North Carolina and Virginia battle in ACC quarterfinals
(Sports Network) – The second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels will attempt to
avoid an upset as they take on the seventh-seeded Virginia Cavaliers
in the quarterfinal round of the ACC Tournament. The winner of this
contest will battle either sixth-seeded Maryland or third-seeded Boston
College in the semifinal round. Virginia closed out the regular season with
three consecutive defeats, but the club bounced back strong with a 60-56
triumph over rival Virginia Tech yesterday in the opening round of this
tournament. The Cavaliers captured their lone ACC Tournament title way back in
1976, and the team owns a poor 30-51 record at this event.
As for North Carolina, it has been much better than expected under the
guidance of ACC Coach of the Year Roy Williams, as every key contributor
from last season’s National Championship team is gone. The Tar Heels, who
are ranked 10th nationally, enter tonight’s tilt with a seven-game winning
streak. They have won 15 ACC Tournament titles, tied with Duke for the most
among league members, but the most recent championship for UNC came in 1998.
Virginia beat North Carolina by four points back in January, but the Tar
Heels avenged that defeat with a 45-point thrashing of the Cavaliers
last week. In regard to the all-time series, the Tar Heels own a commanding
J.R. Reynolds netted 23 points for Virginia in the victory over Virginia Tech
yesterday, and Laurynas Mikalauskas pitched in 11 points and 12 rebounds. The
third and final double-digit scorer was Adrian Joseph, as he finished with 10
points. Sean Singletary managed a mere eight points for the Cavs on 2-of-10
shooting from the floor, and the fact that the team won despite that
performance is impressive. Virginia earned a 17-8 edge in points from the foul
line to go along with a 38-31 rebounding advantage.
Singletary is just a sophomore, but became the first Virginia player since
1992 to earn First Team All-ACC honors. He has scored 20 or more points 10
times this season. As for Reynolds, he is a third team performer, and he has
scored in double figures in each of the last 22 contests.
North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough was the unanimous pick for ACC Freshman of
the Year, and he is the first freshman in ACC history to earn unanimous first
team all-conference honors. The standout forward has led the Heels in scoring
17 times this season and is averaging 19.0 ppg on 58.2 percent shooting from
the floor. He is also tops on the boards with 7.6 rpg and made a statement
with a 27-point performance at Duke in the regular season finale. Reyshawn
Terry adds 14.2 ppg to the North Carolina lineup, and David Noel is
contributing 12.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 93 assists. The Tar Heels are posting 80.4
ppg on 48.2 percent shooting from the floor, and they are holding opponents to
68.4 ppg on 41.1 percent efficiency. Rebounding has been key to the
club’s success, as it is pulling down 9.1 rpg more than its foes.