Alex Conway & John Gwaltney Jr TarHeelIllustrated.com Staff Writer
Sunday, January 6, 2013
John Paul Jones Arena (14,593)
Radio: Tar Heel Sports Network
(Sirius 138, XM 190)
Series: UNC leads 127-49
Virginia at a glance
Location: Charlottesville, Virginia
Nickname: Cavaliers, Wahoos, 'Hoos
Colors: Orange & Blue
Arena: John Paul Jones Arena (14,593)
2011-2012 Record: 22-10 (9-7)
More on the Cavliers:
Rosters | Rivals Site
Game Preview Thoughts
North Carolina and Virginia come into Saturday's ACC season opener
with identical 10-3 records. While the win-loss column is a mirror
image the two teams taking the court will have vastly different
approaches and philosophies on how to win a basketball game.
Under head coach Roy Williams North Carolina has traditionally
played an up-tempo style hell-bent on running opponents of the court
via fast breaks and constant substitutions.
With Tony Bennett patrolling the sidelines for Virginia, the Cavs
have played basketball like they have to compete in a "Tough-Mudder"
competition to score baskets.
North Carolina has averaged nearly 84 points a game this season.
Virginia has come in a tad below 65. North Carolina attempts to
bloat the number of possessions in a game the same way Oregon's
football team does with an attacking offense and pressuring
defense. Virginia limits shot attempts by draining the shot clock
down to its final ticks and making opponents capitalize on limited
While one style might be more entertaining than the other, it's hard
to argue with the results of either. Both maximize their team's
strengths while exposing flaws in opponents. Williams and Bennett
have branded themselves as masters of these philosophies in the same
way Jim Boeheim of Syracuse is associated with zone defense and Mike
Krzyzewski with his man-to-man defense.
Joe Harris, Virginia guard
Joe Harris is Virginia's leading scorer but he isn't the most
athletic player to grace the hardwood. That's not intended as a jab
at Harris but should be noted since Harris will be harassed by a
variety of athletic defenders (Bullock, Strickland and McDonald) as
he fights through screens and attempts to get his shots off.
Match-up to watch: James Michael McAdoo vs. Akil Mitchell
McAdoo was on a lot of people's short list for preseason ACC Player
of the Year and hasn't done much to have his name taken off those
lists (14.8 PPG, 8.3 RPG).
Mitchell (13.2 PPG, 9.2 RPG) leads the Cavs in rebounding and should
be focused on extensively by the Tar Heels in rebounding
situations. North Carolina has struggled on the boards at times
this season (0 rebounds by a front-court player against East
Carolina University) and Mitchell will go after loose balls hard and
successfully if North Carolina lets him.
McAdoo has been asked to shoulder a lot of responsibility this
season. He draws a ton of attention on the offensive end but for
this game his biggest contribution could come on the glass.
North Carolina's 2ndhalf
In short, North Carolina hasn't played well in the second half this
There have been several games where the Tar Heels have looked like
world-beaters in the first half (East Tennessee State, East Carolina
University and UNLV) and allowed the other team to make it an
unnecessarily close game with a poor performance in the second half.
Virginia's slow down game won't allow North Carolina many chances to
get back on track if the Tar Heels fall behind late in the game.
Virginia's down-tempo style will suffocate North Carolina's final
opportunities the way an anaconda squeezes out the last few breathes
of its prey.
In other words, North Carolina will have to make every possession
count because Virginia will force them to. A second-half collapse
could cost them their ACC opener.
Playing without Reggie Bullock
Reggie Bullock missed the UNLV game with a concussion. If Bullock
can't go against Virginia expect P.J. Hairston to replace him in the
starting line-up for the second straight game.
Hairston has averaged 12.4 PPG and 4.5 RPG largely as a reserve. He
scored 15 points against UNLV and could begin making the argument
that he should be the fifth starter for the Tar Heels.
Coach Williams has been inconsistent about that last starting spot,
making it available to Brice Johnson, J.P. Tokoto, Joel James and
Desmond Hubert throughout the season. If nobody grabs it
emphatically and if Hairston is successful in Bullock's absence,
maybe when Bullock gets back Hairston won't start future games
beside Williams on the bench.
Looking at it from another angle, Bullock's missing production gives
the young Tar Heels their own chance to step-up. Sometimes when a
team needs other players to increase production while a star player
sits with an injury, it allows that team to become deeper once the
Virginia hasn't played the level of competition North Carolina has
at this point in the season. Although North Carolina hasn't fared
particularly well in its marquee games (Indiana, Butler and Texas)
they won a tough game against UNLV the last time out.
That victory came at the perfect time just before the ACC schedule
tips off. If North Carolina knocks off Virginia on the road it
would be the team's best win thus far. There would be plenty of
chances to top it, of course, but with so many inexperienced players
being relied upon these are the kinds of firsts you'd like to go
ahead and get under the belt.
Virginia will do enough to keep it close early but in a surprise
twist to an early season trend North Carolina's depth, athleticism
and overall talent will eventually overcome the tactfulness of Tony
Bennett's game plan and perceiver with a second half surge that puts
the game out of reach for the Cavaliers.
AP - NR, USA Today - NR, RPI - 24
Head Coach - Roy Williams (267-71 at
UNC; 685-172 Overall)
Last starting line-up for North Carolina (against UNLV)
Desmond Hubert Forward
James Michael McAdoo Forward
Dexter Strickland Guard
P.J. Hairston Guard
Marcus Paige Guard
Points: 83.4 PPG
Rebounds: 44.8 RPG
Assists: 19.5 APG
Field goal percentage: .458 FG
Michael McAdoo (14.8 PPG) Reggie Bullock (13.1 PPG)
Michael McAdoo (8.3 RPG) Reggie Bullock (5.7 RPG)
Assists: Dexter Strickland (4.5 PPG) Marcus
Paige (4.3 PPG
AP - NR, USA Today - NR, RPI - 149
Head Coach - Tony Bennett (61-42 at UVA;