After securing the program’s first national championship, the Virginia men’s basketball team also has the opportunity to earn its first-ever Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Award.
The Cavaliers were announced as a finalist for the “Best Team of the Year” ESPY by ESPN Tuesday, alongside six other teams including two other NCAA champions.
Virginia commanded an impressive overall record of 35-3 in the 2018-19 season which culminated in the team’s first national championship thanks to an overtime win over Texas Tech in the title game.
In 2018, the Cavaliers shocked the nation with an early departure from the tournament, losing to No. 16 seed University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the first round — UMBC’s historic upset was nominated for “Best Moment” in the 2018 ESPYs.
However, led by many of the same players that endured the heartbreaking loss, including guards Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter, Virginia rebounded with an unforgettable national title run, erasing its postseason woes in the process.
To win the award, the Cavaliers will have to beat out teams like the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots, the Clemson football team, the Toronto Raptors, the Baylor women’s basketball team and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, which will play in the World Cup championship Sunday.
As ESPY winners are determined through fan balloting, Virginia fans can vote for the team for “Best Team” online.
The 2019 ESPY Awards will be held at Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, Calif., Wednesday July 10. The show will air live on ABC at 8 p.m.