March Madness just lived up to its name. Syracuse, a 10 seed, overcame a double digit deficit in the second half to beat Virginia, a 1 seed. What made the difference was Syracuse’s decision to use a full court press early in the second half that got Virginia out of its deliberate tempo and played to Syracuse’s superior athleticism. With Syracuse’s win, 3 of the 1 seeds have lost, and the fourth, North Carolina, is playing Notre Dame, as I write.
A touching moment came at the game’s end in an interview with Virginia coach Tony Bennett outside his team’s locker room. Bennett said he drew on scripture to console his dejected senior-laden team after what was a crushing defeat, telling them, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning.”
As someone who played basketball in grade school, high school, and college, my guess is Bennett is right. Virginia’s players will feel the pain of this defeat for a while, but joy will come in the morning as they reflect, not on the outcome of a single game, but on their whole career.