Wahoowa! Virginia basketball has cleared the final hurdle to be able to participate in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Borzello.
As I just reported on @CollegeGameDay, Virginia’s traveling party passed its two COVID-19 tests since landing in Indianapolis, sources told ESPN. One test at 1:15 p.m., one at 1:15 a.m. Cavaliers have been cleared for afternoon shootaround, will be able to play vs. Ohio tonight.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 20, 2021
UVA, the no. 4 seed in the West Region, will meet No. 13 seed Ohio tonight at 7:15 p.m. EST. TruTV is set to televise the game, which is being held at Assembly Hall on the campus of Indiana University.
Before leaving for Indianapolis on Friday, March 19, Virginia held its first team practice since withdrawing from the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers learned of a positive COVID-19 test in the program on March 11, following a win over Syracuse in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals. A second test confirmed the result and the Hoos were forced to withdraw because of contact tracing. They entered quarantine in hopes of being able to play in the NCAA Tournament. No new cases have emerged since, giving the Cavaliers the chance to play although they will be without the student athlete who tested positive.
“Those guys, they’ll do anything to get this opportunity,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett told media earlier this week.
Thankfulness is one of @UVAMensHoops‘ five foundational pillars. The coaches and players will exude this when they take the court tonight after patiently getting thru the past eight days to get the chance to play in #MarchMadness #GoHoos pic.twitter.com/7wLO72Q1GI
— bill hofheimer (@bhofheimer_espn) March 20, 2021
In a Zoom conference with media earlier this week, senior forward Sam Hauser discussed the preparation for Ohio.
“Probably going to have to fit a lot into [the Thursday practice] with scouting and all that, but our team Zooms over the past couple of days, you know, we’ve tried to fill it with a lot of film and getting to know our opponent so at least I hope our mental side is sharp,” said the 2021 All-ACC First Team selection. “Physically it’s going to be a little bit different, but I think at the end of the day we’re just going to be grateful to be able to play. Once you step on the floor, I think the guys will be ready to go.”
Bennett provided a look at the Bobcats, who captured the 2021 MAC postseason tournament title to earn a spot in March Madness.
“They shoot it well from the perimeter,” Bennett said. “They’re physical. Run really good stuff. Coach Jeff, he was with Thad at Ohio State – Thad Matta – and they have a very good attack. Again, just a quality team that is playing good basketball. They had a pause, and it looks like they hit the reset button and are really cooking. The more you watch them the more you see the things that they can do and why they took Illinois right to the wire and some of the big wins that they’ve had. Makes you appreciate the quality of basketball that every year gets better and better all throughout.”
For further analysis on the Hoos and Bobcats, give a listen (posted at the bottom of this article) to Sabre Editor Kris Wright in his appearance with Luke Neer on WINA’s Best Seat In The House. EDGE subscribers can click here and here for even more in-depth analysis ahead of tonight’s matchup. In the meantime, Go Hoos!
— Virginia Men’s Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) March 20, 2021