Virginia and Virginia Tech advance to Sweet 16

Josh Luckenbaugh
March 25, 2019 - 7:52 am

While it was not to be for Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech sealed their spots in the Sweet 16 Sunday night with comprehensive round of 32 victories. 

After a momentary scare against 16th-seeded Gardner-Webb in the first round, the Cavaliers exorcised the demons of 2018 and advanced to face ninth-seeded Oklahoma. After taking a 15-13 lead with nine minutes left in the first half, Virginia never trailed again and took down the Sooners 63-51.

The Cavaliers, the top seed in the South Region, will now head to Louisville, Ky. to take on 12th-seeded Oregon Thursday night. The Ducks are the last double-digit seed in the tournament, knocking off No. 5 seed Wisconsin and No. 13 seed UC-Irvine to advance to the Sweet 16. 

The Hokies, the No. 4 seed in the loaded East Region, easily handled 13th-seeded St. Louis in the first round, but faced a stiffer test in 12th-seeded Liberty in the second round. The Flames upset Mississippi State to set up the all-Virginia round of 32 matchup and kept up with Virginia Tech for most of the evening.

But with the score tied 44 with less than 14 minutes left, the Hokies went on an 8-0 run and never surrendered the lead again and ultimately claimed a 67-58 victory.

The Hokies now have a date with No. 1 overall seed and ACC rival Duke Friday night at Capital One Arena. The Blue Devils barely escaped the second round with a 77-76 nail-biting win over UCF, and the Hokies did win their only previous meeting this season, triumphing 77-72 over a Zion Williamson-less Duke team on Feb. 26. 

But with a fully healthy Williamson back in the Duke lineup, Virginia Tech faces a daunting task trying to upset the Blue Devils this time around. 

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