Michigan, Virginia Are the Last Unbeatens to Fall

Published on 19-Jan-2019 by Alan Adamsson

Basketball - NCAA Mens    NCAA Basketball Daily Update

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Michigan, Virginia Are the Last Unbeatens to Fall

Someday, an ultra-special team will come along to take a distinction away from Bobby Knight and his 1976 Indiana Hoosiers.

Going 32-0 wasn't easy then, and it's damn near impossible now.

It may be even longer than impossible to find a college team like those Hoosiers, whose starting five were all upperclassmen who made it to the NBA.


Frankly, in today's game, it's impressive that the Michigan Wolverines and Virginia Cavaliers made it two-thirds of the way through January with an unblemished record.

That's obviously because getting a top seed in a real live post-season bracket actually involves more challenges. Not that the NCAA's rating system is pristine; a strong team in a so-so conference won't have much chance to advance its cause after the non-cons are outta the way.


If anyone's on a mission in 2018-2019, it's Virginia.

Dudes are still trying to overcome the sting of their nega-historic loss to UMBC in last season's Dance. They're fun to watch, but part of the reason is the notion that the Hoos are a high-wire act.

Tony Bennett recruits elite athletes the Jim Boeheim way, ie- they've gotta fit his system über alles. Kinda like feeding a hoops-Borg.


But not impossible.

Especially when the foe features Duke's latest star-studded recruiting class.

Still, the Hoos sauntered into Cameron, did battle with Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett & Co, and played them straight up before falling short, 72-70:


That's just Round 1, of course. The next one's Sat 9 Feb in Charlottesville. Then, odds are they'll meet in the ACC tournament and be ready to hold a reunion every five years if they get together a fourth time in March.

Michigan's players are Old School fundamentally sound like Virginia's. No surprise there, because that's John Beilein all over.

Their defense has been a thing to behold, taking center stage in the Wolverines' runs to the 2017 Sweet 16 and 2018 title game.


His dudes must've had bad biorythms or something in Madison, as they looked nowhere near a club with a clean sheet while Wisconsin was boxing them around, 64-54:


Virginia's got a mature squad, whereas Michigan's counting on serious minutes from freshmen like G Adrien Nuñez to complement showpiece Charles Matthews and buzzer-beating Jordan Poole.

Odds are they'll learn more from their loss than the Wahoos did from theirs, mainly because Bennett's crew didn't see anything that they hadn't already.

They just don't want to see another 16-seed get hot on them. Having that happen twice is damn near impossible, too.