The Virginia Cavaliers are well aware of what it is like to drop a game in the NCAA Tournament and fight their way back. In the Columbia Regional they lost their opening game to South Carolina before rolling off four straight wins over Jacksonville, the Gamecocks, and Old Dominion. In the Super Regional they lost a tight game to Dallas Baptist and proceeded to win the next two to advance to the College World Series.
Omaha presents a different challenge though.
Mississippi State and the Hoos know Jacksonville is not waiting in the loser’s bracket if they fall today. Instead, they’ll face either the No. 2 overall seed Texas Longhorns or No. 3 overall seed Tennessee Volunteers.
Getting the first win against Tennessee and Texas was crucial for both the Bulldogs and the Cavaliers, but getting to 2-0 is the most important thing a team can do in Omaha.
In his postgame press conference, Coach O’Connor recognized as much saying “Well, first, I’ll tell you that you want to be in the winners’ bracket, certainly. But if it comes down to you really don’t gain an advantage unless you go 2-0. You’re at the same spot.”
Dating back to 2009, of the 22 teams to advance to the Championship Series in the College World Series, only six lost one of their first two games before clawing back to reach the Championship Series and only four of those six lost the winner’s bracket game.
To go even further back, 25 of the last 30 national champions have started the College World Series 2-0.
NC State was able to knock off Vanderbilt 1-0 on Monday night to secure their place as the 2-0 team in the other bracket. Virginia knows how to win a loser’s bracket game, but will look to put two ACC teams at 2-0 in the College World Series on Tuesday night.