Editor’s Note: AMS filed this column before the Virginia/UMBC game on Friday. We would have updated it, but he wrote it in Sharpie.
This Sunday, K-State men’s basketball will find itself in a difficult but enviable spot, playing the top overall seed Virginia Cavaliers. The NCAA Tournament record for 9 seeds vs. 1 seeds isn’t good, but on the flip side, the Wildcats will undoubtedly be America’s sweethearts for two hours. Not quite Cinderella, but all right-thinking basketball fans will be cheering for K-State to knock off a 1 seed and put an end to Virginia’s virtually unwatchable style of basketball. Here are a few trash-talking points to get you through the game.
An historic upset
Virginia suffered the worst upset in basketball history. In December 1982, on their way back from games in Japan, the top-ranked Cavaliers stopped in Hawaii. They wanted to play a game against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, but had to settle for an untelevised game against the Chaminade Silver Swords, an NAIA team in only its eighth season, while the Cavaliers were led by senior center Ralph Sampson, who would be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft the next summer. And Virginia lost, 77-72, in what will always be the biggest upset in college basketball history. The only thing that would come close is a 1 seed losing to a 16, and the only way it could possibly top the Chaminade loss is if the 16 won by double digits — like that’s ever going to happen. On the bright side, that game served as the inspiration for the creation of the Maui Invitational.
The cavaliers take their nickname from royalist supporters of kings Charles I and II of England in the 17th Century. It’s a bad nickname, made worse by its royalist origin. Wasn’t the University of Virginia founded by Thomas Jefferson, the guy who wrote the Declaration of Independence so we wouldn’t have a king? (Yes, it was. And any Virginia alumnus will absolutely remind you of that.)
There are only two good cavaliers. This guy:
And this dog:
Also, their coach isn’t even the best Tony Bennett.
Bad for basketball
All season long, including the ACC Tournament, Virginia never allowed an opponent to get even 70 points. You don’t get that kind of result out of good or even great defense. Maybe for one game, but not for an entire season. No, that represents a strangling, miserable pace of play that would make former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan blush.
It’s unwatchable and encourages other teams to play that way, and it is just plain bad for basketball. Nobody wants to see college basketball games played in the 50s.