North Carolina (17-5, 7-2) vs. Virginia (19-1, 7-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. - Dean E. Smith Center
Monday, 7:00 p.m.
ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas)
"I'm frustrated right now because this game was within our grasp and we couldn't finish it. No question, North Carolina will be charged up. That's the beauty of this league. It's like the old Big East. You better be ready to lace them up every night. You hate to give up a game like this on your home floor, but I told our guys - `It's what you do from here on out.' I think our guys understand that." - Virginia head coach Tony Bennett following Saturday’s loss to No. 4 Duke
Season to Date: Virginia enters Monday’s contest with a 19-1 (7-1 ACC) record. The Cavaliers got off to a tremendous start by winning their first 19 games and reaching the No. 2 spot in the national ranking. That lone loss came on Saturday against No. 4 Duke in Charlottesville. The Blue Devils closed with a 16-5 run to claim the 69-63 upset victory. to the fourth ranked Duke Blue Devils. Even with the one loss UVa has an impressive resume with a top-25 schedule that includes road wins over No. 16 Maryland, No. 14 VCU and No. 8 Notre Dame.
Defense Comes First: Aside from Kentucky, the Cavaliers have what is likely the best defense in college basketball. They are first in the ACC in scoring defense, and it isn’t even close (49.2 ppg vs. 2nd-ranked Louisville at 58.5 per game). Virginia also leads the league in defensive field goal percentage (34.1) and ranks third nationally in opponents’ effective field goal percentage (40.7), according to kenpom.com. The Cavaliers are also 30th in defensive block percentage (13.58). Head coach Tony Bennett has masterfully crafted a pack-line defense that all but eliminates an opponent’s ability to penetrate the lane.
Offense Equally as Strong: Virginia is currently shooting 47.3 from the field (3rd in the ACC) compared to a 45.4 mark last season. The Cavaliers also rank second in the ACC in 3-point percentage (39.5), up from 36.7 percent in 2013-14. Bennett’s squad ranks 30th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (38.8), and even more importantly, ranks sixth in turnover percentage (15.1). In addition, the Cavaliers are shooting a league-best 74.6 from the free throw line.
The Emergence of Justin Anderson: Guard Justin Anderson has always possessed plenty of talent, but this season the junior has finally put it all together. The Montross, Va. native is his team’s leading scorer, averaging 13.4 points per game. What’s more important for the Cavaliers is that Anderson is shooting an obscene 49.4 percent from behind the arc. He ranks 54th nationally in effective field goal percentage (60.9), according to kenpom.com
Pace Deceiving: Don’t mistake Virginia’s low-scoring affairs as an inefficient approach. The Cavaliers rank eighth nationally in adjusted offensive efficiency (117.1) and third in adjusted defensive efficiency (85.7), according to kenpom.com. Virginia also ranks ninth nationally in points per possession (1.059), according to teamrankings.com.
Tough Week: Virginia is currently in the middle of a brutal 8-day stretch. On Saturday, the Cavaliers lost to Duke at home. The Tar Heels are up next on Monday. After that, the Cavs will face No. 10 Louisville on Saturday. The schedule eases up a bit thereafter with games against N.C. State, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest twice.
Last Meeting: The Cavaliers topped the Tar Heels, 76-61, in Charlottesville on Jan. 20, 2014. Virginia used a 22-6 run overlapping halftime to build a 15-point lead early in the second half. UNC was unable to get back within single digits. Kennedy Meeks led UNC with 15 points and James Michael McAdoo added 11. Malcolm Brogdon and Joe Harris scored 16 points each for the Cavs.
Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Virginia, 128-51. The Tar Heels have won eight of the last 11 meetings.
1 Justin Anderson (6-6, 228, Jr.) - 13.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
15 Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, 215, Jr.) - 13.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg
13 Anthony Gill (6-8, 230, Jr.) - 10.9 ppg, 6.5 rpg
05 Darion Atkins (6-8, 241, Sr.) - 7.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg
32 London Perrantes (6-2, 191, So.) - 5.2 ppg, 4.5 apg
10 Mike Tobey (7-0, 253, Jr.) - 7.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
21 Isaiah Wilkins (6-7, 224, Fr.) - 2.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg
04 Marial Shayok (6-5, 207, Fr.) - 4.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg
11 Evan Nolte (6-8, 224, Jr.) - 2.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
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