Where: Dean Smith Center, Chapel Hill, NC
When: Saturday, February 11th, 1:00 PM
TV: ACC Network
Records: UNC 20-4, 7-2 ACC; Virginia 19-4, 6-3 ACC
This is a must win. They are all must wins at this point because there is only so much more slipping up Duke and FSU are going to do so UNC can only take care of its own business going the rest of the way.
The reaction from UNC in this game will be intriguing to watch for a couple of reasons. One, Roy Williams is correct, they should be angry about losing the Duke game because it was like having something stolen from you. UNC's play was sufficient to win the game save a series of bizarre events and plays made by Duke in the final two minutes. We are talking spousal infidelity level frustration here(thanks Scott Wood!) and UNC's response to that should be to beat Virginia soundly. The problem is the Cavaliers'
abomination to the sport of basketball slow tempo offense make it difficult to blow them out. There will be fewer possessions and since UVa is such a solid defensive team there will be fewer looks in transition for the UNC.
Since that will be the case, UNC will need to be more efficient deeper in the shot clock than they probably feel comfortable doing while chasing UVa on the offensive end up 25-30 seconds. Yes, this is a rehash of the Wisconsin game but without all the size the Badgers had. Since it will be more of a halfcourt game the solution is simply: feed the Big Three, especially Tyler Zeller as early and often as possible. If there is one upside is to the tempo it is making UNC's clear depth issue less of one but no one is crazy about UNC starters all playing over 30 minutes with the possibility of some of them going over 35.
Virginia's Mike Scott will be a tough matchup for John Henson. Scott, like Duke's Ryan Kelly, plays all over the court forcing Henson to play defense away from the basket. Virginia also has three point shooters and the length of time UNC will be forced to play defense means open looks are inevitable. Sammy Zeglinski comes in only hitting 2-14 from three in his past three games which probably means he will be locked in vs UNC. Hopefully playing Wisconsin will have the Heels prepares to face Virginia but not having Dexter Strickland will again be a talking point before this game is out.
UNC 72 UVa 59