Three first-round games in the NCAA tournament are rematches, and one pits No. 17 Johns Hopkins (9-6) at No. 8 Virginia (10-4) on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Blue Jays overcame the tragic death of freshman defenseman Jeremy Huber on Jan. 26 and a stretch of five losses in seven games to close out the season with five consecutive wins, including two to capture the Big Ten tournament.
The Blue Jays – who are 1-2 in the NCAA postseason when unseeded – will clash with a Cavaliers squad that is the No. 7 seed and won a 16-15 overtime thriller at Homewood Field in Baltimore on March 21. Here are some instant reactions from Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala.
What are your thoughts about facing Virginia?
They've got very good senior leadership. They've played a very difficult schedule and have been successful in that very difficult schedule to earn themselves a seed. So we're playing a very good team and certainly a well-coached team.
How much does playing in the regular season help?
I think it helps each team to know the other. I'm sure both teams will study their film of the first game, but I think both teams are probably quite a bit different today than they were at that date. We've both come a long way and probably are doing some different things, and some different people are stepping up. From our standpoint, we've grown and developed, and I'm certain they have. So there is a familiarity with each other, which helps with the preparation for each team. Nonetheless, we've got to go and play a very good team on their home field where they are very good.
How much did the players want a rematch with the Cavaliers?
I would tell you that our guys haven't wished for anybody. Our guys wanted to have a chance to play in the NCAA playoffs and to be a part of the championships and have a chance to compete for another seven days together. Obviously there was no secret that we were in. Who we were going to play was the secret, and quite frankly, it didn't matter who we were going to play. We're excited, and we're going to go to work, and we'll prepare for our opponent with great respect.