Virginia coach Tony Bennett understands that senior night can be an emotional evening for players.
"It's touching; it really is," Bennett, whose Cavaliers host No. 22 Florida State in their home finale on Thursday, said Monday. "But then you know, okay, in about five minutes from now, you've got to put that aside and you've got to compete."
Thursday's game will mark the final home games for seniors Mike Scott, Sammy Zeglinski, and the injured Assane Sene.
But the Cavaliers -- who moved up a spot to No. 24 in the latest Associated Press poll on Monday despite a loss at home to No. 6 North Carolina on Saturday -- are also one of four teams still in contention for the final first round bye in next week's ACC Tournament.
So Bennett knows his players can't get too caught up in the emotion that is sure to come on Thursday.
"It can't linger for too long," he said. "We've got to get to doing what we do. I know they will, and I think our guys know every game is so important from here on out that I think they'll be okay in that regard."
"I don't think it'll be too hard, just because the game, it means so much for us and our season," agreed Zeglinski. "So I think if anything, it'll just fuel us, and give us something a little bit extra to play for. The crowd's going to be great, so it shouldn't be too hard."
With wins in their final two games, the Cavaliers would clinch the conference's final first round bye. Virginia is currently tied with Miami for fourth in the conference standings at 8-6, but UVa holds the tie-breaker because of its 52-51 win over the Hurricanes on January 7.
NC State (who the Cavaliers beat 61-60 on January 28) and Clemson (who split two meetings with UVa this season) are both a game back, at 7-7 in the conference.
Virginia lost 58-55 at Florida State on February 4. The Cavaliers can finish the season 14-2 at John Paul Jones Arena with a win on Thursday.
"It definitely will be a special moment for me, having all my family there, and my relatives. So I know the atmosphere will be great," Zeglinski said. "I'm really just focused on getting the win, and I know Mike and Assane are really focused on the same thing."
"I'll probably have a little emotion. More of, not just sadness; more just wanting to get out here and get a win," said Scott. "It went past so fast. A lot of people looking out are thinking five years, I've been here forever. But to me, it just went past so fast. So I'm going to enjoy it."
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