Tar Heels seek 20th win of the season against Cavs
(Sports Network) – The 13th-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels try to keep a
hold on second place in the ACC standings, as they welcome the Virginia
Cavaliers to the Smith Center for an ACC showdown. At 10-4 in league play,
the Tar Heels own a half-game lead on NC State for second place in the ACC
standings, with just two regular season games left. UNC has clawed its way
into the upper half of the league by winning five straight games and eight
of nine overall. Most recently, the team improved to 12-4 at home with
an 81-57 thrashing of Maryland on Sunday. The victory also improved the
Heels to 19-6 overall, with just top-ranked Duke remaining on their regular
season schedule following tonight’s bout.
As for Virginia, its road woes continued last Saturday with a 90-64 setback at
Clemson. It was the fifth straight loss away from home by the Cavaliers, who
fell to 2-9 on the road this season. The setback also dropped the team to
14-11 overall and even 7-7 in conference. With regard to the all-time series
between these two schools on the hardwood, UNC owns a commanding 118-48
advantage, although the Cavs posted a 72-68 triumph in Charlottesville in this
first meeting this season.
Virginia is netting 69.5 ppg and outrebounding its opponents by 5.6 rpg this
season, with three players currently averaging double-digit points. Sean
Singletary has simply done it all for the Cavs, as he leads the team in
scoring (18.3 ppg), assists (4.5 apg) and steals (45). J.R. Reynolds’ game
complements Singletary and he is turning in 16.2 ppg and 3.3 apg, while Adrian
Joseph adds 10.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg.
Virginia committed a season-high 29 turnovers last time out, as it
suffered an embarrassing 26-point loss at Clemson. The miscues certainly
made the difference considering the Cavs managed to hit 5-of-12 shots from
long distance and 17-of-22 at the foul line. Singletary paced UVA in defeat
with 25 points and four steals, while Reynolds chipped in with 16 points.
North Carolina is led by the frontcourt trio of Tyler Hansbrough, Reyshawn
Terry and David Noel, and they are the primary reason why the team is
outrebounding its opponents by 8.9 rpg this season. The trio also accounts for
over half of the team’s scoring average of 79.5 ppg on 47.9 percent shooting
from the floor. Hansbrough, arguably the top freshman in the nation, leads the
way for the Tar Heels with 18.9 ppg and 7.5 rpg, and he is shooting 58.9
percent from the floor. Terry is next in line with 14.3 ppg, and he is also
pulling down 5.9 rpg, while Noel adds 12.4 ppg and 6.8 rpg.
In the squad’s previous outing, Hansbrough poured in 21 points and collected
seven caroms in leading UNC to a 24-point win over Maryland. Noel added 12
points and seven boards for the Heels, who shot 41.1 percent from the floor
in the game. The team also won the battle on the boards, 54-45, in addition to
holding Maryland to a dismal 27.9 percent shooting effort from the field.