COLUMBIA, SC. – Virginia feels a bit of a weight lifted after getting past the first round. As they prepare for Oklahoma, the Sooners present a familiar challenge with size and length, paired with the ability to run their offense through multiple players.
In many respects the Sooners played their most complete game in the first round against Ole Miss. It's a contest they never trailed in and had four players in double figures.
"I thought the guys were really focused for 49 minutes and took good care of the ball and shot selection was good and moved the ball well and made good plays," said Oklahoma head coach Lon Kruger.
Their presence on the inside was the high note, scoring 44 points in the paint thanks to a balanced scoring attack from guys like Kristian Doolittle and Brady Manek. The Cavaliers are expecting that same level of play on Sunday and will try to find a rhythm and step up "Sooner" rather than later.
"You have to keep improving. The game changes. There are certain constants but certainly those are things that have helped us and we worked hard on some of the things that have been key for us this year," said Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.
"They do have a balanced scoring attack. I think four guys had more than 17 points yesterday and they do want to get up and down and we're fine with that because we try to keep teams out of transition and take what the defense gives us," said Cavaliers' Kyle Guy.
"They're a physical team, they like to post up the majority of their players so we'll have to be really ready in our defensive rotations and if we're trapping be aware of the ball. But it's a challenge that me and all of the guys look forward to," said Hoos center Jack Salt.
" I think we're going to be more ready than yesterday. It was win or go home yesterday and it's win or go home from here in out. I think we know that and will be ready," said De'Andre Hunter.
When asked if the Cavaliers players thought there was a team that Oklahoma reminds them of, Florida State seemed to be the constant answer. A team that's long, disruptive and likes to control the pace.