Coach Tony Bennett couldn’t explain it any better Friday night.
His Virginia Cavaliers, who became the first No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 in NCAA tournament history, simply were outmatched.
“We got our butts whipped,” Bennett told CBS after the Cavaliers’ 74-54 loss to the UMBC Retrievers. “That was not even close. And that’s first a credit to the job Ryan did. Coach Odom, their offense was very hard to guard. They shot it well. We kept getting broken down and did a poor job.”
Virginia entered the tournament as the No. 1 overall seed after going 31-2 in the regular season, including 20-1 in ACC competition.
“I told our guys we had a historic season,” Bennett said. “Historic season in terms of most wins in the ACC.
“A week ago we’re cutting down the nets and confetti is falling,” Bennett said. “And then we make history by being the first 1 seed to lose. I’m sure a lot of people will be happy about that, and it stings. But , trying to tell the guys in there, this is life. It can’t define you. You enjoy the good times, and you got to be able to take the bad times.”
And this wasn’t the first time Virginia struggled as the No. 1 seed. The Cavaliers trailed by five at halftime in 2014 to Coastal Carolina but went on to win 70-59.
“When you step into the arena and you’re in the arena, the consequences can be historic losses, tough losses, great wins and you have to deal with that,” Bennett said in the interview with CBS. “That’s the job.
“I don’t know what to say but that. That was a thorough butt-whooping.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.