COLUMBIA, S.C. — Virginia is not shying away from its historic loss to UMBC a yr in the past, when it turned the primary 1-seed to fall to a 16-seed within the opening spherical of the NCAA match. Actually, level guard Ty Jerome made it clear that nobody wanted to apologize for asking about it.
Again within the match as a No. 1 seed going through 16-seed Gardner-Webb, coach Tony Bennett and gamers defined how they used the 74-54 loss to the Retrievers as a supply of motivation all season. If channeled correctly, they mentioned a setback like that would assist them “go to a spot you have not been.”
“It is a chip on our shoulder,” mentioned junior guard Kyle Man. “Nevertheless it does not outline us.”
“It is undoubtedly useful,” Jerome mentioned. “However you have to watch out since you do not wish to play with anger.
“You have to watch out taking part in with anger.”
Bennett, who gained ACC Coach of the 12 months honors for the second yr in a row, mentioned his crew “owned” the UMBC loss and is “attacking this yr.” He lauded his crew’s consistency, noting how they prevented dangerous weeks to complete 29-Three general and 16-2 in convention play.
Virginia positioned first within the powerhouse ACC in the course of the common season, which landed three No. 1 seeds within the NCAA match.
A yr in the past, UVA made historical past with a first-round loss to UMBC, the primary time a one-seed fell to a 16-seed to open the NCAA Match. Streeter Lecka/Getty Pictures
“Now, that is a unique sort of problem than the match,” Bennett warned.
On the eve of its first recreation within the match, Bennett mentioned his message to his crew was to manage what it might management — the respect it has for its opponent, Gardner-Webb, and the way effectively the Cavaliers put together for the sport.
“Hopefully we’re in a great spot and able to play,” he mentioned.
Bennett mentioned an ACC assistant referred to as to inform him to be prepared for a way good Gardner-Webb might be on Friday. The Runnin’ Bulldogs beat a pair of ACC groups this season. The coach’s message, based on Bennett: “They’ll play.”
“In fact we’ll be prepared,” Bennett mentioned. “We perceive that. While you get into this match, all people can play.”
Gamers famous how this looks like a unique crew than a yr in the past, thanks largely to the addition of Braxton Key, who transferred from Alabama and leads the crew with 5.5 rebounds per recreation.
De’Andre Hunter, who averaged 15.1 factors and 5.zero rebounds this season, was injured and in addition did not play towards UMBC.
Gardner-Webb coach Tim Craft mentioned it can take a crew effort to carry Hunter down.
“He is a monster to defend,” Craft mentioned. “He is so good inside and outside, actually versatile. Each of these guys [D.J. Laster and Jose Perez] will see him at instances. We’ll produce other guys that can see him. We’ll attempt to restrict his potential to catch it near the basket after which like give whoever’s on him quite a lot of assist, however he is a terrific participant. We will not simply guard him with one man.”
No. 1 Virginia and No. 16 Gardner-Webb will play one another at Three:10 p.m. on Friday.
The Cavaliers will not be capable to keep away from the reminiscence of final yr’s loss to UMBC till then, however they’re hoping that can change after tip-off.
“We’re able to placed on a present this yr so we are able to speak about one thing else,” Man mentioned.