CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The NCAA men’s basketball tournament begins in about a month.
The defending national champion Cavaliers are currently predicted as an 11-seed by a few bracketologists.
UVa head coach Tony Bennett says, “In the last number of years, at this point, we’ve been in a little different spot, in terms of not feeling like, hey, you got to play your way into an NCAA Tournament berth, but that’s reality.”
The Cavaliers have eight games left in the regular season, including four at JPJ, and Bennett says it’s important to hold serve on your home court, especially in this years ACC.
“If you’re not ready, whomever is playing best has the opportunity to win, top-to-bottom in this league," says Bennett, "and that makes it exciting and challenging.”
UVa is tied for fourth place in the conference standings with a record of 7-5. Notre Dame is right behind them at 6-6.
The Fighting Irish are second in the ACC in scoring, at 76.2 points per game.
The veteran group averages ten made three-pointers per game.
Bennett says, "Coach Brey is the one who coined the phrase, or at least he says it, I don’t know if it’s his, he says ' Get old, stay old.' This year, they are a veteran team. I think they have three or four seniors. Good players. They can really score. Offensively, they’ve always been good. They have a real nice squad, and they put a lot of pressure on you defensively."
Virginia gave up nine three-pointers in its 80-73 loss at fifth-ranked Louisville on Saturday.
“Louisville is such a potent offensive team, with their three-point shooting," says Bennett, "and Notre Dame, they present that same challenge with their three-point shooting. They can go inside with John Mooney, and other players that they have. The way Louisville shot the three on us, hopefully we’ll be better defending that, but Notre Dame certainly has that ability.”
Notre Dame and Virginia tip-off Tuesday at nine o’clock at John Paul Jones Arena.