The Virginia Cavaliers won the ACC Tournament Saturday with a 71-63 victory over North Carolina.
Virginia, ranked No. 1 in the country, outscored the Tar Heels in both halves to win both the ACC Tournament and regular-season titles. The Cavaliers became the first school to win 20 ACC games (regular season or tournament) in single-season conference history.
Here are three takeaways from Virginia's win:
1. Virginia may finally be ready for a long NCAA Tournament run
Over the last five years, Virginia has boasted talented teams with impressive regular-season records. But it hasn't been able to translate that success into the NCAA Tournament. That should change this year.
The Cavaliers introduce a strong starting lineup with a balanced scoring attack and stifling defense. Virginia ranked No. 1 in the country in points allowed per game this season, and the scoring prowess of Kyle Guy, Devon Hall and Ty Jerome helps maintain an offensive threat. A lock for a No. 1 seed, Virginia has a great chance at sticking around until the final weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
They say defense wins championships...
Virginia has held 34 straight opponents under 70 pts following tonight's 71-63 win vs North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game.
Per @EliasSports research, that's the longest active streak in men’s D-I.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) March 11, 2018
2. North Carolina needs a reliable third scorer
All season the Tar Heels have been basically auditioning different members for a consistent third scorer behind Luke Maye and Joel Berry II. It hasn't exactly worked. Maye led the team with 20 points Saturday, and Berry added 17 and three assists. Kenny Williams, who did average more than 11 points per game, scored 12 points, but he hasn't always been there when the team needed him.
Theo Pinson has had big games. So has Pittsburgh transfer Cameron Johnson. But more often than not, North Carolina is a two-headed attack hoping one of the other options steps up. That could be a risky formula in a one-and-done tournament setting.
3. Kyle Guy is severely underrated
Guy, a former McDonald's All American, seems to slide under the radar on the national scale. The 6-3 shooting guard is known as a lock-down shooter, but he has a well-rounded game. Guy is able to guard multiple positions, play man or zone defense, and he is a supreme ball handler, which helps him create his own shot.
Guy's impact on the game often surpasses the box score, which makes him a perfect leader in Virginia's team-first mantra. If Virginia goes on a long run in the NCAA Tournament, Guy may finally start getting the recognition he deserves.