It has been almost 20 years since the Wahoos made their last appearance in the Sweet 16. It was 1995, I was not even a year old, and a song by Madonna was at the top off Billboard’s Hot 100 Charts. Now, the top seeded Cavaliers have moved on, after eliminating Coastal Carolina in the opening round on Friday, and following it up with yesterday’s astounding victory over Memphis. (Memphis had moved on to face UVA after ousting 9-seed and DC representative George Washington from the tournament).
Bob Donnan – USA Today Sports
The Cavaliers simply outplayed the Tigers the entire game. They walked into the locker room at the half mark with a 15-point lead, up 35-20 after playing great defense and controlling the tempo. Virginia’s biggest strength as far as producing victories is their ability to make their opponents play at their pace. Yesterday was no different, and Virginia never let up and held on to the lead as they waltzed into the Sweet 16.
Their next matchup will be one that likely provides much more difficulty. They face 4-seed Michigan State, a team that many believe is under seeded and a leading underdog to emerge from the regional stage with their tickets punched to the Final Four in Arlington. Tom Izzo is among the coaching elite, up there with Coach K, Jim Boeheim and Roy Williams. Since the year 2000, every single player to go through Izzo’s program has graduated with a Final Four appearance on their resume. His Spartan teams are as prepared as any come March, and Virginia will need to match that level of intensity and preparation if they want to keep dancing.
The two teams face off Friday March 28, at 9:57 on TBS. The winner will go on to face the victor of the Iowa St. – Connecticut game on Sunday, at a time TBA.