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What is one to make of Virginia's 21-point men's basketball loss at Florida State on Monday?
The first thing that came to mind was a resemblance to a Dec. 26 meeting with then-No. 1 Gonzaga, which blasted the Cavaliers 98-75 in Fort Worth, Texas.
As worriesome as that might have been at the time, the Cavaliers won their next seven games and 11 of the next 12.
Virginia customarily ranks among the men's basketball leaders in scoring defense and, two nights before the FSU game, had shut down North Carolina in a 60-48 romp at John Paul Jones Arena.
Freshman Walker Kessler had a team-high nine points for Carolina, which failed to have a single player score in double figures in a game for the first time since 1966, a 54-year span.
Who would have predicted, two nights later, that Virginia would fall 81-60 at Florida State?
Actually, Florida State was a 2 1/2-point favorite and now has won 11 of its last 12 games with the Cavaliers in Tallahassee, Fla.
Whenever the teams play, the head coaches -- UVa's Tony Bennett and Florida State's Leonard Hamilton -- invariably go out of their way to praise each other.
"We have the utmost respect for Virginia and their outstanding coach; he's one of the best in the country," Hamilton said. "Look what they've done in the ACC over the past five years; they've won more games than anybody.
"They have set the standard that now everyone in the ACC is being judged at. Us realizing we've stubbed our toe a couple times [against UVa] reminded us that we had to be at our very best. Our challenge now is seeing how close we can come to maintaining this."
Bennett was less than enthralled with his team's play as an 8 PM Saturday game with Duke looms. The Blue Devils have lost six of their last nine games and are without their No. 3 scorer, freshman Jalen Johnson, who has announced that he will apply for the NBA Draft and will not play again this season.
Virginia has won in Durham as recently as 2018, when Ty Jerome hit a 3-pointer with 39 seconds left and Kyle Guy converted two free throws with five seconds remaining as UVa held on 65-63.
"We've been playing some good basketball for sure," Bennett said Monday. "I think that was our third or fourth game in a short period of time. So, we take a day off, recharge and then you come back guns a blazin.'
"We're getting down to the end. You don't want to leave anything on the table."
NOTE: Bennett quotes are from his post-game news conference Monday.