Preview: #19 UNC at Virginia Tech

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

North Carolina at Virginia Tech, 2:30 PM, ACC Network(Tom Werme, Eddie Fogler)

UNC has reached the point in the season and the win streak that this is very much a "take care of business" game. It's a road game so it shouldn't be taken for granted. The Tar Heels are coming off an overtime win at NC State that ended in dramatic fashion. The possibility of a letdown of sorts exists which is why, given the differences in the team, UNC's focus should be on taking control of the game as early as possible and cruising home.

UNC is also coming off a couple of defensive efforts that have paled a bit to what was happening for most of the recent run of ten wins. Wake Forest shot 49% against UNC and NC State was at 47% with an offensive efficiency of 115.1. Only three opponents in the past ten games have been 45% or better against the Tar Heels(Notre Dame was at 45.5%) The Wolfpack's 115.1 offensive rating was the first time any team had been over 110 since the loss to Virginia. FSU's 108.8 was the next highest rating against the Tar Heel defense in the last ten games. Virginia Tech doesn't necessarily put a great offense on the floor but given that fact, if UNC's defense plays up to caliber it would go a long way to making the game much easier.

On the offensive end, this kind of game offers the opportunity for James Michael McAdoo and Leslie McDonald to snap out of whatever funk both players feel into against NC State. McDonald not only had a poor shooting night against NC State but nearly cost UNC the game with a foul on T.J. Warren with 1.5 seconds left. The handiwork of his teammates, especially Marcus Paige bailed the senior guard out. Now McDonald needs to bounce back as does McAdoo who was out of sorts against Wake Forest and it appeared to carry over to Raleigh. A year ago McAdoo scored 22 points and grabbed ten rebounds in UNC's 72-60 win over the Hokies.

With a win in this game UNC locks up the #4 seed in the ACC Tournament and secures a bye until Friday of the tournament. A win also keeps UNC in the hunt for the #3 seed which they can take by winning out. On the NCAA Tournament side of things, this is a game UNC cannot lose since Virginia Tech's RPI would be a poison pill for the Tar Heels' seeding possibilities.

UNC 74 VT 64

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