UVA's Performance in the ACC Tournament
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UVA's Performance in the ACC Tournament

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UVA's Performance in the ACC Tournament
Evan Pike, USA TODAY Sports

The University of Virginia basketball team built up a lot of anticipation over spring break, with the beginning of the ACC Tournament and the return of one of its standout players, Justin Anderson, whose broken pinky (on his shooting hand, no less) and appendectomy have kept him out of the game for quite some time.

The first Virginia game in the ACC Tournament was pretty promising. We played Florida State and maintained a ten-point or greater lead throughout the game (a 17-point lead at the half), excluding a few minutes in the second half when FSU closed the margin briefly.

Anderson returned to the court for the first time since his broken pinky, which happened over a month ago during the Louisville game. Just eight days after his appendectomy, he was on the court. Exciting as it was to see him in the UVA uniform once again, watching him play while his injuries are still healing is worrisome. During the first half of the FSU game, Anderson fell and seemed to have difficulty getting up, choosing to sit out after twelve minutes of dedicated play. Luckily, our team is not just Anderson — the rest of the players were strong, and UVA won 58-44.

The second Virginia game of the ACC Tournament against the University of North Carolina — which the announcers declared “like a Final Four game" — is painful to recount. UNC was ahead for the entire game. The Tarheels definitely came ready to fight against the Cavaliers, driving hard on offense and playing effective defense. The score fluxed, but North Carolina held Virginia by at least a six-point margin for most of the game. At halftime, the score was 30-23 UNC, thanks to two consecutive Cavalier baskets. The second half had a similar ebb-and-flow of small glimmers of hope mixed with UNC domination, until a revival of the Virginia team we all know and love occurred with just under five minutes left in the game.

Unfortunately, our comeback only made our loss that much more disappointing. Malcolm Brogdon played an amazing game. The last five minutes of the game was classic Cavalier dominance, and it once again seemed as though it could be either team's game. Unfortunately, several foul shots and a few misses of some critical three-pointers in the last two minutes hit us hard. It was a valiant fight, and the last few minutes of the game were truly invigorating and definite proof of our team's strength — but ultimately, it was a UNC victory, 70-67.

I don't really know much about sports. I do know that this game was one of the most emotionally taxing ones I've seen. Still, the way our team fought towards the end proves that the Hoos will continue to be a force to be reckoned with, especially in the coming NCAA tournament.

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