No. 16 UMBC shocked the world Friday night, with a resounding 74-54 victory over the No. 1 team in the country, Virginia.
The upset was the first of its kind in NCAA Tournament history, with the bottom seed in a region knocking off the top seed.
After the stunning loss, Virginia coach Tony Bennett spoke to the media:
“So, that’s life. We talk about it all the time. The adulation, the praise, it comes and we got a lot of that this year. Then on the other side, they’ll be blame and people pointing that out. That can’t, in the end, you know, define these guys and our team or us, because it was a remarkable season but we got thoroughly outplayed. That’s the reality of it. And I hate for this team, the way they played to lose like this, but for Devon (Hall) and Isaiah (Wilkins) to go out like that and Nigel (Johnson) being a fifth year for us.
“So, with that, if you play this game and you step into the arena, this stuff can happen. And those who haven’t been in the arena or in the competition, maybe they don’t understand that. But there’s chances for wonderful things to happen, but when you’re in the arena, stuff like this can happen and all those who compete take that on. And so we’ll accept it. And again I want to congratulate the job that Ryan and his staff did. They played well and we did not.”
“We lost our way. I think it was a good point, tried to get it back in one shot and got out of character. And I’m sure I’ll look at the tape and I probably made a lot of poor adjustments and that’s part of it. I’ll grow from it as a coach, but our young men tried. They battled. It wasn’t a lack of effort, but it was a hard team for us once they got ahead of us.”
“Phenomenal year. Can’t take away an ACC Championship, can’t take away the most wins, can’t take away an ACC Conference Tournament, and can’t take away so far being the first 1 seed to get beat and lose.
“I grew up, played at Wisconsin-Green Bay, the hyphenated schools. I know how good they are. Said it yesterday, good basketball knows no divisions or limits or qualities. And they played. All that matters is who plays the best. They earned their right to play in this tournament. They earned their right to move on. It’s who played the best for 40 minutes, and they absolutely did. Won’t take away from some of the things, but it certainly stings. You know, I’ll — ask me that maybe next year or another time. We’ll see.”
UMBC will move on to play No. 9 Kansas State at 7:45 p.m.
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