UVA Basketball Takes First National Title: Law Students Share Their Reactions

Sam Pickett ’21
News Editor

As the final performance of UVA’s 111th Libel Show wrapped up, the cast gathered in the auditorium to watch the final minutes of UVA’s game against Purdue on the projector. The game was doubly important for me. Like most law students, I had become an ardent UVA basketball fan throughout the team’s incredible run during the regular season and tournament. But Purdue was also my college rival, and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing to a team I had grown up hating. As Mamadi Diakite hit the game tying shot to send it into overtime, the entire auditorium exploded into cheers—and thus began Virginia’s three game journey to cause heart problems for as many of their fans as possible. While it may have been particularly sweet for me to watch Kyle Guy, a fellow Hoosier who chose to go to Virginia, show the world what Indiana basketball can do, UVA’s wild run inspired a wide range of reactions from around the Law School.


There were those who couldn’t contain their excitement (or who suffered from said excitement):


“I thought I was gonna die in the crowd and I lost a shoe” – Drew Calamaro ’21


“We’re going streaking!” – Anonymous 1L


“I was too busy to watch the game and so worked until a few minutes before midnight. I couldn't hear any excitement all evening so I assumed we were losing until, just as I lay down, when everyone in Charlottesville started yelling and shooting fireworks so loudly they sent a police helicopter to hover over my apartment and its open windows. When I finally got to sleep in the wee hours I had a pretty good idea that we'd pulled off a come-from-behind win.”—David Ranzini ’20


And some people got a little too excited…:


Sources informed the Law Weekly that a girl got so overwhelmed by the excitement that she bit a law student. Stuck in the crowd and unable to move, a desperate student decided to chomp down on a nearby elbow—which earned her an involuntary elbow to the face. That’s right folks, this is your news editor delivering hard hitting stuff.


There were also double Hoos who had the pleasure of reliving their undergrad days and realizing their long-held dreams of winning a national championship:


“After UVA’s utterly heartbreaking loss to Syracuse in 2016, Tony Bennett told his team and the media: ‘Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.’  Well, joy has finally come to so many of us.  Watching this team finally cut down the nets was the single greatest sports moment of my entire life, and I am so proud of Coach Bennett and this team for finally bringing home a championship to Charlottesville. Wahoowa.” – Teddy Kristek ’19


“Watching it as a Double Hoo at JPJ was super special. The atmosphere was electrifying and it was emotional to finally see the team win the national championship after the struggles of last year and the disappointing performances in the previous tournaments under Coach Tony Bennett. I’m so proud to see this team prove everyone wrong and show their resilience on the national stage.” – Caline Shamiyeh ’21


“As a double hoo and big UVA basketball fan I had been contemplating going to Minneapolis for the game, but decided in the end I wanted to be in Charlottesville to celebrate at home. It was so worth it! Cheering for UVA, especially as Kyle Guy was making those three throws in the Final Four game, surrounded by my classmates is truly a memory I will never forget from my time in law school…I have been a huge UVA basketball fan for years, so I loved seeing so many of my friends also cheering them on, wearing the gear. I think at a lot of grad school people find themselves less invested in the larger school community compared to their undergrad, so seeing how much interest there was in watching UVA win the national championship was incredibly special. I hadn’t realized until I got home and was watching highlights [that] I never even saw the ending of the game. Once it was clear UVA had won, Boylan was already celebrating and cheering and living it up!” Jasmine Lee ’20


And there were those who may have rooted against the Hoos, but were going to end up winners either way:


“I attend Texas Tech for undergrad, so I was actively rooting against UVA in the national championship. Although I’m disappointed that my Red Raiders fell just short, I’m glad that my fellow Hoos got to celebrate the big win. Still, I watched in anguish as we lost the game as a bunch of rowdy UVA fans were going crazy about the win.” – Arjun Ogale ’21


A special shout out must also be given to our school’s incredible SBA. UVA’s run to the title happened remarkably quickly and SBA reacted accordingly, delivering an incredible experience to the school’s grateful students. SBA President Jasmine Lee was eager to give credit where it was due. “I cannot sing the praises of the executive team and all of SBA enough over their help with executing these two events. Everything happened so fast and we hadn’t done anything like this before, but everyone stepped up to make both watch parties a success. Our hope is that we created an unforgettable memory for the school.”


All in all, it was an amazing tournament run for the Cavaliers and a fitting end for a team that just last year became the first #1 seed in the NCAA tournament history to lose in the first round. Following that infamous game, Kyle Guy changed his Twitter avi to a picture of him bent over, head down in defeat after the loss. After leading his team to a redeeming run, I think it’s safe to say that Guy can change his picture.

A group of Hoos join in the Saturday celebration for the men’s basketball team. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

A group of Hoos join in the Saturday celebration for the men’s basketball team. Photo credit Kolleen Gladden ’21.

Law Weekly photographer Kolleen Gladden ’21 captures the crowd present at the Scott Stadium celebration.

Law Weekly photographer Kolleen Gladden ’21 captures the crowd present at the Scott Stadium celebration.