In the early 1980s Ryan Odom did whatever he could to help out the University of Virginia basketball program — rebound, clean floors, all the typical duties of a ball boy. The Cavaliers ascended to the top of the national rankings.
On Friday, it was Odom’s University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers who wiped the floor with the top-ranked Cavaliers, becoming the first-ever No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed.
— Wayne Drehs (@espnWD) March 17, 2018
The UMBC head man was raised on Virginia basketball, taking in the Cavaliers with head coach Terry Holland, legendary big man Ralph Sampson and a plethora of other notable names. Odom’s father, Dave, worked under Holland from 1982-89. During that time, the Cavaliers reached No. 1 in the nation, a feat they hadn’t accomplished again since this season.
“Obviously Virginia is a special place,” Odom said after his history-making win. “I mean, it’s a special place. It was a special time for the Odom family when we were there. You know, so many high-level people, so many high-character people, so many successful people, and we were just fortunate to be a part of it.”
But Odom isn’t the only person involved in UMBC’s upset who has connections to Charlottesville. Jairus Lyles, who scored 28 points on 9-of-11 shooting (including three of four from three), has two parents who attended Virginia.
Lyles’ father, Lester, played safety for Virginia’s football team in the 1980s and starred on the Peach Bowl-winning 1984 team. His mother, Carol Motley, also attended the university.
“I think they wanted us to get the win most importantly, but it probably will be a topic of discussion for a little while,” Lyles joked after the game.
That’s a massive understatement, though. This will be the topic of discussion for a lifetime.
More March Madness coverage from Yahoo Sports:
• UMBC shocks Virginia, first 16-seed ever to beat a No. 1
• What is UMBC? Everything you need to know about the university
• UMBC’s upset eliminated last perfect bracket in Yahoo Sports Tourney Pick’em
• Where UMBC’s upset of Virginia ranks among all-time greatest upsets
• Meet UMBC’s other hero, the man behind its famous Twitter account