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Have Virginia's players sold out...

...or whatever you would consider the opposite of "buying in"? When Virginia was 5-2 in the conference and tied for first place in the ACC last month, the Cavaliers' players were praised for "buying in" to Coach Tony Bennett and his system.

During the last six games of a seven-game losing streak, though, Virginia has looked like a confused team without direction on offense and without discipline on defense. The Cavaliers lost each of those games by double digits, and have seldom appeared competitive.

The question was posed to Bennett whether the players have still bought into what he's asking of them, and Bennett acknowledged it was a fair question to ask.

"I think when you go through a stretch like we are, a lot of things gets challenged," Bennett said. "Just to keep your heart, to keep your focus, to not just hang your head and get too discouraged. Those are things that are challenged. And any of those things that are off a little bit affect everything. The guys, in practice, they give you good effort, and I don't have any problems.

"I don't know what goes on exactly in their mind, and I know it's challenging when guys aren't playing. I see in their eyes -- and what team doesn't? -- but I see they want to do it right and they don't want it to happen the way it's happened before. I can see the look in their eyes. They try to stay with it on the bench even when they're not playing. Those are the things that I say, 'Okay, these guys still want it. They came back. They, for the most part, still want it. I know they're discouraged, but they fought hard.' I try to judge it that way. My hope is that they still are, but you can't take a test on it and know for sure. It appears they are, but we're off right now."

By Zach Berman  |  March 3, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
 
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