Top Ranked UVA Gears Up For NCAA Tournament Run

Posted: Updated:
Virginia captured its 3rd ACC Tournament title in Brooklyn this past Saturday Virginia captured its 3rd ACC Tournament title in Brooklyn this past Saturday

Virginia heads to Charlotte as the top overall seed and No. 1 seed in the South Region.

The Cavaliers road to the Final Four begins this Friday at 9:20 p.m. against No. 16 seed UMBC in Charlotte.

A No. 1 seed has never lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

UVA is looking to reach the Final Four for the third time in program history.

The Cavaliers haven’t reached a Final Four, since 1984.

Virginia captured only its third ACC championship ever Saturday night.

It was the first ACC tournament title for each current player, except for fifth-year senior Devon Hall.

Hall and Isaiah Wilkins hugged it out as the confetti fell from the ceiling, and each player helped cut down the nets in Brooklyn.

Former Wahoos Joe Harris and Justin Anderson were there to watch.

The fans chanted Tony Bennett's name, before the humble head coach reluctantly took part in the tradition.

On Sunday night, Bennett talked about Virginia's road ahead.

"Try not to over complicate it, you prepare well, improve in this and then when you get to the game you play to win and you always acknowledge at this level anyone can beat anybody and you can beat anybody,” says Bennett. “People project and do things this and that and you take care of the first one and you try to be as ready as you can and that's always the right step.”

"We've kind of had a bull eye's on our back all season because of our defense, and it's not about recognition but hopefully this will turn some heads,” says sophomore Kyle Guy.

“We came into this tournament battle-tested, we've won on the road all year, we've been in tough environments all year, we've played great teams all year, we're battle-tested,” says sophomore Ty Jerome.

We're going to get everyone's best shot, we're just going to have to take it game by game and play our hardest every game,” says redshirt-freshman De’Andre Hunter.

Although Virginia is the top seed in the NCAA tournament, the Cavaliers’ road to the Final Four will not be easy.

If UVA beats UMBC, it plays the winner between No. 8 seed Creighton and No. 9 seed Kansas State.

The ‘Hoos could potentially face No. 5 Kentucky or No. 4 seed Arizona in the Sweet 16.

Arizona freshman forward Deandre Ayton is arguably the best player in the country.

If Virginia can reach the regional championship, it sets up a match up with potentially No. 3 seed Tennessee or No. 2 seed Cincinnati.

Bennett says, “I think it becomes a possession game, it tightens up, defense is really important, maturity is important.”

Wilkins says, “We don't have a real big margin for error, we don't have any one-and-done guys like that so, you know you grow, I've grown with Devon over time and I think that's our way.”

“You got to take care of the ball,” says Bennett. “You have to rebound well to advance in the tournament and not allow people to score and guys have to make plays and play with the intangibles and this team is all about the intangibles.