The Virginia Cavaliers are in the midst of a fourth straight season as one of college basketball’s top teams. It feels strange now, but for a long stretch, the Hoos were not this sort of program. From 2001-02 through 2012-13, Virginia never appeared in the final AP Poll and only made the NCAA tournament twice.
The change, of course, was the arrival of head coach Tony Bennett.
Following a two-year stint at Washington State, Bennett came to Charlottesville in 2009. His initial teams weren’t great, but they laid the groundwork for his system. It was the same one that guided Wazzu to its only two tourney bids in the last 23 years: Stingy pack-line defense, efficient scoring, and mistake-free basketball.
The keys to the system have been interchangeable parts and a four-year plan.
From Joe Harris to Justin Anderson, Malcolm Brogdon and now London Perrantes, the Hoos have utilized smart shooters and strong defenders to grind teams down and dictate their style of play. No matter the pieces in play, it’s been about consistency — and of course, efficiency.
A full transcript, put together initially by Spartan Nation’s Hondo Carpenter:
Before I go into anything, I’ve gotta tell you that I do a lot of work to try to somewhat control the Izzone. And if there’s things not being said, I email them, I talk to them. I catch hell both ways if too much is being said, if not enough’s being said. But I’ve gotta be honest with you. I was kind of getting upset at the chants of Dakich, [“We hate Dakich,” reportedly] until I got in the locker room and I asked, ‘What was that all about?’ And somebody read me his tweets. The social media.