RALEIGH, N.C. — A birth to the Sweet 16 is on the line Saturday as the Virginia Cavaliers will square off against the Butler Bulldogs in a round of 32 match-up in Raleigh, N.C.
The game will tip off at 7:10 p.m on TBS. Virginia is a 7 point favorite.
UVA defeated no. 16 seed Hampton, 81-45, in the first round of the NCAA tournament Thursday.
The Pirates hung in with the Cavs throughout most on the first half, trailing 20-18, with 5:52 left. That’s when UVA ended the first half on a 20-3 run to establish a commanding 40-21 lead at the half.
Forward Anthony Gil led Virginia with 19 points as the team shot 55.2 percent from the field, made 12 3-pointers and turned the ball over only five times.
The impressive showing especially caught the eye on Hampton coach Ed Joyner Jr.
“I would not be shocked if I was at the Final Four in Houston and they were playing,” he said.
Butler, one of the most consistent college basketball programs over the last five years, is coming off a 10 point victory over Texas Tech in the first round of the tournament.
Virginia head coach Tony Bennett has taken notice.
“They don’t beat themselves,” he said. “Well coached, of course. They’re an experienced team. It seems like that’s all we’ve been playing these last few games. We have the utmost respect for what their program has done, and how they’ve done it.”
Saturday’s second round match-up will be the first time the two schools meet on the hardwood.
The Hoos come into the game with a dominant neutral court record of 7-1 this season, while the Bulldogs are a respectable 4-2.
The Virginia Cavaliers look to advance to the coveted Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014. The team lost to Michigan State in second round last season.
The winner of the game will play either the no. 4 seed, Iowa State or the upset-minded no.12 seed Little Rock in the Sweet 16.
The Mid-West regional Sweet 16 will take place in Chicago on March 25 at the United Center.
The Hoos navigated one of the toughest schedules in the country including non-conference wins over West Virginia, California and Villanova, three teams that have advanced to the round of 32.
Despite the strong season and no. 1 seed, the team missed out of the ACC regular season and conference championship to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Cavaliers are playing in the tournament for the third consecutive season under head coach Tony Bennett.