The North Carolina Tar Heels are just moments away from taking on the Virginia Cavaliers for the second this time this season, though the stakes this time are much higher. The Cavaliers are in a fight to win the tournament to earn an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament, while the Heels are a team out to prove that they are meant for the postseason by making a deep run in Brooklyn before they move on to the national stage. So far, it seems as though teams that have already played this week have been extremely tough to beat, so the Heels will have their hands full.
The biggest key to this game is to not let Kihei Clark get going, which is a lot easier said than done. Caleb Love and RJ Davis have been playing very good defense as of late, and so it’s a challenge that they almost certainly can handle. It will also be important for Armando Bacot to do as much damage as he did in the last game, because Virginia doesn’t have the size to deal with him in the post. I feel good about this game, but unfortunately good feelings don’t help the Heels move on to the next round: only winning can cure that.
The Heels are the 3.5-point favorite in this game according to DraftKings.com, which is a little too close for comfort if you are not a fan of close games. This will likely be a dog fight, and a very slow one at that. Virginia’s pace is excruciating, and it will be the Heels’ job to speed them up and make them uncomfortable. Three-pointers are also crucial when going against that Pack Line defense, and thankfully the Heels aren’t lacking shooters. Let’s just hope they didn’t use up all of their good shooting on their win against Duke.
As always, we’ll be back after the game with more post-game analysis and takes. Until then, Go Heels!