The North Carolina Tar Heels (12-6, 7-4 ACC) takes on the #9 Virginia Cavaliers (14-3, 10-1 ACC) in an Atlantic Coast Conference showdown. Saturday’s contest marks the only game between the two conference rivals this season. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. EST inside John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA. Virginia is a 6.5-point favorite over the Tar Heels in the conference tilt, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina has rolled through their 2021 slate with a 7-2 record against conference opponents. The Tar Heels were scheduled to play the Miami Hurricanes on Monday night, but the game was postponed for COVID-19 issues. NC sits three games out of first place in the conference standings with seven games remaining on their regular-season slate.
NC scores 74.1 points per game on the offensive end and allows opponents to average 70.4 points per game defensively. The Tar Heels shoot 44.0% from the floor and defensively hold teams to 43.2% shooting.
In their last game, the Tar Heels took down rival Duke 91-87 inside Cameron Indoor Stadium. Six players scored in double figures for the Tar Heels, led by freshman guard Caleb Love with 25 points.
Sophomore forward Armando Bacot averages 12.1 ppg as the team’s leading scorer. Love is second on the team this season, scoring 11.1 ppg while senior forward Garrison Brooks adds 10.6 ppg.
North Carolina is 7-10-1 against the spread this season, including 5-10 over their last 15 contests. The Tar Heels sport a 4-7 record in ACC action and a 2-6 mark away from Chapel Hill. In their previous six games against the Cavaliers, the Tar Heels are 0-6 ATS.
What to Know – Virginia Cavaliers
Virginia bounced back after an in-state rivalry loss to Virginia Tech, winning their last three conference games. Since the new year, the Cavaliers have dropped only one game and have built a 2.5 game lead over the ACC standings’ nearest competitor. Virginia has six games left during the regular season, with just one game scheduled against a currently ranked opponent.
UVA averages 70.5 points per game behind 49.5% shooting from the floor. The Cavaliers are among the country’s best defensive teams in the nation, holding teams to 59.4 points per game and 41.2% shooting.
Virginia held Georgia Tech to 49 points in their last victory and was led in scoring by junior guard Trey Murphy III with 18 points. Classmate Kihei Clark provided 14 points and six assists in the win.
Senior forward Sam Hauser leads UVA in scoring, pouring in 14.9 points per game. Jay Huff is second on the team is scoring, averaging 13.2 ppg. Four Virginia starters average in double figures.
The Cavaliers are 9-7-1 ATS in games played this season with a 4-4 record on their home floor. Virginia is 6-4-1 ATS in conference play with an 8-0 record against NC over their last eight in games played on their home floor.
The Pick is In
These two teams will provide plenty of fireworks in their lone matchup of the season. North Carolina has the talent to play with Virginia, so expect the Tar Heels to keep this one close. Virginia’s slow pace of play also aids in North Carolina’s chances of keeping this contest close.
The Pick: North Carolina Tar Heels +6.5