LEESBURG, Va. -- The last time the University of Virginia Cavaliers danced in the Sweet Sixteen was back in 1995. So Friday night's game against Michigan State is big.
"It's unbelievable," says University of Virginia alumni Zee Rahim. He graduated in 1997 and has followed his team closely through the good and the bad.
"Everybody seems to be leaving the pain of the past behind," he says about this year.
Rahim says he couldn't be prouder of what the team has done this year.
"The team has just exceeded expectations and every way possible, and we're all having a blast following the team this season."
He is headed to New York City to see the Cavs take on Michigan State at Madison Square Garden. Rahim went to the ACC tournament and watched U.Va. play to victory in Raleigh against Coastal Carolina.
He says that to play it safe, "we're going to be wearing the exact same clothes."
He originally planned to head to the Big Apple with a group of 20, but March Madness was too much for some of his friends' pocketbooks.
"Unfortunately, the ticket prices went out of control this week," Rahim said.
He gives much of the credit to coach Tony Bennett for the team's success.
"We've got a coach who is a great character guy."
How confident is Rahim that the Cavs will go all the way?
"In my mind, we lose when we lose, but I don't think that loss is coming until next year sometime."
He backs that up with his brackets.
"I have them winning the title in two of them. I might be dreaming about that, but you can dream, right?"
After a rough start to the season, Rahim was happy to see things come back together earlier this year.
"January 1 came and we started kicking butt all year. I think we only lost one game in the last 70-odd days," he says.
If Rahim had a chance to motivate the team with a pregame speech, he knows what he'd say: "Boys, just have fun; stay loose. You guys play the best when you're smiling on the court and having a good time. And no matter what happens we love you and we're proud of you. Go kick some butt! Wahoo-Wah! "
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