Cavaliers hope to use size inside against UNC-W in NCAA Tourney
ORLANDO, FL (WSET) - 46 times in NCAA Tournament history, the 12 seed has upset the 5, something Virginia will try and avoid Thursday against UNC-Wilmington.
In 1991, a then 21-year-old Tony Bennett led the 12 seed Wisconsin-Green Bay to a near upset over the 5, Michigan State in the NCAA first round. Even as he now tries to stop that kind of an upset on Thursday, Bennett says this kind of game is no walk in the park.
Tony Bennett, 8TH-YEAR VIRGINIA HEAD COACH, said "The way college basketball is now and we always talk about the parity every year that shrinks, you've got to be ready."
The matchup against UNC-Wilmington gives Virginia a rare size advantage. So the Cavs' tree trunks in the middle, like 6-11 sophomore Jack Salt, should expect to get more playing time on both sides of the floor.
Devon Hall, VIRGINIA R-JUNIOR GUARD, said "Some of the coaches have been preaching that we throw the ball inside and be able to get easier baskets doing that. So we have guys like Isaiah, Jack and Jarred. Just throw it in and let them make plays."
As for all-ACC defensive team member Isaiah Wilkins, he's a game-time decision, having been limited in the ACC Tournament due to the effects of strep throat. But he's hoping to get back on the court on Thursday and stop hearing from his teammates.
Isaiah Wilkins, ALL-ACC DEF. TEAM JUNIOR FORWARD, said "I think it took a lot out of me. I thought I was going to die against Notre Dame. I'm glad I got those five days rest, or whatever it is, and I'm trying to get ready for tomorrow."
Hall said "He's milking it. (laughter)"
It's important to note UNC-W has pulled off the 12/5 upset one time in their brief tournament history, defeating USC in 2002.
For the Cavs, a win on Thursday would give Virginia 23 wins or more for a school-record fifth straight season. That would be their fifth-straight year, a school record, of hitting that mark.