It’s been a week of upsets for college basketball, and two top-3 teams went down today as well. One of them, Purdue, was playing at Michigan State, themselves a top-5 team, so that wasn’t so much an upset.
Virginia losing at home to Virginia Tech, though? That definitely qualifies.
It almost happened in regulation, when Virginia trailed 49-47 with less than 30 seconds remaining, and the Hokies at the foul line:
Bilas wanted Virginia Tech to give fouls there, but that’s a tough thing; obviously it would have been preferable to a made basket, but accidentally fouling before a shot attempt is the nightmare scenario when you’re up two. Of course, giving up an open jumper off a simple ballscreen is probably also a nightmare scenario.
In overtime, Virginia built a five point lead with less than a minute remaining, and considering how stingy Virginia typically is on defense, that seemed insurmountable. Except, actually, there was plenty of scoring left:
With 30 seconds left, Virginia had a chance to put the lead back to five, but couldn’t hit both free throws. This is why it’s important to hit your free throws:
And further evidence of why it’s important to hit your free throws:
It wasn’t over, but it may as well have been:
That was that. Virginia didn’t really lose any ground at the top of college basketball thanks to the aforementioned losses by Villanova and Purdue, though the Cavaliers did probably lose their shot at being #1 this week. Still, a #1 seed looks likely if they finish strong.
It’s a much more important game for Virginia Tech, a bubble team that sits at #40 on KenPom; this kind of signature victory could be the difference on Selection Sunday.
Also, hey, college basketball is fun! It’s nice to get that reminder, even if some people tend not to focus on it until after football season.