When We Last Left Our Heroes
Virginia secured the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and was hosting first and second round action in Charlottesville.
How Did it Go?
As expected. The Hoos coasted past Monmouth 4-0 in the first round, and then defeated Penn State 4-1 in the second round to advance to Tulsa and the Round of 16.
A showdown with Oklahoma State in their home state. OSU-Midwest had a strong program years ago before falling on hard times right as Baylor, Oklahoma and TCU all began their runs to national prominence. The Cowboys are returning to the national stage after an eight year absence.
How Can Virginia Win?
Play up to their normal standards. The Cowboys do have an impressive win against Wake Forest early in the season, but beyond that have struggled against Top 10 competition. Virginia is a major step up for OSU.
A key player to watch, however, is Virginia's #1 player and defending NCAA Champion Ryan Shane. To put it kindly, Shane has been struggling in the post season. He is 0-3 over his 5 postseason matches, including a loss to Penn State's #1 player Leonard Stakhovsky, who is not even nationally ranked. If something is amiss with Shane, coach Brian Boland may be playing him to improve the chances of the 2-5 players while essentially conceding the #1 line. Boland's only other option is to pull Shane from the lineup and move everyone up a line. If Shane comes out looking like the Top 10 player he is at 100%, then Virginia's chances to repeat go up substantially.
How Can I Watch?
Match is scheduled to start at 1pm EDT, but that depends on the early matches finishing within 3 hours.