Virginia Cavaliers to Play Auburn Tigers in First NCAA Final Four Appearance in 35 Years
MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia men's basketball team is set to play its first NCAA Final Four game in 35 years, as the Wahoos will take on the Auburn Tigers at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Cavaliers are playing in the NCAA Final Four for the first time since 1984. The Tigers have never made it this far.
It's been a historic season for the 'Hoos. They've won a program-record 33 games, so far, this season. Virginia is enjoying its longest run of success under the direction of Head Coach Tony Bennett.
In Bennett’s 10 years as head coach, UVa has won at least 30 games four times. They've also been a Number One seed in the NCAA tournament four times.
The Cavaliers are in the Big Dance for the sixth year in a row, which is the longest streak in program history.
If the ‘Hoos want to win the national championship for the first time ever, they will have to get by Auburn.
The fifth seed Tigers are playing their best basketball of the season. After winning the SEC tournament, Auburn ran through basketball blue-bloods Kansas, North Carolina, and Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament.
UVa junior guard Kyle Guy says, "They shoot a lot of three's. If they make them, we've shown that even though teams that are hot like Purdue, or a person is hot, we can still hang with them. So our defense will still be there."
"They run," adds junior guard Ty Jerome. "They are super fast. They are super balanced. You can't focus on one player. They will shoot a lot, a ton of three's. We will have to run them off the line, keep them out of the paint. It's gonna be a great challenge, and taking care of the ball will be a key too.”
Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl says, "Our guys understand Virginia’s length. I think they understand that, that Virginia is probably the most efficient team in college basketball. They are like the top 5 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, but (our guys) have confidence in each other. They also have confidence in what we do. We are gonna get some open looks. We better knock them down."
If Virginia wins Saturday night, they will advance to the NCAA Championship game for the first time in program history.