Published: Wed, March 14, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

March Madness: Virginia opens up tournament plat against UMBC

March Madness: Virginia opens up tournament plat against UMBC

The 6-foot-9 Hunter, who averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 rebounds coming off the bench for coach Tony Bennett's Cavaliers, suffered the injury during the ACC tournament last week.

1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, will begin its quest for a title missing one of its key pieces. He's expected to miss 10-to-12 weeks, but he should make a full recovery after having surgery, which is scheduled for Monday.

Virginia's De'Andre Hunter (12) dunks the ball in front of Louisville's Quentin Snider (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the quarterfinal round of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Thursday, March 8, 2018, in NY.

Virginia (31-2), the No. 1 seed in the South, hasn't reached the Final Four since 1984, losing to a lower-seeded opponent in three of the past four tournaments as a No. 1 or No. 2 seed. The team will miss Hunter, the ACC sixth man of the year, but I wouldn't discount their championship aspirations by much.

The 6-9, 228-pound Diakite averaged 5.4 points and 3 rebounds in 33 games this season. His scoring high was 23 points in his fourth game, a 73-53 victory over Monmouth on November 19.

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Hunter was named ACC Co-Rookie of the Week following his 22-point performance at Miami on February 18.

U.Va. also has seldom-used 7-1 redshirt freshman Jay Huff, a stretch forward, on the bench.

Guard Marco Anthony got a chance to shine January 31 in a rare big role off the bench when Johnson was serving the first game of a three-game suspension.

Wilkins isn't as good of a spot-up as Hunter, but the drop is just two points per 10 field goal attempts.

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