Winning beats losing 12 ways from Sunday, but if you have to lose, there's nothing wrong with losing to a team like Virginia.
Unlike, say, Maryland, their players graduate, and unlike, say, Carolina, the classes they take they actually do the work for. It's a great school with some overdue glory, so congratulations to the Cavaliers.
Tony Bennett has built a really solid program which looks like it will have some staying power. That's great news for the ACC. With Duke, UNC, Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville soon and Virginia, and State, Clemson and Florida State not very far from being consistently excellent, the league is poised for great things.
That said, playing Virginia is not a lot of fun.
Aside from the vigorous defense, which makes life difficult for everybody, the slow pace isn't that entertaining. But you can't argue with success, and Virginia certainly has found it.
Maintaining it is a different matter, as Leonard Hamilton is seeing now. With Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell set to graduate (as opposed to exhausting their eligibility), Virginia has work to do. And next year they will be the hunted, which is a very different experience.
None of that matters now, though. This team really did something special.
In the truest sense, Virginia became a team. The Cavs were incredibly impressive in the Finals.
Duke was too, for the most part. Virginia pulled away early but Duke fought back and the vast middle of the game was a 1-3 point affair. But with about 5:03 left, Virginia finally built a small cushion of four points, and from there, although Rasheed Sulaimon cut the lead to 59-57, Duke could not catch up again.
And obviously Rasheed Sulaimon's technical didn't help, but with :40 seconds left, Duke was down eight.
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In this situation, then, you look at what positives you can draw. And there are definitely some.
Although Virginia won at the end, Duke didn't let the game slip away. Virginia was just better, and that's a very different thing.
Additionally, Duke got a tremendous game from Amile Jefferson, who finished with 11 points and played with immense poise and intelligence. And Jabari Parker asserted himself in a way the coaching staff has been looking for. He's incredibly difficult to guard one-on-one.
And Duke's defense, while it buckled late, never broke as it has in some games this season.
In a few minutes, CBS will anounce Duke's destination and opponent. The heartache, by necessity, must be brief.