For the first time since 2007, the Virginia Cavaliers are headed to the NCAA Tournament! It's been a long five years for Cavalier fans, but the team's name was finally called tonight. UVA received a 10 seed in the West region, and will open the tournament on Friday when they take on the Florida Gators in Omaha, Nebraska. The time of the matchup will be announced late tonight.
The first reaction for any UVA fan has to be relief. After finishing the season with losses in 3 of its final 4 games and 6 of its last 10, the team isn't exactly peaking going into the tournament. However, nabbing a 10 seed, thus avoiding the dreaded "8-9 game" (and accompanying second round date with the first seed) is a favorable result for the Hoos.
The matchup with the Florida Gators should be an interesting one. Florida finished their season at 23-10 after falling late to #1 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament. They don't enter the Tournament on a hot streak either; they have dropped 4 of their last 5 games, though those 4 came against Kentucky twice, at Vanderbilt, and at Georgia. The Gators and Hoos have faced two common opponents; Florida crushed FSU by 18 back in December and beat LSU by 8, with both games taking place in Gainesville. Their other notable wins this season were a home victory against Vanderbilt, two wins against Alabama, and an overtime victory against Arizona. The Gators have one of the best offenses in the country; KenPom puts them second in his efficiency rankings. As far as 7 seeds go, this has to be one of the toughest ones we could have asked for.
With a win over Florida, the Hoos will likely play Frank Haith's 2nd seeded Missouri Tigers, who take on Norfolk State in their first-round matchup.
Here's an early look at the full 68-team field. Start pencilling in those brackets!
Congrats to the Virginia basketball team for earning a spot in the tournament; after a long season filled with more than a fair share of adversity, they deserve it. We're looking forward to providing plenty of in-depth coverage all week right here at Streaking the Lawn.