The Virginia men's basketball team is off to its best start to conference play since the 1982-1983 season, but Tony Bennett doesn't want his players to let success go to their heads.
"I quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson to them, that a hero is not fed on sweets," he said. "They've been on a pedestal, they have, they've seen the other side of it. They got knocked down after how good everyone thought they were going to be to start the year, all the projections."
The Cavaliers are 6-1 through their first seven ACC games of the season, and they have won each game by 12 points or more. In response to their success, Bennett and his staff have been emphasizing the importance of staying humble and hungry for more wins.
"He just talks about, 'don't be put on a pedestal.' We were at the beginning of the season," says sophomore forward Anthony Gill. "We got knocked off that really hard playing against Tennessee, and we're just trying to stay focused to be able to win games day by day."
UVa is 2-1 in ACC road games this season. This week, they will be back on the road, facing two of the newest members of the conference. The 'Hoos play at Notre Dame on Tuesday at 9 p.m. and then visit Pitt on Sunday Feb. 2, for a 12:30 p.m. tipoff. Heading into those road tests, the Cavalier players say they're buying into Coach Bennett's message.
"We're winning all these games and everybody tells us we're great but those are all sweets, and we can't sustain off of looking back at past victories," adds senior forward Akil Mitchell. "We have to move forward. He used to say to us first year 'it's in the dirt.' So everything we go do every game has to be a grind."