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Virginia's DeAndre Hunter to Miss NCAA Tournament After Suffering Wrist Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 13, 2018

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 13: De'Andre Hunter #12 of the Virginia Cavaliers reacts after hitting a three pointer in the second half of the game against the Miami Hurricanes at The Watsco Center on February 13, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images

Virginia Cavaliers freshman guard De'Andre Hunter will be out for the 2018 NCAA tournament after suffering a broken wrist in the ACC tournament, the school announced Tuesday.

Hunter appeared in all 33 games for Virginia this season, averaging 9.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists en route to winning the ACC's Sixth Man of the Year award.

Many analysts commented on how Hunter's absence will affect Virginia in its pursuit of a Final Four trip:

Sam Vecenie @Sam_Vecenie

Big part of the reason I like Virginia as a national champion contender was the ability to create matchup problems for other teams with Hunter. Tough loss here. Still have a chance to get to the Final Four, though. https://t.co/O8YIHgJMFI

Kerry Miller @kerrancejames

Will say this, though: When Oregon lost Chris Boucher right before the tournament, everyone wrote that team off, and it still made the Final Four. And Boucher was way more important to Oregon than Hunter is to Virginia. https://t.co/QBUq41P5aY

Jeff Borzello @jeffborzello

DeAndre Hunter was a difference-maker for Virginia. Created matchup issues, was effective against zone defenses. Two-way player. Best NBA prospect. That said, don’t think it ends Virginia’s Final Four hopes.

The selection committee wasn't kind to the Cavaliers by seeding the Arizona Wildcats fourth and the Kentucky Wildcats fifth in the South region. That sets up what could be a difficult Sweet 16 matchup for Virginia, which Hunter's injury makes all the more tricky.

The situation is somewhat reminiscent to when Justin Anderson missed time toward the end of the 2014-15 season with a broken finger. Anderson returned for the ACC and NCAA tournaments but clearly wasn't himself, and the second-seeded Cavaliers lost to the Michigan State Spartans in the second round of the Big Dance.

Anderson was more integral to that Virginia team than Hunter is this season, but it's another example of bad luck hitting head coach Tony Bennett at the worst possible time.

Virginia opens the NCAA tournament against the UMBC Retrievers on Friday.

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