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By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
Topic - Joe Harris
Remember Virginia guard Joe Harris? An Ohio State commit compares himself to the former Cavaliers guard. Could he be a headache for Maryland?
Michigan State turned the defensive tables on Virginia and the Spartans advanced to the Elite Eight, putting them back in a place where they have had a lot of success.
Michigan State’s 61-59 victory in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night put an abrupt halt to what had been a dream season for the Cavaliers, who finished 30-7, matched the program record for wins, finished first in the ACC during the regular season and won the school’s first conference tournament title in 38 years.
Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell arrived at Virginia to join a program that hadn't made the Sweet Sixteen since they were toddlers.
Virginia senior Akil Mitchell has become the face of a program on the rise. That he won't be a part of it beyond this season is of little concern as the Cavaliers get set to face Michigan State in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
Joe Harris' senior season at Virginia has been something of a love-fest.
Virginia led by 15 at halftime and pushed that to 27 points late, picking right up where it left off in its strong finish to Friday's tournament-opening win against Coastal Carolina.
A wild and unpredictable weekend even by the NCAA tournament's wacky standards claimed a few more unsuspecting victims on Sunday. This March, it is the nothing new. But Virginia, a No. 1 seed and the ACC champion, had no intention of seeing its memorable season come to an abrupt end in a third-round game against No. 8 seed Memphis at PNC Arena.
The worst game of Virginia's season was also the one that sparked the Cavaliers' turnaround.
Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976 on Sunday by beating No. 7 Duke 72-63 in the final.
Coach Tony Bennett climbed up to the rim, gave the net a final snip and twirled and raised it toward all those Virginia fans.
The Cavaliers shot 48 percent, forced 15 turnovers and earned their third double-digit victory over the Seminoles this season while reaching the semifinals for the first time since 1995.
It's been a season of firsts for No. 6 Virginia. The Cavaliers are savoring their latest one by sticking around the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament a little while longer than usual.
All Florida State can do now is wait and hope.
The all-Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball teams and voting results for most improved player and sixth man of the year, announced Monday by the league and determined by a vote of 77 members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and by the league's 15 head coaches:
He told his players if they won this game, if they found a way to break through against a perennial power like the Spartans, then they would make it to the Final Four.