Home Scott German: How about that piece of Tony Bennett humble pie now?

Scott German: How about that piece of Tony Bennett humble pie now?

Scott German
preparing to bake a pie
(© Rawpixel.com – stock.adobe.com)

After a dismal 76-60 loss at NC State in early January that saw Virginia fall to 2-2 in ACC play, I did the unthinkable, writing about the possibility of UVA coach Tony Bennett being near the finish line at his tenure in Charlottesville.

For a few days at least, I was looking good.

The next time out, the Cavaliers were crushed in Winston-Salem, losing to Wake Forest 66-47.

The loss dropped UVA to 2-3 in the conference with Virginia Tech on the horizon.

UVA responded with a 65-57 win over the Hokies in JPJ.

The win jumpstarted what would become an eight-game winning streak, moving the Cavaliers to 10-3 in the ACC. Virginia was a mere one game back of league-leading North Carolina.

With an ESPN Big Monday win over Miami, 60-38, the seventh of what would be that eight-game winning streak, I even served up some humble pie for myself.

Bennett and the Cavaliers seemed more than capable of winning the ACC regular season, looking nothing like the burnt-out coach and offensively challenged team I saw score a measly 47 points in that awful loss to Wake.

After the Miami win in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers traveled to Florida State and came away with a hard-earned 80-76 win over the Seminoles.

I could almost taste that slice of humble pie Virginia and Bennett were waiting to serve.

And I would have gladly accepted that slice of pie, even asking for a glass of milk to wash it down.

It’s not that simple, though.

In the five games since crushing Miami, Virginia has put up some of the worst offensive performances in years, and very un-Virginia-like, laid some defensive eggs as well.

So, it may be time to bring up that “is the end near for Tony Bennett?” topic once again.

The team responded well back in January; it might work again.

Another long winning streak would be nice.

Only this time, the Cavaliers are running out of schedule to try to fix what’s wrong.

And there’s a lot wrong.

Bennett and staff at times appear baffled on the sideline. It’s as though they are looking down the bench for a Kyle Guy or Malcolm Brogdon.

Heck, even a Jack Salt would go a long way to help cure what ails this team.

But those guys are gone.

What Bennett sees is a hodgepodge of first-year players, redshirts and transfers.

Guys that barely know one another.

That unfamiliarity within the roster must be detrimental in many ways.

Offensively, this team appears completely lost.

Against Carolina, an eight-minute scoring drought saw UVA miss 22 of 23 shots.

Think about that for a second: 22 of 23.

And they were diverse clunkers – layups, mid-range jumpers, threes; you name it, Virginia missed it.

For the last three games, there have been no answers for UVA’s offensive ineptitude.


There simply may not be any answers.

Bennett even mentioned that in Saturday’s postgame remarks, saying “teams were figuring out ways to make it tough for us.”


Wonder why opponents do that?

The other side of Saturday’s dismal offensive showing was that Virginia was able to stay connected to the Tar Heels due to their defensive efforts.

The “figuring out” part may have been this: on every possession, the Tar Heels matched the Cavaliers defensive intensity.

UNC enjoyed getting down in the mud with UVA, because they had just enough offensively to survive a mud bath.

North Carolina had been held under 70 points only twice this season, but the 54 points they scored Saturday worked out well.

Have opposing coaches used the long regular-season grind to “figure out” things against Virginia?

After Saturday, and the last few weeks’ results, they may have.

Now it’s Bennett’s turn to do some figuring.

Hopefully, this column will work again.

Double-reverse karma, or something.

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.