UVA Basketball to Focus on One Game at a Time at ACC Tournament, Would Relish Rematch with Duke in Finals
For the second year in a row, the UVa basketball is aiming to win both the ACC regular season championship and the ACC tournament championship.
The top-seed Wahoos (28-2, 16-2 ACC) will play Thursday at 12:30pm against the winner of 8-seed NC State and 9-seed Clemson.
Virginia won its third ACC championship in school history last season beating North Carolina in the finals in Brooklyn.
Now the Cavaliers will try to do it again, this time in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"It's a huge boost for our young guys because we have experience winning a tournament in March," says UVa junior Kyle Guy. "I think it'll be huge."
"We have experience, guys who have been in the ACC tournament multiple times," says UVa redshirt sophomore De'Andre Hunter. "We won one. We know what we have to do each and every game to win."
Virginia will try to become the first team to win back-to-back ACC tournament titles since Duke capped of winning three straight eight years ago in 2011.
"We're going to get everyone's best shot," says UVa's Ty Jerome. "We just have to be prepared for every game. One game at a time."
"Just being prepared and playing hard every game," says Hunter. "We're not going to know who we play every night until a couple hours before. We just have to be prepared and ready."
This year's ACC tournament is in the same Charlotte arena where last year's season came to an end in the NCAA tournament.
"Everybody's going to say you're going back to Charlotte and that's where you lost to UMBC," says UVa head coach Tony Bennett. "We've tried to grow as much as we can and learn from it. It's all been talked about enough. It's time really to press on and get ready to play. There's not a lot more to be said. We'll play a good NC State or good Clemson team. We're both playing good ball and you're going to have to play your best."
Virginia went 16-2 in the ACC this season, the only team the 'Hoos lost to was Duke, twice. The UVa players says they relish a rematch in the tournament finals.
"100 percent," says UVa senior Jack Salt. "If we focus one game at a time and end up with Duke that would be the team I'd like to play in the finals."
"That would be the ideal situation," says Ty Jerome. "But all we have is the next game ahead of us. Either NC State or Clemson and that's all we're worried about."
"I want all of them on their team (Duke) to be healthy," says UVa junior forward Mamadi Diakite. "That would be a good battle, I'm looking forward to that. You would like that shot with Duke? I would like to."