The NCAA tournament is set to start on Thursday in Indianapolis. Tony Bennett and Virginia, however, are still stuck in Charlottesville.
The Cavaliers are in quarantine after a positive case within the organization forced them out of the ACC tournament early last week. The team is hoping to travel to Indiana on Friday, and then take on Ohio in the first round on Saturday night.
At best, that leaves time for one quick practice and a walk-through of sorts on Saturday morning — which is, obviously, not a great setup for an NCAA tournament game.
“You just keep working and making the most of it,” Bennett said Wednesday, via USA Today. “It’s not ideal, but when I told those guys after the Syracuse game we had a positive test and seeing the look on their face … this certainly beats the alternative.”
‘I hope at least our mental side is sharp’
Virginia’s game against Georgia Tech in the ACC tournament was canceled after a positive test last week. The news came just after the Cavaliers got past Syracuse with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, too.
They were the second team knocked out of the conference tournament with a coronavirus issue, following Duke’s departure the day before.
Ever since that news, Virginia started quarantining at home in order to ensure it can compete in the tournament, something that hasn’t been easy.
“You control what you can control,” Bennett said, via USA Today. “You’ve gotta be real and say it’s not ideal but respond well, handle it well and you’ll use this to mature, to grow and to learn a little more about perseverance.”
So far this week, Virginia players have only been able to study the Bobcats through film and on paper through team meetings over Zoom. Some players have been able to do some conditioning work, but only on an individual basis.
While he knows they may be a bit off physically when they take the court on Saturday, Virginia forward Sam Hauser isn’t complaining. He’s just happy they can do so at all.
“There’s a little uncertainty,” Hauser said, via USA Today. “I know we’re going to have one practice, and I think we’ll probably have to fit a lot into that practice. The last couple days we've tried to fill it with a lot of film and getting to know our opponent.
"I hope at least our mental side is sharp, but physically is going to be a little different. At the end of the day, we’re going to be grateful to be able to play.”
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