(CNN) — The preseason AP No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (UNC-Chapel Hill) look likely to miss out on March Madness after suffering a damaging loss to the Virginia Cavaliers in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) tournament quarterfinals.
UNC was defeated 68-59 by the Cavaliers on Thursday, leaving its hopes of playing in the season-ending NCAA men’s basketball tournament in tatters following an underwhelming season.
The Tar Heels enter Selection Sunday with a 20-13 record and having missed out on the opportunity of sealing an automatic qualification spot, now are a long-shot to make the big dance.
According to ESPN, if UNC misses out on the March Madness, it will become the first AP preseason No. 1 to miss it since NC State in 1974/75.
“It was definitely frustrating and disappointing, but one thing I can say about this group is we fight to the end,” Tar Heels guard RJ Davis — who led all scoring on Thursday night with 24 points — said afterwards.
“We’re a resilient group. We may get kicked down, but we always get back up, and that’s something that has been a major theme for this whole team.”
The Tar Heels’ continued struggles from three-point range — they hit 8-of-27 from beyond the arc — haunted the team yet again on Thursday.
The team’s star big man, Armando Bacot, missed the closing stages of the game, appearing to reaggravate an ankle injury suffered in Wednesday’s second-round win against Boston College.
“It’s not a great feeling,” second-year head coach Hubert Davis said. “Not the expectations that we had coming into the year. It was definitely frustrating and disappointing, but one thing I can say about this group is we fight to the end.”
He added: “I’m sad and disappointed for [the players] that we’re in this position. Just very sad for them.”
With the victory, No. 13 Virginia advanced to the semifinals where it will face the Clemson Tigers.