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UNC Fans Lament March Madness Hopes After Loss vs. Virginia in ACC Tournament

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UNC Fans Lament March Madness Hopes After Loss vs. Virginia in ACC Tournament
Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVMarch 10, 2023

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 09: Reece Beekman #2 of the Virginia Cavaliers drives against D'Marco Dunn #11 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half in the quarterfinals of the ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 09, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The North Carolina men’s basketball team started the season No. 1 in the country with championship expectations after reaching the 2022 national title game.

And now it will probably miss the NCAA tournament.

Virginia defeated the Tar Heels 69-59 in Thursday’s ACC tournament quarterfinals game in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Cavaliers were the No. 2 seed in the tournament and earned the win in the rubber match after splitting the two regular-season games with the No. 7 seed Tar Heels.

North Carolina’s loss drew plenty of reaction on social media with its tournament hopes seemingly dashed:

Dan Wolken @DanWolken

North Carolina, the preseason No. 1 team, loses to Virginia and is almost certainly NIT-bound. A massive failure of a season for Hubert Davis and a group of players that made the NCAA title game a year ago.

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

North Carolina. No. 1 to NIT.

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

NIT Carolina, amirite?

Brad Evans @NoisyHuevos

For those in the back, North Carolina’s NCAA Tournament hopes … pic.twitter.com/Wsattf5TIh

Taylor Vippolis @tvippolis

Nobody to blame but themselves. This is who UNC was all season. A complete disappointment.

Lukas Harkins @hardwiredsports

My sincerest apologies to @Riley_Davis3, but I think that’ll do it for the North Carolina bubble conversation. Tar Heels, like so many other bubble teams steady this week, miss a big opportunity. UNC was more behind the eight ball than those teams, though.

Ben Stevens @BenScottStevens

North Carolina trying to get in to the NCAA Tournament. pic.twitter.com/4HToshdFWW

Pat Forde @ByPatForde

North Carolina, No. 1 to NIT. A historic bust for a preseason No. 1 team.

russbengtson.eesh @russbengtson


Matt Norlander @MattNorlander

Unofficially official: UNC will be the first preseason No. 1 team to fail to make the NCAA Tournament in the 64/65/68-team era.

John Hollinger @johnhollinger

Can’t spell “North Carolina Tar Heels” without “N-I-T” #wahoowa

The Tar Heels’ chances to make the Big Dance served as the biggest storyline entering the contest. After all, this was the No. 1 team in the country in the preseason rankings, but Bleacher Report’s Kerry Miller did not have it in the 68-team field in his most recent projected bracket.

UNC likely had to win Thursday’s contest to reach the tournament, and it was still well within striking distance with a 25-24 halftime deficit even though the early offense was either R.J. Davis or bust. The guard scored 12 of his team’s points in the first half and continued to carry the scoring after intermission on his way to 24.

That wasn’t enough to avoid a double-digit deficit in the final 10 minutes, but Caleb Love hit multiple threes to help close the gap and finally provide some secondary scoring after it was almost all Davis for much of the contest.

Yet Virginia iced the win away with clutch free-throw shooting down the stretch. Jayden Gardner led the way with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds, and his team is now two wins away from a conference tourney crown.

Virginia advances to Friday’s semifinals game and will face the victor of the quarterfinal matchup between Clemson and North Carolina State.

original source: UNC Fans Lament March Madness Hopes After Loss vs. Virginia in ACC Tournament

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