When and where: December 8, 2019, John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA, 4:00 PM ET
The No. 5-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels are desperate for a bounce-back win in Sunday’s run-in with the No. 7-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. North Carolina has lost two of their last three games to Michigan and Ohio State. The 74-49 drubbing they took at the hands of the Buckeyes was especially an eye-opening sort of defeat. No one understands that better than Virginia after they were blown out in a 69-40 loss to Purdue.
North Carolina gets crushed by Ohio StateThe Tar Heels made history for all of the wrong reasons in Wednesday’s home loss to the Virginia Cavaliers. They were held to a 27.4 field goal shooting percentage and 49 points in what ended up being the worst home loss since Matt Doherty was the head coach.
Roy Williams might have wished Doherty was still the head coach for at least that one night. The Tar Heels got punched in the mouth and had no answers. We’ll see if they can muster a better response against another ranked opponent in Virginia.
They can start by playing better in the second half. There is no doubt Williams has been drilling 40 minutes of basketball into the team every day in preparation for Sunday. Buckets aren’t going to be easy to come by on the road against the second-best defense in the nation. Virginia leads the country in opponent average shooting percentage (30.9). The Tar Heels rank in the bottom half of the nation in shooting percentage, even though they have four viable scorers in Cole Anthony, Garrison Brooks, Brandon Robinson and Armando Bacot.
Things haven’t been much better on the defensive end of the floor, where they rank 80th in efficiency. It didn’t help matters against Ohio State when the Tar Heels lost Bacot early in the game to an ankle injury, but the team clearly needs more than one player to fix their problems of youth and inexperience.
Scoring is a serious issue for VirginiaVirginia was bound to dig too deep of hole sooner or later.
Their lack of offense has been clearly overlooked due to their ability to lock down on defense. They typically win ugly games, and people chalk the victories up as acceptable with little criticism. It’s a luxury afforded to the defending national champions. But Wednesday’s lopsided loss to the Boilermakers was a wake-up call. It’s hard to envision the Cavaliers repeating if they can’t improve on the offensive end of the floor.
North Carolina is hoping those struggles continue when the two teams clash on Sunday. Virginia has the fourth-worst scoring offense in the nation. They are mentioned among teams like Kennesaw State, Maryland ES and Ark Pine Bluff when it comes to their 53.2 average points per game. North Carolina hasn’t been anything special on defense, but the Cavaliers could make that look like the case with bad offensive play.
The team needs more than Mamadi Diakite and Jay Huff to get their offense going.
There is no concern regarding their second-ranked defense. North Carolina didn’t look good against Ohio State and Michigan, setting the stage for a potential nightmarish outing against Virginia’s dominant defense.
The supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against a team with a winning home record.
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning % above .600.
- Tar Heels are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning straight up record.
- Cavaliers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Home team is 20-8-1 ATS in the last 29 head-to-head meetings.
- Favorite is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 head-to-head meetings.