Cavaliers Receive NCAA Tournament Invitation
CHARLOTTESVILLE-The Virginia men’s basketball team is returning to the NCAA Tournament.
It was announced Sunday (March 11) that UVa (22-9) is the No. 10 seed in the West Region. The Cavaliers will face No. 7 seed Florida (23-10) in a second-round game played in Omaha, Neb., at CenturyLink Center Omaha on Friday, March 16. Game time will be 2:10 p.m. ET and the game will be televised on TNT.
The winner of the game will meet either No. 2 seed Missouri or No. 15 seed Norfolk State in the third round.
The other pod of teams competing in Omaha include teams from the Midwest Region. Those games are No. 2 seed Kansas vs. No. 15 seed Detroit and No. 7 seed St. Mary’s vs. No. 10 seed Purdue.
Virginia is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2007 when the Cavaliers advanced to the second round in Columbus, Ohio. UVa was a No. 4 seed that season and defeated Albany 84-57 in the first round before losing 77-74 to Tennessee in the second round.
This is Virginia’s 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and the Cavaliers have compiled an all-time record of 22-16 in the tournament. UVa advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Final Four in 1981 and 1984. It’s the first time Virginia has been a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia and Florida have met just once in men’s basketball. The Cavaliers defeated the Gators 62-56 in the semifinals of the 1992 National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden.
“First and foremost, the opportunity to get in and have a chance to play on was important,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. “When you see a team like Florida, you know they have been there and done that. They have great guard play and the experience of Coach Donovan. You know if you are going to be a 10 seed, you are going to play a very good team. I know they just played Kentucky close in the [SEC] tournament. You hope the ACC prepares us for this. We are very thankful and realize we are going to have to play some good basketball to have a chance to advance.”
Florida finished 10-6 in the Southeastern Conference and the Gators have five players averaging in double figures in scoring. Junior guard Kenny Boynton leads Florida in scoring with an average of 16.3 points a game and freshman guard Bradley Beal is averaging 14.6 points a game and also leads the Gators in rebounding with an average of 6.5 rebounds a game. Senior guard Erving Walker is averaging 12.1 points a game and leads Florida in assists with an average of 4.7 a game. Junior forward/center Erik Murphy is averaging 10.7 points a game and sophomore forward/center Patric Young is averaging 10.3 points and 6.4 rebounds a game.
Florida is scoring an average of 76.3 points a game and allowing an average of 66.0 points a game.
“I can’t really put into words what this means,” Virginia senior guard Sammy Zeglinski said. “I think about all the memories and the struggles we’ve been through to finally get to this point where we have a chance to go on a tournament run. We’re just really excited about this opportunity and we’re going to leave everything on the court like we always do.”
Virginia and Florida have two common opponents this season in Florida State and LSU. Virginia won at LSU (57-52, Jan. 2) and lost twice to Florida State, 58-55 in Tallahassee (Feb. 4) and 63-60 in Charlottesville (March 1). Florida played both teams at home in Gainesville and defeated Florida State 82-64 (Dec. 22) and LSU 76-64 (Jan. 21).
Due to limited availability, ticket requests for the second and third round NCAA Tournament games in which UVa is participating will be open first to Virginia Athletics Foundation (VAF) donors in the Orange & Blue Club ($2,500) and above (based on 2011 gift). Requests for tickets will be accepted online at VirginiaSports.com beginning at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 11 using one’s registered online account. Requests may also be made in person at the Virginia Athletics Ticket Office in Bryant Hall or by calling 1-800-542-8821 on Monday, March 12 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Requests will be filled based on VAF priority points. Ticket limits may be established if demand exceeds supply. If tickets remain after 2 p.m. on Monday, March 12, all other VAF donors and 2011-12 men’s basketball season ticket holders will have an opportunity to purchase tickets on a first-come, first-served basis.
UVa students may request tickets online at UVaShots.com. The on-line request period will begin at 9 p.m. on Sunday, March 11 and will run until 9 a.m. on Monday, March 12. The weighted lottery drawing through the SHOTS system will take place at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 12 and the claim period will begin at that time. Students awarded a ticket will need to enter the SHOTS system and pay for their ticket by 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 12. Payment will be for one ticket for both the second and third round games. Students will only receive a third round ticket if Virginia wins its second round game. Refunds for third round tickets will be issued to a student’s credit card in a timely manner should Virginia not win its second round game. Student orders will be limited to one ticket per student.
For more ticket information, please click here.