While most conference tournament victories just clinch an appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the Virginia Cavaliers basically clinched the top seed in the field of 68 on Saturday. The top-ranked Cavaliers completed the most successful season in program history with a 71-63 win over the 12th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels. The win gives Virginia their first ACC Title since 2014, as they finished with a stellar conference record of 17-1, and an overall record of 31-2 heading in to the NCAA Tournament that starts this week. That win total sets a school record for a single season, as the conference title is the second under head coach Tony Bennett. Kyle Guy earned the ACC Tournament MVP and scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half. Devon Hall chipped in with 15 points, five rebounds, and four assists, while Ty Jerome finished with 12 points, six assists, and six rebounds. They were able to pull off their second win over the Tar Heels this season, and snapped a seven-game losing streak to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament. The Tar Heels were playing in their 35th ACC Tournament Championship Game, but never got closer than five points after halftime. They were able to shoot 40 percent from the floor and turned the ball over nine times after they finished with 49 points on 29 percent shooting and 19 turnovers in a loss earlier this season at Virginia. They may have done enough in this tournament to improve their positioning for the brackets, which will be revealed on Sunday night.
Nova, Arizona Earn Second Straight Conference Titles
Two teams were able to repeat what they did last season in their respective conference tournaments, with the first being the second-ranked Villanova Wildcats. They did need overtime, but the Wildcats won their second straight Big East Championship with a 76-66 win over the Providence Friars. Jalen Brunson led the way with 31 points, while Mikal Bridges added 25, including two huge three-pointers in the overtime period to help Nova pull away. The Wildcats outscored the Friars, 16-6, in the final five minutes, as Providence was coming off an overtime upset win over third-ranked Xavier in the semifinals on Friday. The Wildcats will most likely have a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with their third conference title in the past four years. The one season that they didn't bring home the crown, they fell in the 2016 Championship Game. Meanwhile, the 15th-ranked Arizona Wildcats have put all of the drama surrounding the recruiting violations behind them for now, winning their second straight Pac-12 Championship with a 75-61 win over the USC Trojans. Deandre Ayton matched his career-high from Friday night's semifinals with 32 points, along with 18 rebounds, as his team finished at 51 percent shooting, despite shooting just 23 percent from beyond the arc. Ayton shot 14-of-20 from the floor just one night after he put up 32 points and 14 rebounds in an overtime win over the UCLA Bruins. The Wildcats earned their ninth Pac-12 Championship, as they were able to take advantage of the Trojans playing without Bennie Boatright, who is out for the season, and Derryck Thornton, who missed the semifinals with an illness. They did hold a three-point lead at halftime, but were outscored, 45-28, after the break, where the Wildcats pulled away for good.
Kansas Gets Best of West Virginia for Big 12 Title
The Kansas Jayhawks have had an up and down season, especially in conference play, but they proved to still be the leaders of the conference on Saturday. The Jayhawks got 18 points and 13 assists from Devonte Graham in an 81-70 win over the 18th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers in the Big 12 Championship Game Saturday night. Malik Newman had 20 points to lead the Jayhawks, who shot 56 percent from the floor, including 55 percent from three-point range. Freshman, Silvio De Sousa, stepped up for the injured Udoka Azubuike, and finished with 16 points on a perfect 8-for-8 shooting. The win gives the Jayhawks their second tournament title in three years, both of which came from wins over the Mountaineers. It is also their 11th Big 12 Tournament Title and puts them as a favorite to take a top seed in the NCAA Tournament come Sunday night. After trailing by one at halftime, the Jayhawks shot 72 percent in the second half to outscore West Virginia, 48-36, in the final 20 minutes. Daxter Miles Jr. had 25 points, including five three-pointers, to lead WVU, while Sagaba Konate added 18 points, and Jevon Carter finished with 17 points and nine assists. The Mountaineers have now dropped the last three Big 12 Tournament Title Games, but will be a top-three seed come the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Thursday.