Despite being a 4-seed, Michigan State is the popular pick to win the National Championship this year according to many of the college basketball experts.
The Spartans battled through a bunch of injuries this season but still finished with an impressive record of 28-8 - including a Big-10 conference championship.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said, "This will be - in my opinion - the best team we've played all year. They have great depth, similar to our depth. They have a terrific player in Adreian Payne who had 41 in the second round whose a threat from shooting the three at a 6, I don't know how tall, 6'10'', with long arms. Can post up very effective, terrific guard play. Certainly they have a program that's established. Coach Izzo is one. They play very physical. They don't take possession's off and that's why he's had success in conference play, but in NCAA tournament play."
Bennett says he'll cut practice time this week to keep his guys fresh but says its important for the team to practice with the same intensity.
"The intensity has to be there," said Bennett. "If you promote - in my opinion - a soft, we're just kind of getting ready for the game, it won't work. You have to be brief but you have to figure out what's important in this game, attack it with a level of intensity and prepare to play."
Win or lose Friday, its been one of the greatest seasons in UVa basketball history.
Coach Bennett says his guys are hungry for more.
"You don't know how often you're going to come down this road," said Bennett. "It's worth the struggle. It's worth the hunger that you need. It's worth laying it on the line in practice like you didn't think you could leading up to each progressive round, each progressive game. When that brass ring is coming around we talked about trying to grab it with both hands and that's what has happened. But you've gotta have a hunger and a passion for what's in front of you and approach it that way and it's the only way to advance in these kinds of settings."
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