"I felt like I wanted it more than a few other guys on the team," Atkins told reporters after game. "I felt like I tried to rally everyone together and bring everyone together in the second half, and I felt like we played a lot better in the second half than the first half."
The Spartans started the game on a 15-4 run and never relinquished the lead.
Atkins had 10 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in the game. He and Anthony Gill were the only two players to score in double figures.
The Cavaliers won the ACC regular season championship but lost three of their last five games.
Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 in last year's tournament but was eliminated by the Spartans.
- Dan Gartland