Virginia coach Tony Bennett on NCAA exit: 'We had a historic loss'


Who's ever going to be daring enough to pick a team with one of the tournament's lowest seeds to defeat one of the No. 1s?

The UMBC Retrievers shocked the world Friday night by demolishing 1-seed Virginia 74-54 in the opening round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

UMBC will have the neutrals in the crowd rooting for it, so this might have a home-game feel to the building for UMBC in Charlotte, North Carolina.

We must give credit to UMBC for coming out and playing like a first overall seed. The closest thing to what we saw from UMBC against Virginia might be the 2012-13 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles. They really did. I said that to Tracy [Wolfson] at CBS after the game, in terms of ACC wins and ACC Conference tournament championship.

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THAT was supposed to be their big upset. After senior-guard Jourdan Grant made a three-point shot with 12:12 left in the half, the team gained confidence, taking their first lead just two minutes later on a three-pointer by sophomore-forward Arkel Lamar. The score was tied at 21 entering halftime, and UMBC took the Cavaliers to the woodshed in the second half as they outscored Virginia 53-33.

Congrats to the UMBC Retrievers for making NCAA Basketball history!

In so doing, UMBC (25-10) ended the No. 1 seed's reign of terror against No. 16 seeds at 135 wins. For its men's athletic teams, Virginia has about $1.16 million compared to UMBC's at $90,964.

"It should make you forgive and forget", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

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Following the game, Retrievers players were asked all the clichéd questions that reporters have to ask after upsets of this magnitude including the "how do you put this moment into words?" classic. Given the fact that they played in a mid-major conference, the fact that they had 10 losses and won their conference tournament in upset fashion did not give many people much hope for them. Point guard K.J. Maura, a dazzling ball-handler who weaves through defenders despite being all of 5-foot-8, must continue to control Retriever possessions against a Kansas State defense that forces turnovers 21.4 percent of the time. His family was there to celebrate, waving a Puerto Rican flag and holding up a big cardboard cutout of his face. Dave Odom was an assistant on then-Virginia men's basketball coach Terry Holland's staff from 1982 through '89, and Ryan served as a ballboy while growing up in Charlottesville, Virginia, a short walk from University Hall.

In a chaotic UMBC locker room after the game, players shouted: "All brackets gone!" We've been hurting lately. I'm wondering what that person needs $1,307 for that he couldn't buy with $1,294.

So what's next in UMBC's bag of tricks?

Jairus Lyles leads the team in scoring - at 20.4 per game - and is second in assists and rebounds, according to ESPN.

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Kansas State's two leadings scorers - Dean Wade (16.5 ppg) and Barry Brown (16.0 ppg) - have both been banged up in recent weeks. The Cavs were easily the nation's slowest team all season, and they basically never had to accelerate the pace to make a comeback push all year.