North Carolina didn't get the win Wednesday night against
Duke but played with an urgency right from the opening tip that
has been painfully missing in most games this year.
Whether it's been first half lethargies or second half
collapses, UNC hasn't been consistent this year.
It was no more evident than against Duke. UNC came out like
gang busters but couldn't hold off a second half Duke surge and
missed costly free throws down the stretch before ultimately
succumbing to defeat.
North Carolina is putting the finishing touches on stretch of
games against the top three teams in the ACC. They play
Virginia Saturday afternoon in the Dean Dome and will look to avenge
an earlier loss to the Cavaliers.
Virginia at a glance
Charlottesville, Virginia Nickname: Cavaliers, Wahoos, 'Hoos Colors: Orange & Blue Conference: ACC Arena: John Paul Jones Arena (14,593) 2011-2012 Record: 22-10 (9-7) Last Game: W 73-55 vs. Virginia Tech on Feb. 12, 2013
in Charlottesville Last Game vs. UNC: W 61-52 on Jan. 6, 2013 in
Charlottesville More on the Cavaliers: Schedule
GAME PREVIEW THOUGHTS
UNC missed out on two opportunities to make it really hard on the
committee to leave them out of the NCAA tournament in March when
they couldn't beat Miami or Duke.
This game isn't a must-win (probably) in order to secure an
at-large bid, but it should be treated as one.
North Carolina's best win to this point was against UNLV.
There isn't much else on the resume outside of that.
If the Tar Heels can't beat Virginia they will quickly run out of
chances to secure the high profile win they need to in order to
avoid the NIT.
A lot of love was sent
P.J. Hairston's way after his 23 point output against the rival
Blue Devils Wednesday night.
UNC Head Coach
Roy Williams used that small line-up in an attempt to keep up
with the high scoring Duke offense. It looked pretty good in
Hairston also showed that having him and other smalls on the
court at the same time won't necessarily mean a dip in rebounding
for Williams' squad. Hairston grabbed 8 rebounds as did
Bullock and McAdoo.
It should be interesting to see if Williams continues to indulge
the small five fantasies that many Tar Heels fans have had all year
or if he will revert back to some more traditional line-ups.
Free Throw Shooting
The Tar Heels were flat out terrible from the free throw line
In fact, they haven't been a good free throw shooting team all
year only shooting 64 percent.
UNC isn't efficient enough offensively this year to just give
away easy points from the charity stripe and will need to take
advantage in that area against a Virginia team that won't play an
up-and-down game with them.
Limited possessions and physicality mean UNC will probably have
to earn a victory from the free throw line against the Cavaliers.
If Harris isn't being considered for ACC Player of the Year then
he should be. He's putting up big numbers at the most crucial
time of the year.
Harris has scored 26, 22, 21, 18 and 22 points respectively
against Virginia Tech, at Maryland, Clemson, at Georgia Tech and
N.C. State over his last five games.
Harris also hasn't shot below 50 percent in his last three games
and shot 87 percent against Maryland and 70 percent against Clemson.
Harris leads the league in three-point
shooting percentage and is second in the league in three-pointers
made with 59. He's fourth in the league in scoring per game
and averages 31 minutes per game.
Virginia (18-6, 8-3) vs. North Carolina
Date: Sat, Feb 16,
2013 Time: 12:00 PM EST Venue:
Dean E. Smith Center (21,750) TV:ACC
Network Radio: Tar Heel Sports
Network & SiriusXM (Sirius 91, XM 91) Series: UNC leads, 127-50
(UNC is 64-6 vs. UVa in Chapel Hill and 22-3 vs. the Cavaliers in the
Head Coach - Roy Williams
(273-76 at UNC; 691-177 overall)
Rankings - AP: NR, USA Today:
NR, RPI: 36
Last starting line-up for North Carolina
F - Jame Michael McAdoo G/F - Reggie Bullock G - P.J. Hairston
G - Dexter Strickland G - Marcus Paige
Points: 77.9 PPG (13th
Rebounds: 41.5 RPG (6th
Assists: 17.5APG (3rd
Field goal percentage: .442
Scoring: James Michael
McAdoo (14.6 PPG) Reggie Bullock (14.1 PPG)
Michael McAdoo (8.2 RPG) Reggie Bullock (5.7 RPG)
Assists: Marcus Paige
(4.3 APG) Dexter Strickland
Head Coach - Tony Bennett (71-47 at
UVA; 140-80 overall)
Rankings - AP: NR, USA Today:
NR, RPI: 71
Points: 64.3 (252nd overall)
Rebounds: 32.7 (261st
Assists: 14.9 (58th
Field goal percentage: .461
Scoring: Joe Harris (16.3
PPG) Akil Mitchell (12.8 PPG)
Mitchell (8.8 RPG)
Joe Harris (4.1 RPG)
Assists: Jontel Evans (5.0 APG)
Joe Harris (2.3 APG)
Last starting line-up for Virginia (against
F - Akil Mitchell G - Jontel Evans G - Paul Jesperson
G - Joe Harris G - Justin Anderson
Expect Strickland to draw the assignment
of trying to shut down the high output offensive option but he's going
to need help when Harris runs off screens from guys like Bullock and
Saturday's game will include several
special recognitions in the Smith Center in addition to the game itself,
including honoring 2012 Patterson Medal winners (top male and female
student-athletes at UNC) Tyler Zeller and Katelyn Falgowski of the field
hockey team during pregame and officially honoring Zeller's jersey in
the Smith Center rafters at halftime.
In addition to Zeller, former Tar Heel
players Lennie Rosenbluth, Tyler Hansbrough, Kendall Marshall and John
Henson are expected to attend the game. Current NBA players Hansbrough,
Marshall, Henson and Zeller (back in Chapel Hill during the NBA All-Star
Game weekend festivities) will be introduced to the crowd during a
timeout in the second half, and the UNC women's tennis team that won the
ITA Indoor national championship earlier this week will be recognized at
a timeout in the first half.