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UVa On The Court at NCAA Tournament - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

UVa On The Court at NCAA Tournament

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Malcolm Brogdon shoots at NCAA practice. Malcolm Brogdon shoots at NCAA practice.
Tony Bennett at NCAA practice Tony Bennett at NCAA practice

The Virginia men's basketball team was on the court for its scheduled NCAA Tournament practice Thursday at the PNC Arena in Raleigh.

The #1 seed Wahoos will take on 16-seed Coastal Carolina in the Round of 64 Friday at 9:25 PM.

The Chanticleers got the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament after winning the Big South Championship.

UVa senior guard Joe Harris says, "They have a lot of guys that are very capable. They're unbelievable at the guard spot. They have three guys who are averaging over 14 points per game, and two guys that are consistently around seventeen. They present a lot of challenges, but at the same time we're excited to play against them."

Senior forward Akil Mitchell adds, "They also have athletic big men, who can crash the glass, and can make post moves. They're a good team, they're talented."

Coastal Carolina is coached by 68-year-old Cliff Ellis. Now in his 7th season at Coastal, he has the Chanticleers in the Big Dance for the first time in 21 years. He previously had a lot of success coaching at both Auburn and Clemson, and Ellis says he's impressed with Virginia.

"Any time you win the ACC regular season, and win the tournament, having been in the ACC, that's special," says Ellis. "We got to protect the ball, because they're not going to turn it over a lot. I think rebounding is a key. I think we got to make some shots, and we got to keep them from making them."

The Cavaliers say they will stick to the basics when they take on the Chanticleers Friday.

"Just keep doing what we've been doing," says sophomore forward Anthony Gill. "Just playing defense, and having that competitive edge we like to carry, almost like a chip on our shoulder."

Sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon says, "There is no new philosophy going into these games. You have your identity as a team. It's just who can come in most prepared, and the most rested."

UVa is a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the 4th time in program history.

Sophomore guard Justin Anderson says, "You'd be surprised, because when you're growing up you're like, 'Wow, if I could be a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, I'll be so excited. I'll do whatever it takes to get there," and now that we're there, we still have to go out and play ballgames. The championship trophy is not just going to be given to us. We're not going to fly out to Dallas and just play in the Final Four. We realize seeding doesn't mean too much, and we have to go out there and play the best basketball we can."

Virginia head coach Tony Bennett was named a finalist for the 2014 Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year.

The Award is presented annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

John Beilein (Michigan), Larry Brown (SMU), Billy Donovan (Florida) and Gregg Marshall (Wichita State) are the other four finalists.

Bennett guided Virginia to a 28-6 overall record in his 5th season, and led the Cavaliers to both the ACC regular season and tournament championship.

UVa leads the nation in scoring defense at 55.3 points per game.

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