By Bryan Zarpentine @BZarp on March 26, 2014
Despite being the top seed in the East Region, many are predicting the Virginia Cavaliers to lose in the Sweet 16 to Michigan State. But there are a lot of reasons why Virginia took home the ACC regular season and tournament championships, and why it's in position to make a serious run at a national championship. Even though many are predicting its downfall, here are five reasons why Virginia will survive the Sweet 16 and advance to the Elite 8.
At this stage in the tournament, teams need depth, which is something Virginia has. The Cavaliers aren't overly dependent on one single player, so if someone has an off night or gets into foul trouble, they'll be able to survive because they have trustworthy players coming off the bench who can step up if needed.
Although he's just a freshman, Perrantes is as poised as point guards get, and he won't be fazed by such a big stage. Perrantes has yet to commit a turnover in the NCAA tournament, which is impressive after playing 33 minutes against Memphis. He'll perform the way he needs to for the Cavaliers to survive and advance.
Harris isn't completely dependent on the outside shot to score points, but he can light it up from the outside even against a good defensive team. At some point, Harris is going to get good looks from the outside that he's capable of knocking down. On the big stage, Harris could go off for 20 points and help carry Virginia into the Elite 8.
Defense wins championships, and Virginia has already won the ACC regular season and tournament championships behind defense. That defense will keep them alive to win the national championship. Michigan State has played some good defensive teams in the Big 10 this year, but none of them are as good as the defense Virginia has.
Brogdon is one of the best players in the Sweet 16 that not enough people know about, but they'll know about him by the end of the weekend. He's had his best games this season against Syracuse in a de facto ACC championship game and against Duke the ACC tournament championship game. On the big stage in the Sweet 16, Brogdon will once again rise to the occasion and have a big game that helps Virginia survive.
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