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No. 4 Virginia at No. 8 North Carolina
When and Where: Monday, Feb. 11, Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C., 7 p.m. EST.
After barely surviving a trap game over the weekend, eighth-ranked and ACC co-leader North Carolina looks to send No. 4 Virginia to its second consecutive defeat Monday night.
Cavs look to bounce back after second loss to Duke
Fourth-ranked Virginia (20-2, 8-2 ACC) has beaten everyone in its path save Duke, losing to the Blue Devils for the second time this season Saturday night after an 81-71 home defeat. The loss dropped the Cavaliers one spot in the newest AP Top 25 released Monday.
— Virginia Men's Basketball (@UVAMensHoops) February 10, 2019
Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome scored 16 points apiece, but it was the rare game in which Virginia was torched defensively. Duke hit 13 of 21 from 3-point range and shot 57.8 percent overall, the second-highest mark by an opponent since coach Tony Bennett arrived in Charlottesville on 2009.
“I told our guys after [the game], for us to beat a team like Duke, the way they’re playing, we are going to have to play a cleaner game in a few areas,” Bennett told the school’s official website. “I thought that we were a little slow to our closeouts. We really tried to keep [Duke] out of the lane and jam the lane. We probably over-corrected in terms of that.”
The 81 points were also the fifth-highest total a Bennett-coach Cavaliers team allowed in regulation. North Carolina has one of the other four, hanging 93 on Virginia in a 12-point victory at Chapel Hill in the 2012-13 season.
Even with the 81 points scored by Duke, the Cavaliers still comfortably lead Division I in scoring defense at 54.1 points per game. They are also fifth in overall defensive shooting percentage (37.8) and second in 3-point shooting percentage (26.5).
Offensively, the Cavs also looked out of sync as Guy committed five of the team’s 13 turnovers. Virginia is third in the country with 9.2 turnovers per game overall but has averaged 14.7 in its last three contests.
Guy and DeAndre Hunter pace Virginia in scoring at 14.6 and 14.5 points per game, respectively. Jerome, who sat out a 56-46 win over Miami on Feb. 2 due to a sore back, chips in 13.1 per contest. All three are shooting better than 40 percent from 3-point range for the Cavaliers, who are second in the ACC in that category at 39.6 percent.
Virginia has not lost back-to-back games since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017 that included defeats to both Duke and North Carolina in successive contests. The Cavaliers — along with Duke — were No. 1 seeds in the NCAA bracket reveal over the weekend, but that status would be tenuous at best with another loss.
Heels escape Hurricanes in OT thanks to Maye and White
North Carolina (19-4, 9-1) — itself a No. 2 seed in the initial bracket reveal — carries a seven-game winning streak into this game, but not without some anxious moments Saturday when it fought off Miami 88-85 in overtime at home.
— Carolina Basketball (@UNC_Basketball) February 9, 2019
Luke Maye finished with 20 points and hit a clutch 3-pointer to force overtime, and freshman Coby White continued his torrid run of scoring with a season-high 33 points as he made 7 of 10 from beyond the arc and dished out six assists.
“We’re fortunate to say the least,” coach Roy Williams told the News and Observer. “I questioned our kids’ toughness throughout the whole game, and was still doing it at the end, but I think they answered it pretty well down the stretch.”
White leads the team in scoring at 15.9 points per game, but the 6-foot-5 guard has hit another gear of late. He is averaging 20.0 points during North Carolina’s seven-game winning streak, connecting on 45.3 percent (24 for 53) of his 3-point shots and 49 percent overall to go with 5.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds per contest.
Maye (15.1) and Cameron Johnson (15.8) form a balanced trident in attack for the Tar Heels, who are second in the nation in scoring at 88.3 points per game. Johnson is 22nd nationally in 3-point shooting at 47.2 percent while White is 11th in the ACC (38.8).
