's a good thing the NCAA committee doesn't consider margin of victory/defeat. Otherwise UVA would be out. As it is, it's hanging by a thread.
Virginia has lost four of five and six of nine, and how a team is playing at the moment is something the committee notices. As of Friday morning, Joe Lunardi of ESPN had the Cavs among his field of 68. After they crashed out of the ACC tournament without winning a game, they also dropped from Lunardi's bracket.
No, it's not easy to win 21 games and enter the ACC tournament as the No. 4 seed and still miss the Big Dance, but Virginia could. (It slipped in as a No. 10 seed with 22 victories last season after losing to N.C. State in the same 4-versus-5 game at Philips Arena. Then it got creamed by Florida.) At least Lunardi lists UVA among his "first five out." Jerry Palm of CBS Sports doesn't even afford the Cavs that bit of cold comfort.
To his credit, Bennett was able to smile when he recalled the Dos Equis line. He even cracked a little joke: "I guess that means we have to stay thirsty."
The fall of Javaris Crittenton, as depicted by prosecutors, is a perverse parody of that most shopworn of sagas: The gifted young athlete rises above the pull of neighborhood gangs and finds salvation in the NBA.
After putting about 300 football campers through a four-hour workout at Centennial High on Saturday, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discussed several topics in an exclusive interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.