Virginia, Purdue to battle to end Final 4 droughts

Cavaliers looking for first final four berth since 1984

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Virginia Cavaliers had a season-long goal of reaching the Final Four but have avoided such talks in order to not create any pressure. Now that they sit just one win away from reaching that goal, the team is starting to embrace it.   The Cavaliers have put on blinders so to speak this postseason, which has helped them in their quest to reach the Final Four. 

"I think it's as much as you have to block it out, because as soon as the ball is tipped, nothing else matters. But I'm embracing it. I think everyone's embracing it. Just being on this stage is an amazing opportunity, and we're thankful to be here. I think you have to embrace it and let it fuel you," Cavaliers guard Ty Jerome said.

"I think we're doing a good job of just taking it a moment at a time, trying to have fun with it and enjoy and cherish every moment. Obviously, when the ball is tipped, like you said, it's all business," Cavaliers guard Kyle Guy said.

As they prep for what they describe as a quote "complete" team in Purdue, they're relying on the experience they had with a rugged ACC schedule to give them an advantage in scouting a top 5 offense. 

"But the ability to have those turnarounds and play different styles is important. And so it's how you prepare this day. Unique how late we got done last night. Like you asked those guys when they got to bed. Those are the challenges. But you rest.
And I told the guys, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I said, probably tired, didn't sleep great. I said, legs are probably a little fatigued. I said, you know what? Everybody is like that at this stage. It's worth it," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett.

It's been more than three decades since Virginia or Purdue have advanced to the Final Four so Saturday night will be a dream come true for one of these programs.

About the Authors: