"Not a good night for us at all at Virginia last night. Tony [Bennett's] club really did some things that took away what we wanted to do, and we didn't do a good job on either end of the court, but give them credit for what they're-- it was a rude awakening for us to have that kind of loss where every play down the stretch they made and we didn't make. That's hard to gain confidence when you're doing that. But again, congratulate Virginia, Tony and his club and his staff, and we've got to play a heck of a lot better. We only have 17 more of these in a row now."
You're playing obviously a lot of youngsters that are getting a lot of minutes. As a group, how are they coming along, and individually what have you seen that strikes you about them?
"Well, it's a hard question. You're asking me just after we lost and didn't perform at all the last eight minutes of the game last night, so every coach's thoughts is going to be so much more negative at this point. I think we're getting better. I think some individuals are not progressing as fast as I had hoped, and that would probably be everybody on my team as well as every other team in the league probably.
"But we're getting better, better than we were last month, better than we were in November, but last night was a tough pill to swallow here at 11:00 on Monday morning. We got back at 1:00 in the morning kind of thing.
"But each individual has got to step up. The guys who have played more, Reggie [Bullock] and James Michael [McAdoo], we need those guys to have good games on the same game. Reggie last night was really good. We didn't do a good enough job of getting him enough shots, bouncing back from the concussion the week before and the whole bit, I thought he was really good offensively and yet our whole team was making mistakes defensively, and that's something that we spend more time on than anything.
"We've got a long way to go, but I do believe my team is going to get better and better as we go along."
The young players in particular, how are they adapting, and now that they've got an ACC game under their belt, do they realize what they're up against?
"Well, we don't have any idea how they've adapted yet because that was the first one last night, but there was one time out on the court last night I had four freshmen, I think, on the floor. We are young, but we've played 13, 14 games, whatever it is now, and we should be gaining experience each day and not use that as an excuse."
I know it's tough to lose the ACC opener, but you did that two years ago and came back and won the regular season, and even last year, although it wasn't the opener, it was an early game, you had a horrific performance at Florida State. Can you talk about the idea of the long season and people panicking and going nuts over one loss, and the last two years you've proved it's something that happens?
"Yeah, and I think you're right, it does happen. It's a pretty doggone good league. I can even go back a little deeper, you go back to 2009, we were 0-2 in the league if I'm not mistaken. We were either-- I'm pretty sure we were 0-2, and we won a national championship, so it is a long year, it is a marathon that you're facing. You can't panic, and we don't intend to panic but we do intend to work harder and try to be more alert mentally and physically in every game because last night we just made some errors that -- Virginia had a greater sense of urgency last night than we did, and that is disturbing as a coach. But it is a long season, and if you start panicking, then you really have problems."
I asked Coach Bennett about this: The idea that they play one of the most patient tempos in the country and you guys want to play a faster tempo. How hard is it to speed up a team like Virginia and get them to play a tempo that you like?
"Well, it is difficult, and I'm not trying to say that it was a one-man game, but Jontel [Evans] was really impressive in the second half. You know, you have a guy who's only played four of their games, I think, and sat out a lot, and in the second half if the statistics were correct he had six assists and zero turnovers in the second half. It's hard to speed him up because he is so quick himself and good with the basketball.
"But it is hard to speed guys up who practice it all the time, and again, we're not as good in our traps as some of the more veteran teams are. So far it's harder for this team to speed people up."