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Bennett’s words of wisdom guide Cavaliers on historic journey

MINNEAPOLIS (WFXR/AP) — In his tenth season in Charlottesville, Tony Bennett has guided his Wahoos to the pinnacle of college basketball.

19 years after watching his dad, Dick Bennett, make the Final Four with Wisconsin, one of Dick’s quotes has become a compass in Tony’s life.  You can click on the video above to hear more about thos words of wisdom.

In a Final Four where stingy defenses rule, it’s fitting Dick Bennett has such a strong connection.

“His influence on the game, maybe a lot of people don’t know about it, but in the coaching circles has been huge,” Tony Bennett said Monday. “My dad, he’s an open book, as they say. He’s so honest. He just wants to help the game because the game’s been so good to him.”

Dick Bennett’s coaching career spanned five decades, from his days as a freshman coach at West Bend High School in Wisconsin to leading the Wisconsin Badgers to the 2000 Final Four.

Bennett’s calling card was his “pack line” defense, which his son has utilized and enhanced to turn Virginia into one of college basketball’s stingiest teams.

Relying on his dad’s defense and an improved offense, Virginia bounced back from last year’s historic loss to No. 16 seed UMBC to reach the program’s first Final Four since 1984 this year.

Now that Bennett has finally made it to the Final Four as a head coach — he was a student manager for the 2000 Wisconsin team — he will again turn to his dad for advice, along with former Badgers coach Bo Ryan.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)