No. 7 North Carolina meets No. 5 Virginia in a major ACC battle on Sunday afternoon. However, both teams will be out of the top 10 next week since they are both coming off bad losses. The Cavs were embarrassed at Purdue, 69-40 on Wednesday, while the Tar Heels are coming off their worst home loss ever under Roy Williams in a 74-49 defeat to Ohio State on Dec. 4.
Last year, these teams played just once with Virginia winning on the road, 69-61 on Feb. 11.
Heels struggling early in the seasonNorth Carolina basketball is not used to getting blown out anywhere, much less at home. In their loss to Ohio State at home Wednesday, they weren't just blown out at the Dean Dome-they were humiliated. They shot just 27% from the field and got outrebounded by 18. Of course, this is not the same team that lost to Auburn in the Sweet 16 last season. There's always going to be turnover in college basketball. The Heels were hurt as most elite major college basketball programs are but in some ways, they reloaded by bringing in the likes of Cole Anthony, the spectacular freshman point guard, whose father Greg Anthony, was a pretty good player himself back at UNLV.
But Anthony has had his ups and downs, including the Ohio State game, where he shot 4-of-15 from the field and 4-8 from 3-point range (15pts). He was also slowed down due to an illness. He still averages 20 points and 3.9 assists, while junior forward Garrison Brooks adds 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds. The Heels also lost talented freshman big man Armando Bacot (6-10, 232, 10.5ppg, 8.9rpg) to a sprained ankle early in the game. He'll miss this game but the injury isn't expected to cause him to miss that much time.
Bacot isn't the only injured Tar Heel big man. Sophomore Sterling Manley (6-11, 250) is also out indefinitely due to a knee injury. He played in just 14 games last season but averaged 3.9ppg and 3.8rpg.
On the season, UNC averages a lowly 71.6 points per game on 40.4% shooting (30.3% 3pt). They allow 67.1 points per game on 38.2% (33%). So this is not the fast-paced team of the past. Virginia is last in the nation in pace of play and that's to be expected at 350. UNC is around 200 at 71.3 possessions per game.
Cavs also playing shorthandedVirginia lost most of their "key" players from last season's national title team. One of those "key" players returning was bruising 68- forward Braxton Key, who was averaging 10.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in his first six games. He's out indefinitely after undergoing wrist surgery recently.
In their 69-40 loss at Purdue, the Cavs were dominated on the boards and could have used Key. Actually, they were only outrebounded by five, but that's domination for Virginia.
“They cleaned our clock,” head coach Tony Bennett said after the game to Roanoke.com. “We didn’t control anything we had in our power to control.”
UVa shot just 37% from the field and a dismal 4-of-17 from beyond the arc against the Boilermakers. The Cavs had won their first seven games, but they had yet to score over 65 points. In their previous game against Maine, they shot just 39% from the field, but held the Black Bears to 19% shooting in a 48-26 game that sent college basketball to the pre-shot clock era. So when Purdue shot 45% from the field and 13-of-25 (52%) from beyond the arc, Virginia had zero chance. When you are averaging just 53.3 points per game on 40.2% shooting, you better hold teams to 30.9% shooting and 28% from beyond the arc.
North Carolina is:
- 1-4 ATS last 5 after an ATS loss.
- 1-4 ATS last 5 road games.
- 1-6 ATS last 7 overall.
Trends from Covers.com Virginia is:
- 4-1 ATS last 5 after a SU loss.
- Home team is 20-8-1 ATS last 29 in series.
- Favorite is 9-3 ATS last 12 in series.