Orlando, Florida – The Virginia Cavaliers are back in the ‘Big Dance’ for the ninth time under head coach Tony Bennett. Virginia checks in as the 4 seed in the South Region. They will open with the 13-seed SoCon champion Furman Paladins in Round one.
Maximize what you do well was the message from UVA and Furman. Two teams that play contrasting styles. One(Furman) likes to play fast, while the other(UVA) takes it slow. That’ll make all the difference come Thursday.
“They’ll get down the floor so fast after a make after a miss and they’re efficient. They lead the country in two pointer percentage but they shoot a lot of threes from all 5 spots. I don’t know a lot of teams in the ACC quite like them. That’s what makes it always challenging and intriguing,” head Virginia Coach Tony Bennett says.
“I think on the offensive end just grinding them with sides and hitting them with screens and getting the shots that we want, “ Cavaliers senior guard Kihei Clark says.
The Paladins…back in the tournament for the first time since 1980…have a cast of formidable stars led by Jalen Slawson and Mike Bothwell. They not only lead the team in scoring but also flex their muscles on the defensive end.
“All of our guards and bigs can dribble, pass and shoot so no one on the court is a liability or turnover prone,” Paladins guard Mike Bothwell says.
“We don’t like to trick it up. We like to keep our opponents pretty faceless. Pretty nameless,” Paladins forward Jalen Slawson explains.
“This is going to be a very challenging game but at the same time it’s a program built on belief and a program built on conviction. We’ll have no chance of we don’t go into this game with the right mental approach,” Paladins coach Bob Richey says.
UVA holds a record of 1-1 here at the Amway Center as a result of 2017′s NCAA Tournament. Tip-off set for Thursday at 12:40 in Orlando.