Virginia starts its tournament run on Thursday with a game against in-state foe Hampton. Here's what you need to know:
No. 1 Virginia (26-7) vs. No. 16 Hampton (21-10)
3:10 p.m. ET on truTV
PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
1. Who is Hampton?
The Pirates punched their tickets to the tournament after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) for the second consecutive year. Last year, Hampton shocked the MEAC by winning the conference tournament after finishing 6th in the regular season. The Pirates ultimately fell to Kentucky in the first round after winning a play-in game over Manhattan.
Hampton is coached by Edward Joyner, who is in his seventh season with the team.
In their history, Hampton is 1-14 all-time against schools currently in the ACC. Their only victory came against North Carolina in Chapel Hill during the 2001-02 season.
2. A defensive struggle
Virginia is well known for its team defense, but Hampton is no slouch either as they hold their opponents to just 33 percent from 3-point range. Both teams hold their opponents to 42 percent shooting overall. Those numbers don't tell the whole story, however.
According to Ken Pomeroy's defensive efficiency ratings, Virginia is ranked No.4 while Hampton comes in all the way at No. 192, third-worst among all teams in the tournament. The fact that Hampton has a .415 shooting percentage for the season (290th among Division I schools) also does not bode well as they prepare to face the toughest defense they have faced all season.
3. Try not to look ahead
Virginia is a No. 1 seed for the second time in three years, but that's not what caught everyone's attention when the brackets first came out. The No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region just so happens to be Michigan State, the team that has eliminated the Cavaliers from the tournament in each of the past two seasons. Obviously, many UVa fans are not pleased with this, especially considering that the Spartans could very easily have been a No. 1.
That is not something the Cavaliers can worry about now. Crazy things happen in the tournament and looking ahead is an easy way for contenders to get upset.
4. Former teammates will be reunited
This game will reunite two former Tennessee teammates. Virginia sophomore Darius Thompson played with Hampton senior Quinton Chievous at Tennessee before both players transferred. They still work out together during the summer.
5. History in the making?
While every year leaves us feeling like anything can happen, there is still one thing that never has. A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 in the history of the tournament. If Hampton hopes to be the first, they will need a heroic effort from Reginald Johnson Jr.
Johnson is a senior transfer from Miami of Ohio and has scored in double figures in 13 straight games. He averages a team-best 18.3 points.