Heading toward the end of February, Tony Bennett’s Virginia Cavaliers have a grip on the top spot in the ACC. The fifth-year coach of the Wahoos has managed to squeeze 11 consecutive wins out of his team, and with only three games left on the schedule, the group controls its own destiny within the conference.
Oh, and Bennett has put the Cavs in such a position without a single superstar on the roster.
As of this week, no UVa player has won ACC Player of the Week honors. No Cavalier has even come away with Rookie of the Week honors. If the season were to end right now, Virginia would not be represented by any All-ACC first-teamers.
Contributors such as Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris have played key roles in the team’s success, averaging 12.3 and 11.5 points, respectively. Freshman London Perrantes has also chipped in as a solid point guard, and the team as a whole has played tremendous defense the entire year.
None of Bennett’s players, however, have the flash and ability to take over games like a Jabari Parker or C.J. Fair. There’s not anyone on this Cavaliers squad who’s blowing up the stat sheet offensively.
Bennett has this squad playing in sync, though, and three more wins will be enough to bring an outright ACC regular-season crown to Charlottesville for the first time since the 1980-81 season.
In a league historically dominated by the blues from Tobacco Road, and this year led most of the year by the Orange of Syracuse, Bennett’s name sits atop the list of best coaching jobs in the ACC this year. And until someone knocks Virginia out of that No. 1 spot, that should be reflected in the media’s ballots at the end of the season.