UNCW is heading to Orlando, Fla., for the NCAA Tournament.
The 12th-seeded Seahawks will take on the fifth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers in a first-round matchup.
"I'm excited," said UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts, the former Louisville assistant who has revitalized the UNCW program. "You look at the opportunity that we have... we get a chance to play against a very good Virginia team. Tony Bennett's done a really good job with that program."
UNCW enters the Big Dance with a 29-5 record, a second consecutive CAA championship, and a veteran lineup seeking the program's first NCAA Tournament victory since the 2001-2002 season under Jerry Wainwright.
"Coach Carr always tells me, 'This is it for you buddy, so whatever you do right now, you've got to make it worthwhile,'" said Chuck Ogbodo, a senior center for the Seahawks. "I've been making every experience, every chance that I get last forever because this is it for me."
This season, Virginia was not the juggernaut it has been the past two seasons, but the Cavaliers' trademark brand of pack line defense makes them a dangerous team, especially when their offensive efficiency matches their defensive ability.
"They're not just a good defensive team. They're elite, probably one of the best teams in the country," Keatts said. "We've got to find a way to score and try to get the tempo to our pace."
Even though the Seahawks are 0-4 in their last four tournament appearances, each of those losses has been by nine points or less, including last season's thriller against Duke.
"I think, I can tell you, we're gonna give 'em some hard work," UNCW Chancellor Jose 'Zito' Sartarelli said. "Virginia's obviously an outstanding team, but I think our team can beat anybody on a good night."
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