From Worst To First: Virginia Cavaliers

One year ago, Virginia became the first school to ever lose as a #1 seed to a #16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Not only did that, they were the overall #1 seed. Not only that, they lost by 20 convincing points. It wasn’t even close. I wrote about it last year – https://www.characterandleadership.com/win-class-lose-class/.

This year, Virginia entered the NCAA Tournament as a #1 seed. They were 14 points down to another #16 seed in the first round and came back to win. They beat Purdue in the round of 8 with a last second shot. They beat Auburn by one point to advance to the final game. In the national championship game, Virginia beat Texas Tech in overtime with some huge shots down the stretch.

Joe’s Perspective: To be honest, as a Spartan fan, I was big-time rooting for Michigan State to win this thing. I was rooting against Virginia. At the end of the day, I have to give them the credit. They hit the big shots and handled the pressure. One missed shot at any level and they were toast. But, they didn’t miss. To win a championship, a team has to make the plays in the moment. Virginia did. The field did not.

For an entire year, Virginia had to deal with being the first school that lost to a #16 seed. It was part of their story. They had to own it. One year later, they wrote a new story – one of redemption. This just shows you that we cannot be defined by our past. We can all overcome. We are the authors of our own stories.  Congrats Virginia!

Your Turn: What are your thoughts on the Virginia turnaround and what this means to for your experience?

Comments 14

  1. The way they lost last year was not good at all so they all came together and decided they didn’t want to have that happen again and win something bigger and better that they will remember for the rest of their lives

  2. I didn’t see the Virginia loss last year as incredible. I give credit to UMBC for playing the better game, just as I give credit to Virginia for winning all six of their tournament games this year. The nature of the tournament means that it’s not always the best team that wins each game, but always the best team after 40 minutes. Virginia this year showed that every minute of every game matters, and they stayed true to that in all six games.

  3. It’s really cool a to see a group of guys come together and decide that they were going to accomplish something great this year. A lot of those same guys were on the team last year and they experienced how that lost to UMBC and they decide that they were going to work so hard that there was no way that would happen again

  4. I think that’s Virginia working together to prove everybody wrong on what they were expecting out of them was super good and shows that they never gave up on themselves.

  5. After losing to a #16 seed, they decided to commit and dedicate the next year to being better, and working on being able to handle pressure and be accurate with there shots. It’s really cool to see what some dedication and faith can do for a team.

  6. This is really awesome to read a out knowing how a team could get beat so badly being the best team to lose to the worst but then almost happen a second time, but pulled it back together and won the game by being down 14 points and making that great comeback.

  7. I think that Virginia winning the National Championship this year redeems their embarrassing loss in the first round last year.

  8. I love how they kept persevering no matter how much work it took. They may have lost a lot, but all that did was just push them to be the best. Hard work does pay off.

  9. It really shows how one of the best teams can go down to one of the worst in the tournament.Then the Next year they win the Championship,That shows how much pride they had and didn’t look back at what happened last year.

  10. Clearly they learned from last year because they ended up winning but they obviously remembered how much it sucked last year and so as a team they worked harder treated every game like the championship

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