You might want to rework your 2018 NCAA Tournament bracket.
When the bracket was released Sunday, the Virginia Cavaliers were given the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed after winning both the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles. While the Cavaliers were rewarded for their season with both Arizona and Kentucky being placed in the South Region with them, many still had Virginia penciled in to make the first Final Four of the Tony Bennett era.
But Virginia was dealt a devastating blow Tuesday when the school announced that ACC Sixth Man of the Year, De’Andre Hunter, will miss the tournament with a broken left wrist that he suffered in the ACC Tournament.
Hunter was a huge piece of the Cavaliers team that went 31-2, giving them much-needed bench scoring and a physical presence in their dominant defense. The freshman guard doesn’t get the press that Kyle Guy or Ty Jerome do, but Hunter was an invaluable piece of Virginia’s bench. He averaged 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and shot 48.8 percent from the field this season along with being their best overall athlete.
The injury likely will shorten the Cavs’ rotation to seven players, but more importantly takes away a valuable offensive weapon for a team that relies on slowing down the game and grinding teams down with their “Pack Line” defense rather than outscoring their opponents.
Hunter’s injury is a devastating blow to Virginia’s Final Four hopes. The Cavs will be even more limited offensively without Hunter, and should they find themselves facing a large deficit against the likes of Arizona, Kentucky or Tennessee, they might not have the firepower to mount a comeback.
Thumbnail photo via Thumbnail photo Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images
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