Stephen A Smith calls for Virginia coach Tony Bennett's dismissal following First Four loss to Colorado State


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The Virginia Cavaliers have endured their fair share of offensive struggles this season, and their issues resurfaced this week.

However, the Cavaliers offensive lull during Tuesday’s First Four matchup with Colorado State was particularly painful. At one point, nearly 14 minutes of game time transpired without Virginia scoring a single point from the field.

Longtime Virginia coach Tony Bennett said his team went into the game with genuine excitement. Colorado State cruised past a lethargic Cavaliers team.

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Tony Bennett coaches

Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett reacts to a play during a game against the Duke Blue Devils at John Paul Jones Arena on Feb. 23, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Virginia entered the play-in game for the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament under some scrutiny, as many argued the Cavaliers spot could have been awarded to another Big East team or maybe Indiana State.

The Cavaliers only managed to score 14 points in the first half en route to the 67-42 defeat. From Stephen A. Smith’s point of view, the blowout loss should be the final time Bennett coaches at Virginia.

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On Wednesday’s edition of ESPN’s “First Take,” Smith called for Bennett’s dismissal. However, Smith’s reasoning seemed to be focused on Bennett’s apparent lack of appeal instead of Tuesday’s disappointing loss.

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“It’s not funny. I take no joy in saying this, but if it were me, I’d fire him. Strictly because of being boring. Literally. I’m not questioning his ability as a coach at all. He’s a national champion for crying out loud. I’m not questioning his ability to coach, but you cannot be that boring, that unappealing for so long and get away with it,” Smith said.

Tony Bennett

Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett reacts to a call in the second half during a game against the Miami Hurricanes at John Paul Jones Arena on Feb. 5, 2022 in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)

Bennett has coached the Cavaliers to 364 wins over his 15 seasons on the Virginia baseline. He has led Virginia to two ACC tournament championships, along with six regular season conference titles.

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However, Virginia has largely fallen short of expectations in recent years. Last season’s first round NCAA tournament loss to Furman ended the Cavaliers’ hopes of contending for a national title. The 2019 national championship run also marked the last time Virginia advanced past the tournament’s round of 64.

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