CHARLOTTE, NC. – Virginia's first task in Charlotte will be adjusting to play without the ACC 6th man of the year, De'Andre Hunter. The 6-7 freshman playmaker from Philadelphia has been ruled out of the NCAA tournament with a broken wrist. He will have surgery Monday. He was the team's 4th leading scorer this year, and was 5th in minutes played during conference games.
"I'm really discouraged for De'Andre. He was having a heck of a year and he helped us so much with his play, his versatility offensively and defensively. We talked a lot about that, but that's you can't control the timing, those things happen. We've got enough in that room as the old saying goes 'next man up'," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.
"I still have much room to learn hopefully, we get far in the tournament, and hopefully I can experience a little bit of the March Madness," Hunter said.
Despite the loss of Hunter the consensus is this Cavs team is the deepest and most talented to take the floor in decades.
"I feel like we're actually a really deep team especially with DeAndre, but I feel like we're still deep enough to make a run," Virginia leading scorer Kyle Guy says.
"I don't think there's any one person that fills that role he's too talented for that. It takes all of us coming together doing a little bit more actually preparing on the defensive side especially," VIrginia Guard Ty Jerome says.
VIrginia's first test without Hunter comes Friday night when the take on the 16 seed in the south region, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.