Wahoos head to Durham with work to do

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- On Monday afternoon, the Virginia baseball team left for this year's ACC tournament in Durham still unsure of where the Wahoos stand on the NCAA bubble.

"I've looked at a couple of things. I'm not too certain about where the team is, exactly, in the minds of the committee," sophomore lefty Andrew Abbott said before Monday's practice. "No one really knows, except for the committee."

With Saturday's loss at Virginia Tech, the Cavaliers ended the regular season with a 32-22 overall record, and a 14-16 mark in ACC play. UVA stood at No. 43 nationally In the updated NCAA RPI rankings on Monday.

The Wahoos are the No. 9 seed in this week's 12-team ACC field, matched up with No. 4 seed Miami and No. 5 seed North Carolina in Pool D. The Hurricanes sit at No. 17 in the latest RPI rankings, while UNC is ranked No. 20. UVA faces the Tar Heels at 7 p.m. Wednesday, then Miami at 3 p.m. Thursday.

As the bottom seed in their pool, the Wahoos would need to win both games to advance to Saturday's ACC semifinals. Beating either team would also provide another late-May boost to both the Cavaliers' RPI and, as a result, their NCAA regional resume.

"I think we've just got to go down there and play well. Show them we can hang with the best teams," Abbott said. "I think we have the hardest pool, probably, this year."

"We're in a situation that, we have to control it. So we need to go down to Durham and play to win, and that starts with Wednesday night against North Carolina," UVA coach Brian O'Connor said. "And hopefully we can play good baseball like we've been playing the last couple of weeks. And if we do that I think we'll be in a good position next week for the selection day."

Sitting on the NCAA bubble is an unfamiliar experience for the UVA baseball program. For most of O'Connor's tenure at Virginia, his teams had locked up an NCAA regional spot, and were often bolstering their claim at a national seed at the ACC tournament. The Cavaliers played in 14 consecutive NCAA regionals following O'Connor's arrival in 2004.

Last year's team was at the other end of the spectrum. The Cavaliers were 28-24 overall heading to Durham last May, including just 12 ACC wins -- so the team knew it needed to win the ACC tournament to get into an NCAA regional. The Wahoos split their two games in pool play to end their season.

During the regular season, UVA went a combined 1-5 against Miami and UNC -- getting swept at home by the Hurricanes in mid-April, and suffering a pair of one-run losses during a visit to Chapel Hill two weeks later.

"We have a real shot at something great," Abbott said. "Last year wasn't a great year for us. So we want to get back there and start a new streak. And I think that confidence that we're right there, I think that's a big thing that's come about, and I think that will continue."