How does Virginia embrace the target on its back?

An underrated factor in the University of Virginia’s quest for a three-peat of ACC championships on the basketball court this winter will be the way in which the Cavaliers handle the high expectations that come with sustained success.

After dominating the league the past two seasons with a combined 32-4 ACC regular season mark, the Cavaliers won’t be sneaking up on anyone anymore.

Knowing they’ve got a gigantic target on their collective backs might make some teams tight and somber. But not this UVa squad. Quite to the contrary, this is a group of fun-loving kids who crack jokes on one another, and are constantly laughing off the court.

Not only the Cavalier players, but the coaches as well, seem to be always having fun and enjoying the moment. Folks who have been around the Virginia program in recent years talk about how loose this group is, and that’s a direct reflection of their talented young coach Tony Bennett, a hard-nosed tactician who knows how to take off the edge as well.[hr]