- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

VILLANOVA, Pa. (AP) - Virginia waited nearly 40 years to win another Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title.

The Cavaliers needed only a few more hours to find out it was No. 1 again, this time earning the top seed in the NCAA tournament’s East Region.

The Cavaliers (28-6) will face No. 16 seed Coastal Carolina (21-12) on Friday in Raleigh, N.C. in the second round, and a win would pit them against either Memphis or George Washington.

They won their first outright ACC regular season title since 1981, and their first tournament title since 1976, and had more reason to celebrate Sunday night when they joined Florida, Arizona and Wichita State as the tournament’s No. 1 seeds.


“I think you have to be faithful to what brought you to this point, which is you play the kind of basketball we’ve been playing and continue to have that drive and have that hunger to play well because of the way the tournament is,” coach Tony Bennett said. “Every team you play is so solid. This will be another challenge that way to be ready to go.”

The Cavaliers face a rugged path if they want to reach the Final Four for the first time since 1984: Big East regular-season champion Villanova is the No. 2 seed, Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State is No. 3, Big 10 tournament champ Michigan State is No. 4.

The Wildcats (28-4) will play Milwaukee (21-13) Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y. With a win, the Wildcats would face a familiar team in the next round: Ex-Big East beast Connecticut or Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s.

Other match-ups in the region include: Cincinnati-Harvard and Michigan State-Delaware on Thursday in Spokane, Wash., and Iowa State-North Carolina Central and North Carolina-Providence on Friday in Raleigh.

The regional title game will be March 28-30 at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Coach Jay Wright’s Wildcats seemed poised to earn a No. 1 seed until they were knocked out by Seton Hall in their first game of the conference tournament at MSG.

“I never worry about that,” Wright said. “I’m happy to have a high seed and then you’ve got to play good basketball.”

Wright has led the Wildcats to nine NCAA tournaments, including the 2009 Final Four. He believes his balanced team is good enough to play deep into March.

“I think we’ve got the depth, we can score, we can defend,” Wright said.

But the Wildcats just weren’t good enough to beat out Virginia for a 1 seed.

Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, the chairman of the selection committee, said Virginia’s two championships trumped an RPI rating of 11 to earn a 1 seed over Michigan and Villanova.

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