For two years running, Virginia violated the mantra of college basketball’s elite: Never give an NCAA tournament underdog hope.
Let a modest program from a conference such as the Big South, Ohio Valley or Mid-Eastern Athletic stick around, and everyone starts to believe. Players, coaches, fans. Even the band and cheerleaders. The tension in the arena grows palpable, and the favorite can’t help but notice.
Coastal Carolina in 2014. Belmont last season. The Cavaliers struggled deep into the second half of those first-round games before escaping.
Not Thursday. Top-seeded in the Midwest Region, Virginia led by at least 19 points throughout the second half and...