The Tar Heels have won four straight home games, averaging 94.8 points while shooting 45.1 percent (46 for 102) from deep. North Carolina has dropped three straight to Virginia, but this is the first game at Chapel Hill since the Tar Heels dumped the Hoos 65-41 on Feb. 18, 2017.
North Carolina is:
- 5-0 ATS in its last five games vs. above-.500 teams.
- 4-1-1 ATS in its last six home games vs. teams with an above-.600 road record.
- 5-1 ATS in its last six games.
- The under is 9-4 in its last 13 games.
- The under is 7-2 in its last nine games vs. above-.600 teams.
- The under is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games as an underdog.
- No trends of note.
- The under is 13-5 in its last 18 games as a road favorite.
- The under is 9-4 in its last 13 games following a double-digit loss at home.
- The under is 6-2 in its last eight games following a straight up loss.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
North Carolina has three traits in common with Duke that translate to success against Virginia. The first is size in the backcourt, which the Tar Heels have in the 6-foot-5 White and 6-9 Johnson. This puts pressure on Virginia’s pack-line defense because its smaller guards can be backed down into the paint before opponents kick the ball out to the perimeter for less-contested 3-point looks.
The second is quality perimeter shooting. White and Johnson have combined for 110 3-pointers, and both Maye and Kenny Williams are not bashful about taking treys either. The third is scoring in transition, and with the Tar Heels, there is their secondary transition in which they are constantly able to find quality looks early in the shot clock.
North Carolina lost twice to Virginia last season but played far better in its 71-63 ACC Tournament loss than it did in the 61-49 road loss. This Tar Heels team, though, is far more dynamic offensively. They will not score 90 points in this game, but they should score enough to win.
This line has flipped to the Tar Heels giving a point, so again, the hope is you got in early on this one to ride with Rameses and North Carolina.
Prediction: Pick: North Carolina +1
Full-Game Total Pick
Virginia is no slouch itself offensively, averaging 72.8 points while shooting 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Cavaliers, though, are running into one of the few teams in the country who rebound better than them as the Tar Heels are a plus-9.7 per game compared to their plus-6.7. If the defenses extend well, this will be a game that winds up in the 60s and results in the under hitting.
This number plummeted 3.5 points in the overnight to 140.5, so hopefully you jumped on the 144 and feel good about it.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 144 points
Full-Game Prop Bet
The expectation is this will be a close game played around a five-point range, and taking North Carolina and the under creates an expectation that only one team — if any — reaches 70 points. So by process of elimination, Virginia being held under that mark is the pick here.
While North Carolina has lost both games it was held under 70 points, the hedge here is it keeps the Cavs under that mark as well.
Prediction: Pick: Virginia UNDER 70 points
Half-Time Side Pick
This is about as close to a toss-up as you can have. Virginia has only trailed at Duke at halftime in its 10 road and neutral site games, and the Blue Devils are the only team the Cavaliers have trailed to after 20 minutes in ACC play.
North Carolina has only trailed twice at home in 12 games at the Smith Center and has led in each of the last five — three times by 14 or more. It will likely be a one-possession margin, but the pick is the Tar Heels, who likely will come out aggressive after struggling to put away Miami on Saturday.
Prediction: Pick: North Carolina -0.5 points
Half-Time Total Bet
This is going to be a game that shows if Virginia is vulnerable to backcourts with length on the defensive end. Duke dragged the Cavaliers up to 69 and 74 first-half points in their two meetings — Bennett’s team has reached 67 or more on just two occasions.
North Carolina’s 61 first-half points with Miami on Saturday was its second-lowest in ACC play and lowest at home overall. It figures to be a tight contest with few transition points given how Duke ran on Virginia on Saturday, so the under is the play.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 66 points
Half-Time Prop Prediction
It is easier to take the under on a team who plays around this tempo as opposed to North Carolina, which has cleared 33.5 points in 10 of its 12 home games. The Cavaliers are capable of beating this number, no question, but they also have totaled 35 or less in their last three games and 32 or less in three of their last four ACC road games.
Prediction: Pick: Virginia UNDER 33 points