Cavalier Corner

December 2014

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BY WHITELAW REID F OR MANY VIRGINIA FANS, LAST SEASON STILL seems like that dream that you just don't want to wake up from. UVa went 30‑7, including a 16‑2 mark in the ACC, en route to winning both the ACC regular‑season and tournament titles. The tournament championship was Virginia's first since 1976. HUNGRY FOR MORE Cavaliers Look To Build Off Last Season's Strong Showing In the NCAA Tournament, No. 1‑seeded Vir‑ ginia picked apart Coastal Carolina, and then completely dismantled a Memphis team that was supposed to be faster and more athletic. UVa came within a Justin Anderson heave of beating Michigan State in the Sweet 16 at Madison Square Garden and making it to the Elite Eight. "Obviously, there's a lot of enthusiasm for the start of the year," Virginia head coach Tony Ben‑ nett said during the team's media day in October. "The biggest message I've given our team, and I think it's really important, is that no one can take away what happened last year. It was obviously a fun year, a terrific year. But I think it would be a big mistake to try to compare us to last year's team. "I think the key really is — and I told them this — that to realize as a group we are a different team. We're going to certainly have to find our identity, and we will as the season progresses." The first order of business for Virginia's 2014‑15 outfit, which was ranked No. 8 in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll, is figuring out how to pick up the slack for departed stars Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell. Harris averaged 12.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, while Mitchell averaged 6.8 points and a team‑leading 7.0 rebounds per contest during the 2013‑14 campaign. But the biggest void the duo has left may very well pertain to leadership and team chemistry. The good news for Virginia fans is that the

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