Revenge? No. UVA focused on advancing in NCAA Tournament

2015FinalFourLogoWhen the brackets were announced on Selection Sunday, the first jolt for UVA was that the Cavs, in the top three in the national polls much of the season, had slipped to the two seed in the East Regional.

Then came the second jolt: a potential matchup in the third round with seventh seed Michigan State, the team that knocked Virginia out of the 2014 NCAA Tournament in the Sweet Sixteen.

For fans, it seemed an opportunity to exact revenge for the 2014 upset. For UVA players, not so much.

“I just think it’s a blessing to be in this position we’re in,” junior forward Anthony Gill told reporters on Saturday. “We’re not going to go into this game thinking of it as a revenge game or anything like that. We are just going to go out there and play like we want to continue to keep moving on in this tournament. Like I said, it’s a blessing for us to be here. We got knocked out by Michigan State last year, but, like I said, we’re not going to take it as a revenge game.”

“We’re extremely hungry regardless of who we play, we know we have an opportunity, and that’s what this is all about,” junior forward Justin Anderson said. “March is all about an opportunity, and we’re starting to see that on the highest level right now with the upsets that are occurring and teams taking full advantage of their opportunities. For us to sit here and dwell on what happened last year, it’s not going to help us win this game tomorrow, so we’re just going to accept what we have to do and go in very hungry and try to come out on top.”

Michigan State forward Branden Dawson isn’t so sure the UVA side isn’t thinking revenge, for his part.

“Yeah, I think they’re definitely going to come in with a chip on their shoulder. I know for a fact that they didn’t forget about the game last year,” Dawson said. “Last year, we had a good defensive team. Last year, we had Adreian Payne, we had Gary (Harris), had Keith (Appling), and as far as this team we have younger players. So this year they’re definitely going to come in ready to play, they’re going to come ready to play and they’re going to definitely have a chip on their shoulder, so we’re going to have to come ready to play and just be dialed in.”

– Story by Chris Graham


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