Previewing Virginia

Less than 48 hours after an exhausting double-overtime win over Clemson, the hobbled Tar Heels are headed to Charlottesville. UNC vs. Virginia is set to tip-off at the John Paul Jones Arena at 8 p.m. and will be televised by both ESPN2 and Raycom.

North Carolina (22-2, 7-2) vs. Virginia (11-11, 1-8)
Charlottesville, Va. - John Paul Jones Arena
8 p.m., Raycom (Tim Brant, Billy Packer) / ESPN2 (Mike Patrick, Len Elmore)


"I still have the greatest respect in the world for Sean Singletary, in the way he can play and in the problems that he's caused us in the past." – UNC head coach Roy Williams

"We face a team in North Carolina coming off [Sunday night's] game that showed a tremendous amount of heart and ability to come back, and I think in their last two games, they've been challenged at home and showed another element and another gear of which is already an extremely talented team in every aspect." – UVa head coach Dave Leitao


Season to Date: Virginia enters Tuesday night's contest with an 11-11 (1-8 ACC) record. To say that the New Year has been unkind to the Cavaliers would be a gross understatement. Head coach Dave Leitao's squad met No. 12 Xavier on Jan. 3 with a 10-2 record, having posted a solid win at then-No. 17 Arizona (75-72) and losing two tightly-contested outings against Seton Hall (74-60) and Syracuse (70-68). But the Musketeers embarrassed the Cavaliers (108-70) and Virginia has yet to recover, dropping eight of its last nine contests. Ranking 11th in the ACC in both field goal percentage defense (43.1) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (35.7) has only aided in UVa's demise.

Singletary in Select Company: Point guard Sean Singletary is having the senior season most observers expected the Philadelphia native to have in 2007-08. The two-time All-ACC Cavalier is averaging 18.6 points (3rd ACC) and 5.9 assists (2nd ACC) per contest, and he's knocking down 83.6 percent (7th ACC) of the free throw attempts. Against Georgia Tech on Jan. 27, Singletary recorded his 500th assist at Virginia, making him just the fifth player in conference history to have 1,500 points, 500 assists, and 400 rebounds in a career. He is also the only player in the ACC this season to have a 30-point scoring game, a 10-rebound game and a 10-assist game.

Offensive Struggles: Unfortunately for Singletary, his teammates aren't providing much help on the offensive end of the floor. While the Cavaliers rank in the middle of the conference in scoring (5th – 75.8 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage (6th – 37.2), they sit in sole possession of the ACC cellar in overall field goal percentage (42.8). Junior forward Mamadi Diane (11.8 ppg), senior forward Adrian Joseph (11.7 ppg) and sophomore guard Calvin Baker (9.1 ppg) are the only other players on Virginia's roster averaging more than six points per game. As an example of the Cavaliers' dependency on Singletary, the senior point accounted for 34 of his team's 69 points in the Jan. 16, 2008, loss to Virginia Tech (70-69 OT).

Boards Abound: One statistical category that Virginia has posted strong numbers in all season long is rebounding. The Cavaliers are pulling down 26.8 defensive rebounds (2nd ACC) and 14.0 offensive boards (3rd ACC), while managing a plus-7 rebounding margin (2nd ACC) over their opponents. Joseph leads the team with a 7.2 rebounds per game average, and six others grab 2.9 or more boards per game. Eight different players have led the team in rebounding through 22 games – Singletary, Diane, Baker, Joseph, junior forward Laurynas Mikalauskas, freshman forward Mike Scott, sophomore center Jerome Meyinsse, and senior center Ryan Pettinella.

Last Meeting: No. 1 North Carolina outlasted Virginia, 79-69, despite shooting just 38 percent from the floor on Jan. 10, 2007 in Chapel Hill. Tyler Hansbrough posted 18 points and seven rebounds, while Brandan Wright added 16 points and nine boards. UNC dominated the rebounding battle, holding a 21-8 edge on the offensive boards and a 47-34 overall advantage.

Series History: North Carolina leads the series with Virginia, 121-48. The Tar Heels lead the series, 40-31, in Charlottesville. Tuesday night's game will be UNC's first appearance in the John Paul Jones Arena, after posting a 23-18 record against the Cavaliers at University Hall.

Projected Starters:
44 Sean Singletary (6-0, 185, Sr.) - 18.6 ppg, 5.9 apg
 1 Jeff Jones (6-4, 193, Fr.) – 4.0 ppg
30 Adrian Joseph (6-7, 201, Sr.) - 11.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg
12 Jamil Tucker (6-8, 241, So.) – 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
34 Ryan Pettinella (6-9, 249, Sr.) – 2.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg

Key Reserves:
24 Mamadi Diane (6-5, 201, Jr.) – 11.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
 4 Calvin Baker (6-2, 186, So.) – 9.1 ppg
32 Mike Scott (6-8, 233, Fr.) – 5.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg
11 Laurynas Mikalauskas (6-8, 246, Jr.) – 5.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg
43 Will Harris (6-6, 245, So.) – 2.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
55 Jerome Meyinsse (6-8, 245, So.) – 2.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg

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