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'Hoos Show 'Heart' & 'Fight' in Climbing to #1

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The University of Virginia basketball team is just the fourth team ever to rise to No. 1 in the Associated Press poll after starting the season unranked.

Virginia has a record of 23-2 and is ranked No. 1 for the first time since December of 1982 during Ralph Sampson's senior season.

The 'Hoos fought back from their two biggest deficits of the season over the past week.

The Cavaliers rallied to beat Florida State Wednesday after trailing by 11 and came back to take the lead over Virginia Tech Saturday after trailing by 12.   

Coach Tony Bennett was asked Monday what he's learned about his team.

"They play hard, their heart and their fight is good and their character is good," says Bennett.  "They handled success well and they handle failure well and I think that's really good."

Bennett talked the media Monday morning before everyone found out Virginia was ranked No.1 this week for the first time in 35 years.

He said his team needs to have more of an emphasis on getting better shots.    Virginia attempted a season-high 38 three-pointers in its loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday.

"I think there's been some sluggishness at times," says Bennett.  "We haven't been quite as right defensively to start games or a little cold, but absolutely playing from behind and finding ways to dig out of holes and get back into it is huge."

Bennett says he caught just a glimpse of the ESPN College GameDay festivities Saturday morning at John Paul Jones Arena.

"It was unbelievable when you walk in and see the crowd," says Bennett.  "This place, the ESPN people have told me this is one of thee best in terms of how many people they get, the atmosphere, then to have a guy make a (half court) shot every year they've been here, that just adds to the excitement of the deal, you can feel it.   My daughter made a poster and went to it and she said it was cool."

Virginia is traveling to Miami today.   The 'Hoos play Miami in Coral Gables Tuesday night at 9pm.   Virginia is in first place in the ACC with a record of 12-1.  Miami is in sixth place with a record of 7-5.