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    UNC vs. Virginia Prediction, Game Preview

    UNC vs. Virginia prediction and game preview. The Tar Heels look to win their fifth straight game, while the Cavaliers look to round back into form after a tough stretch.

    February 27, 2017

    UNC vs. Virginia prediction and game preview. The Tar Heels look to win their fifth straight game, while the Cavaliers look to round back into form after a tough stretch.


    UNC vs. Virginia Game Preview

    When: Monday, Feb. 27 – 7 p.m. ET
    Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
    TV Broadcast: ESPN

    Roy Williams and the Tar Heels (25-5, 13-3 ACC) are coming off of an 85-67 defeat of Pitt on the road this past Saturday, which helped them clinch at least a share of the ACC regular season title. Forward Justin Jackson hit two 3-pointers in part of a 10-0 run to end the first half that put UNC in control. Williams and Co. have won four straight following a loss to Duke two weeks ago and can wrap up a second straight regular season ACC crown with a win against the Cavaliers.

    Meanwhile, Tony Bennett and the Cavs (19-9, 9-7) started to get out of their shooting slump in a 70-55 win at NC State on Saturday. Freshman Kyle Guy scored 19 points to lead a squad that shot 49 percent and made 11 of 16 3-pointers to snap a four-game losing skid. It was a refreshing offensive display for a team that seemingly forgot how to score.

    These two teams last met just eight days ago in Chapel Hill, and it was ugly for Bennett’s squad. The Tar Heels played at a slower pace than they would have preferred, but Jackson led the way with 20 points in an easy 65-41 victory. UNC held the Cavaliers to the lowest point total of an opponent in the Williams era.

    UNC Wins If …

    … The Tar Heels play defense like they did against the Panthers. We know UNC can score, but Williams has been looking for his squad to amp up the intensity on the other end of the court as we get closer to the postseason. UNC held the Panthers to 40 percent shooting, and its length at most every position is going to pose problems for UVA as it does for most opponents.

    Williams and Co. will certainly have the size advantage over UVA. Kennedy Meeks had 18 points and 10 rebounds against Pitt, as the Panthers were overwhelmed in the paint. UNC out-rebounded the Panthers, 48-28, including a season-high 24 offensive boards. The Tar Heels finished with 28 second-chance points. In the first meeting between these two teams, Meeks had all of his 13 points and seven rebounds after halftime, so he could be poised for another standout effort.

    Virginia Wins If …

    … The Cavaliers get another strong performance from the freshman Guy. His effort against the Wolfpack came at the right time, especially considering he had scored a combined 17 points in his last five—including going scoreless in the last two. He had a season-high in ACC play against the ‘Pack to lead an offensive effort that was missing for several straight games.

    College hoops fans know that Bennett’s team relies on its defense and a slow-paced, efficient offense. But during the team’s recent skid that featured woeful offensive performances, Virginia struggled mightily from the floor and could not even hit the 56-point mark in the past three games. Even its best defensive effort against UNC will not be enough: the Cavs have to be able to shoot well and at least get to 60.

    Matchup To Watch

    London Perrantes vs. Joel Berry II

    Virginia shot just 28 percent and missed its first 17 3-pointers before finishing 2 of 20 from downtown in the first meeting against UNC. In a matchup against the best team in the league, the Cavs need Perrantes—their leader—to play at his best. That means he needs to shoot well from the floor and defend well after his 16-point, 10-assist effort his last time out. UNC has a ton of weapons, but Berry is the catalyst.

    UNC vs. Virginia Betting Odds

    Spread: UNC -3.5
    Over/Under: 132

    UNC vs. Virginia Prediction

    The Tar Heels are rolling toward an ACC title and their rematch showdown with Duke on Saturday. The Cavaliers will put forth a much better effort than they did in the first matchup, but UNC has too much firepower. The Tar Heels will pull away late despite a strong defensive effort from the Cavs.

    UNC vs. Virginia final score prediction: UNC 68, Virginia 59

    WATCH: UNC vs. Virginia Stats To Know

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