Rothstein On Sweet 16: Virginia "Has The Most To Lose"

If Tony Bennett wants to truly exorcise his NCAA Tournament demons, he needs to get to Minneapolis – at least

Tiki and Tierney
March 25, 2019 - 8:53 pm
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It was a good opening weekend for the No. 1 seeds in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, it was a good opening weekend for the No. 2s and No. 3s as well. 

Indeed, the top 12 teams in the tournament, as determined by the committee, are heading to the Sweet 16. But one team is under more pressure than the rest.

That team? Virginia.

“To really exorcise the demon, you have to at least get to the Final Four,” CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein said on Tiki & Tierney. “Duke’s Duke. Whether they lose on Friday or not, (they’re) still going to be Duke. Gonzaga got over the hump two years ago. They got to a Final Four. They lost in the national title game. North Carolina is North Carolina. Kentucky is still going to be Kentucky. In this NCAA Tournament, Virginia is the team that has the most to lose, and I think Virginia is the team that has the most dangerous game of the 1-seeds.”

No. 1 Virginia (31-3) will face No. 12 Oregon (25-12) on Thursday at 9:59 p.m. ET. The Ducks have won 10 games in a row.

“Oregon is playing with house money,” Rothstein said. “Oregon wasn’t going to get into the NCAA Tournament as an at-large team. They’re not supposed to be here and they’re playing great basketball, and they’re playing great defensive basketball. Virginia has been offensively pound-for-pound, inch-for-inch the best it’s been under Tony Bennett. They are going to need to score to win this week.”

The Cavaliers, of course, lost to No. 16 UMBC last March, and they trailed Gardner-Webb 36-30 at the break last Friday. Virginia wound up beating Gardner-Webb – and then Oklahoma in the Round of 32 – but make no mistake: it’s Minneapolis-or-bust for Bennett.

“I think Gonzaga has the toughest matchup (against Florida State),” Rothstein said, “but Virginia has been the most vulnerable of the 1-seeds that we’ve seen so far except for Duke."