'Hoos Hope to Dictate Pace vs. Memphis

On paper, Sunday's NCAA Tournament Round of 32 game in Raleigh between Virginia and Memphis is a classic clash of styles.

The Cavaliers -- the top seed in the NCAA's East Region -- will take the floor ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense, giving up just 55.4 points per game. Eight-seed Memphis scores 77.4 points per game, good for second in the American Athletic Conference, and 33rd nationally.

"We're excited to prove that we can play against teams like that," UVa senior guard Joe Harris said Saturday. "We're excited to keep the ball out of the lane. I think that's going to be one of the most important things tomorrow, is not allowing them to get baskets in transition, and then keeping them out of the paint."

"I mean, they're physical," said UVa senior forward Akil Mitchell. "Big Shaq (Goodwin) and Austin Nichols down low, they're physical. They control the glass most games. And they've got quick guards that can get into the paint and penetrate. And they really like to speed you up, too. So it will be a good test of tempos."

UVa advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years with Friday night's come-from-behind 70-59 win at PNC Arena against 16-seed Coastal Carolina.

Prior to that game, Memphis beat nine-seed George Washington 71-66, putting the Tigers in the NCAA's Round of 32 for the second straight year.

Memphis last reached the Sweet 16 in 2009, while UVa's last appearance was in 1995. A win Sunday would also give the Cavaliers 30 for the season, which would match the 1982 UVa team for the most in a single season in program history.

UVa coach Tony Bennett was asked Saturday whether his team had the athleticism to keep handle Memphis.

"I think we have better athletes than you think. And I think that they're physical, but they know how they have to be," Bennett said. "And that test will be real."

"But any time you play a team that has the ability to score the points in transition, and the way they score the points in the paint, and their quickness, it tests what you try to take away on a game-by-game basis," Bennett added.

"I think we enjoy the fact that it's a contrast of styles, but it's a battle of wills, to see which style is going to play out, and eventually become victorious in the end," said Harris. "I guess it's all about us getting into our tempo and our pace, and playing the game that we want to play."

"It's a game of will. Who's going to impose their system, throughout the entire game," said UVa sophomore guard Justin Anderson. "If they get us running up and down, and they get a lot of shot attempts and things like that, then it's likely that they'll win the game. But if we slow them down. They're getting less shot attempts, they're not moving the ball as much, and we're starting to make them move on defense, then I think we'll win the game."

The comments sections of Newsplex.com are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we ask that you follow our rules for commenting. E-mail is required to comment on a story, but it will not be displayed with your comment. For complete rules, CLICK HERE. The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 251729071 - newsplex.com/a?a=251729071
Gray Television, Inc.