The Virginia Cavaliers (55-11) take on the California Golden Bears (38-22) Thursday night at 7pm ET on ESPN2 and streamed online at ESPN3.com. They are fighting for the right to play South Carolina on Friday night and grab that last remaining spot in the final four in this years tournament.
The winner of the game on Thursday night will have the difficult task of beating the defending national champion South Carolina Gamecocks, who will be coming off two days rest, twice in order to advance to the championship series. The championship series will include the winner's of the two brackets playing a best-of-three series to determine the 2011 national champion.
Bracket #1 is already set with Florida and Vanderbilt, as one of those two teams will be playing for a national championship starting on Monday. Vanderbilt will have to beat Florida twice to advance, starting with their first game on Friday at 2pm ET.
Bracket #2 is going to be a lot more clear after Thursday's game. The match-up really is a David vs Goliath type of feel going into it. Virginia came in as the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and California came in as the underdog from day one. The winner will have to beat South Carolina twice in order to advance to the championship series.
Virginia already beat Cal in game one of this tournament by a score of 4-1. Danny Hultzen, the No. 2 pick in this past MLB draft to the Seattle Mariners was fantastic in the first game to give the Cavaliers the victory. He threw 6.1 scoreless innings while giving up just three hits.
Everyone expects to see a Virginia-South Carolina match-up on Friday so it will be California that has the opportunity to play spoiler and put an exclamation point on an already-successful season.