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Virginia Fans Are Now Officially Nuts. And Not In A Good Way.

Duke v Virginia
We’d be irritated too.
Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images

Virginia had a tougher-than-expected season, finishing 21-14 and in sixth place in the ACC. This after finishing 30-7, 30-4, 29-8, 23-11, 31-3, 35-3 before Covid started up.

In the last three seasons UVA has been 23-7, 18-7 and 21-14.

We toss out 23-7 for everyone because of Covid and last year, Virginia got hit with it and couldn’t recuperate in time to win in the NCAA tournament.

And this season, the Cavs missed the NCAA and settled for the NIT, where they lost to St. Bonaventure, 52-51.

And to judge from Twitter, some Virginia fans are disgruntled.

Look, we understand that to an extent. But we can sum reality up in a few short words:

Jeff Jones. Pete Gillen. And Bennett’s awful, joyless predecessor, Dave Leitao.

All Bennett has done at Virginia is to rack up four of Virginia’s 30-win seasons, win five regular season ACC titles, two ACC Tournaments, one national championship and .730 of his games at Virginia overall.

We’re on record as saying we don’t much like how Virginia plays, but you will never hear us say a word about Bennett because we have immense respect for him. Why wouldn’t we?

He’s done staggering things at Virginia, historic accomplishments. And he's done them with humility, grace and character. We have never heard one person say a negative word about Bennett - ever. Not one!

He’s built an amazing program and as far as we can tell, has never cut corners or done anything untoward or even distasteful.

Consider what Xavier just did for a comparison: they re-hired an incredibly sleazy coach in Sean Miller who coached there before he went to Arizona.

Even if you buy the idea that at Arizona, Miller knew nothing about then-assistant Book Richardson’s taking bribes to push players towards an agent in the Adidas scandal, which saw him do time in prison, does anyone really think that another of Miller’s Arizona assistants, Mark Phelps, paid $40,000 out of his own pocket to falsify student transcripts? Because that’s what was alleged. Can you really just overlook the FBI wiretaps that found Miller discussing paying $100,000 to DeAndre Ayton to sign with Arizona?

Xavier is a Catholic University, which means that it is supposed to pursue Christian ideals. It used to really stand for something magnificent, a true student-athlete experience based on character and accomplishment.

That’s out the window now as far as we’re concerned.

But it’s not at Virginia.

Tony Bennett has shown as much character as any coach we’re aware of. If he coached our school, we’d be proud as hell. We might want him to score a little more, but we’d still be proud.

He’s a superb coach and a fine man. We know the parents of Virginia’s players go to sleep at night knowing that he’ll do right by them.

And Virginia fans are unhappy?

They are nuts.

After the loss, Bennett talked about how adversity can help you and he also said this: “I mean, the positive, as I said, they improved, some guys found themselves, some guys learned some valuable things. It’s a positive. And some of the hard things that they’ve got to look in the mirror and say, Hey, I’ve got to go to work in the weight room, I’ve got to improve my shot, I’ve got to, you know, take those, that’s so important. And again, to be in these pressure cooker situations, and the hard-fought ones, but I just loved how resilient they were. I said it on my coaches radio show, they always, they rejoiced when one guy did well, they’re always so happy for each other, they’re character young men. And I’ll never forget, and I say all the time, and you know, you have to have young men you can you can lose with, and staff, and they were that.”

We’re not Virginia fans and that’s not going to change and it’s not like we want Bennett to be the next Duke coach. We enjoy poking fun at him, like pointing out how much he looks like Smithers from the Simpsons.

But he’s always likely to be our second-favorite ACC coach and that will be true if he wins 30 games or if he wins 10.

Much like David Cutcliffe, he’s about more than just his sport. We hope he stays there for the rest of his career. UVA fans might want to consider where UVA was before he made that program what it is now.