NCAA

Virginia comes back from historic upset against UMBC to win the NCAA tournament

Virginia comes back from historic upset against UMBC to win the NCAA tournament

Shock and disbelief were carved onto the faces of the Virginia Cavaliers as they walked off the court from their lone NCAA Tournament game in March 2018.

The top-seeded Cavaliers had just lost, as is the case for 67 of the 68 teams that enter the big dance. But their loss was different. Their loss was unprecedented. 

They had just entered the record books for all the wrong reasons. The 2018 Cavaliers became the first-ever No. 1 seed to be upset in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to a No. 16 seed. 

The greatest upset in college basketball history belongs to the UMBC Retrievers for their manhandling of Virginia that day. However, that unlikely victory – as incredible and monumental the feat was – is not what is highlighted today. 

That UMBC victory sparked what would become a great comeback year for Virginia. A year later, the Cavaliers would squash their demons and take home the national championship.

Both years were exceptionally dominant for Virginia. The former being the No. 1 overall seed of the tournament. Combined their records were 60-5 excluding their NCAA Tournament games. To produce such an incredible mark, they rode on the back of their intimidating defense to get there. In 2018 they were fifth in adjusted defense according to KenPom. That rose to first the year that they won it. 

With such a good defense, it left some holes on their offense. Sure, they held opponents to only 53 points but they did not muster much better on the other end of the court. Their offense was a problem and it cost them by scoring only 54 to UMBC. 

Nothing changed for Virginia the following season. Their identity – a slower pace, defense-first mindset that many regarded as the sole reason for their loss to UMBC – did not waiver. Head coach Tony Bennett just had them improve in every aspect of their game. 

Most importantly, though, they got all their key figures to return. DeAndre Hunter, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome were all there to avenge the loss.

It made the celebration for the Cavaliers so much more triumphant. It was easy to feel the relief that Hunter exhaled as he chucked the basketball to the rafters as the final seconds in the national championship game ticked away. A story tale ending was complete. One that was filled with chills and narratives that the best storytellers in Hollywood could not script.  

Did Anthony Cowan deserve the technical foul that ended his night vs. Ohio State?

Did Anthony Cowan deserve the technical foul that ended his night vs. Ohio State?

Anthony Cowan was handed a technical foul late in the second half of Maryland's matchup with Ohio State that resulted in his disqualification.

Cowan, with four personal fouls at the time, was hammered on a layup attempt with 3:54 left in the contest against the Buckeyes. He had cut the Buckeyes' lead to 64-59 and thought he was headed to the free-throw line for an and-1. He was not. 

After no whistle was blown, Cowan reacted, kicking his foot in the air in disbelief. He was then given the technical. which was his fifth and final foul. Maryland didn't have its star point guard for the final 3:54 of a tight game. 

Cowan had picked up his third foul with 7:08 left in the game and then No. 4 exactly two minutes later. 

Twitter lit into the officiating that played a major factor in a very important conference game between the two squads.

Maryland ended up losing the matchup to the Buckeyes 79-72, but it didn't lose ground in the conference standings.

Penn State lost Sunday afternoon, too, so Maryland (22-5, 12-4 conference) didn't lose any ground in its quest to win the Big 10 regular-season championship for the first time. With four games to go, the Terps still hold a two-game lead over the Nittany Lions, Michigan State, Iowa and Wisconsin in the conference standings. Those teams are all tied at 10-6. 

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Cassius Stanley shoots Duke past Hokies

Cassius Stanley shoots Duke past Hokies

DURHAM, N.C. -- Cassius Stanley scored 21 points and made a season-high five 3-pointers to help No. 6 Duke beat Virginia Tech 88-64 on Saturday night.

Matthew Hurt added 16 points and a season-high 10 rebounds for the Blue Devils (23-4, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who never trailed.

Duke opened the game with an 11-2 spurt that featured three 3-pointers in the first three minutes. The Blue Devils scored on 10 of their first 12 possessions and later delivered a 19-4 run on their way to a 51-25 lead at halftime.

Duke improved to 21-1 all time at home against the Hokies.

Vernon Carey Jr. scored 16 points and Tre Jones had 14 points for the Blue Devils.

Tyrece Radford scored 16 points to lead Virginia Tech (15-12, 6-10), which shot 37% from the field. Isaiah Wilkins added 11 points, and Hunter Cattoor had all 10 of his points in the second half for the Hokies.

Landers Nolley II, who entered the game averaging a team-best 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, had three points and one rebound for Virginia Tech.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies continued their slide. They were one of college basketball's feel-good stories early on with a win over Michigan State and then seven victories in an eight-game stretch through mid-January, but they have dropped eight of 10 games since then.

Duke: The Blue Devils bounced back after getting thumped 88-66 at N.C. State on Wednesday night, winning for the eighth time in their last nine games. They remain a half game behind No. 11 Louisville for first place in the ACC as they pursue another top seed for the NCAA Tournament.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech: Virginia, which beat the Hokies 65-39 on Jan. 4, visits Virginia Tech on Wednesday night.

Duke: The Blue Devils travel on Tuesday night to Wake Forest, a team they beat 90-59 on Jan. 11.

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