MADISON, Wis. — Virginia Coach Tony Bennett admitted he was a bit emotional when he walked into the Kohl Center on Wednesday and glanced up at the banners hanging in the rafters. It reminded Bennett, a Wisconsin native, of the years he spent as an assistant here under his father, Dick, and when first got the itch to become a head coach.
By the time he left the arena, though, Bennett might have authored his best Madison memory yet.
The Cavaliers stunned Wisconsin, 60-54, in front of 16,690 red-and-white clad fans, dealing the Badgers their first home loss in a November nonconference game since 1997. In fact, it was just the seventh time Wisconsin (4-3) has suffered a home nonconference loss during Coach Bo Ryan’s 12 years leading the program.
Perhaps more satisfying is that the young Cavaliers (5-2), who had dropped two games to Colonial Athletic Association competition this year, showed off the sort of moxie that have defined Bennett’s teams in recent years. They valued possessions, won the rebounding battle and played tenacious defense down the stretch.