Tuesday night, Kevin Keatts’ team embarks on possibly the toughest game this season. The Virginia Cavaliers are sitting at 18-1 (6-1) on the season. That record is currently the best in the ACC. Virginia has been able to establish themselves as one of the premier college basketball teams.
Tony Bennett has been at UVA for a decade now but it hasn’t always been a sunshine and roses. During Bennett’s first four years, UVA went 77-53 posting a 59% winning percentage. A lot of schools, especially in a powerhouse conference like the ACC, would have fired Bennett with those numbers. But they didn’t and what they got has been nothing short of amazing.
During the last six seasons, Bennett has led UVA to a 143-34 record and a 80.8% winning percentage. 83% if you count this year’s record so far. During that time, the Cavaliers have won 3 ACC regular season titles. Tony Bennett’s success is built on discipline, defense and accountability. Those attributes are often associated with Kevin Keatts.
Now I’m not saying we need to give Keatts 4 years before we expect success. Because frankly, Keatts doesn’t need 4 years. Keatts is a winner. But UVA spent a decade to develop into of the most intimidating basketball programs in the nation and that’s a good lesson.
Coaches, staff, players and fans have to be willing to all contribute over time to build a great program. WPN knows Raleigh is the best place in the nation to have a powerhouse basketball program. History, passion and loyalty is oozing here.
This team has the opportunity Tuesday night to prove to the country that NC State basketball is finally back. I’m not saying back as in “CJ Leslie, Ryan Harrow and Lorenzo Brown” back. Or a “Sidney Lowe home win against Duke to keep his job” back. No, what I’m talking about is the opportunity to take down the most consistent teams in college basketball and walk off the court like we do it all the time.