They are calling themselves “Road Warriors.” Perhaps this season, Cinderella wears blue.
But this run has hardly had anything to do with luck.
The Cavaliers are back in the Sweet 16 for the third straight season, marking the most successful period in program history. Only this time, the Cavaliers are doing all of the work in enemy territory.
After two straight years of entering the tournament with hosting rights, the Cavs hit the road immediately.
This team has embraced the role of being the visitors before, but never in this way.
There may not be a more hostile environment than the one that the Cavs played in at Hampden-Sydney in the first round.
A raucous crowd of students tried to disrupt the Cavs. But this battle-tested bunch held strong and despite clinging to a lead late, held off the charge to get to the second round.
Beating the 16th-ranked team in the nation was a huge momentum booster for this team. It couldn’t have come at a better time.
This team is currently on a hot streak like no other. The Cavs are rolling toward greatness again with every win.
Look no further than Saturday’s victory of Ohio Wesleyan.
Again, a battle-tested team faced tough odds. Again, the Cavs had to fight for every point. But in the end, they made the key plays when they had to.
It’s not just about shooting either. It’s Jeremy Knowles coming up with a huge steal with 25 seconds to play. It’s Aaron Walton-Moss taking control of the team and running the show. It’s A.J. Williams firing up a short shot on purpose knowing DeLeon Floyd was waiting for it.
The Cavs possess the smarts and the mindset to enter any arena. They have just one test left before the stage shifts to a neutral site, a place the Cavs have thought about since last season’s heartbreaking loss in the national championship game.
Salem, Va. has always been the destination of choice. One day after their title dreams were dashed a year ago, the Cavs instantly set a goal to return to the Final Four. They are two wins away.
But one more win will put them at the site of it all – the place where the Cavs made a campus unite for a cause.
But the opponent is tough. The College of Wooster in Ohio is ranked 20th in the nation.
The Cavs have already defeated both the No. 16 and No. 21 teams in the nation, both in their home gyms. This would just cement the road warrior status that the Cavs have embraced – defeating Wooster on their home court.
Revenge in on the line. Wooster ended the Cavs championship bid two seasons ago in the Sweet 16.
This is a team. Every player has a role, every member of this team works together. And together, they are working for a common goal, the goal that eluded them a year ago.
For the second straight season, the Cavs have the campus on a wild ride. For now, it is relaxing – the calm before the storm. But on Saturday, hang on tight, as we all see what happens next.