March 15, 2012
The Virginia basketball team arrived in Omaha Wednesday night and hit the court for their first on-site practice on Thursday at the CenturyLink Center.
The 10-seed Cavaliers (22-9) meet No. 7 (23-10) Florida on Friday at 2:10 p.m. EST. The second-round game is UVa's first appearance in NCAA Tournament play since 2007.
"From what I understand, they're an offensive juggernaut," said sophomore guard Akil Mitchell after Thursday's practice. "So it will be a good match-up with us and our defense. Coach Bennett calls it a classy clash of styles so it should be a good match-up"
The Gators are coming off a 74-71 loss to Kentucky in the SEC semifinals and have five players averaging in double figures. Their offense will be a big test for Virginia's top ranked ACC defense that allowed 53.7 points per game.
"I think they get up 25 threes a game," said sophomore Joe Harris. "They're gonna get their shots up but we have to make a point of contesting those shots and making it difficult...we don't want to give them any easy looks from three."
"Florida's a team that likes to get up and down the court, fast paced," added junior guard Jontel Evans. "And we're a team that likes to play in the half court so it's gonna be interesting how the two styles of play clash tomorrow afternoon."
The meeting is just the second in history for UVa and Florida after the two teams played in 1992 NIT Tournament.