On Monday, Virginia, after having played an exhausting game against Duke on Saturday, went to Chapel Hill and beat UNC 69-61.
It was a fascinating game in many ways.
Virginia was in control for the first half and into the second before UNC began to push its way back into it.
UVA controlled the pace until UNC, like Duke, managed to turn the ‘Hoos over and score in the open court. The Heels barged into the lead, building it to seven.
Then Virginia does what Virginia does: it almost completely shut UNC down.
UVA held Carolina to 1-10 on its last 10 shots and five of those were three pointers that weren’t necessarily well advised.
It was basically a clinic and UNC had a sort of nervous breakdown.
The game seemed to swing on a single play: Coby White hit a spectacular desperation three which was overruled as a shot clock violation. Then, clinging to a two point lead, Kyle Guy hit two three pointers that settled things.
The first would have been a four point play except that he missed the free throw. The second gave Virginia a six point lead with 1:10 left to go. Both were huge, unbelievable shots under any circumstance but under pressure? They were brilliant. Stone cold brilliant.
After that, we saw a serious difference between the teams. Virginia only scored two more points, both on the line, while UNC kept chunking up quick shots, mostly threes, all of which missed.
One team showed immense poise while the other panicked.
Virginia also made a slick change, putting 6-7 De ‘Andre Hunter on UNC’s star freshman Coby White late. White, a bit of a prodigy, didn't handle it very well. It was a valuable lesson for him and one UNC will profit from later but it wasn’t a good day in school for young White.
It reinforced a basic fact of ACC life: Virginia tends to win because Virginia hardly ever lets you have it your way. If you want to beat them, you have to match their resolve and their ability to not make mistakes, particularly at key times.
UNC also suffered one possibly serious injury as freshman Nassir Little left with an apparent ankle injury. Cam Johnson had his own ankle injury but later returned.
This year’s UNC team is good and getting better but it is not remorsely efficient like Virginia is and you can’t beat them if you panic, which the Tar Heels clearly did.
On Tuesday, 12-12 Pitt takes on 11-11 Boston College. Both teams have outstanding backcourts but Boston College has a clearly superior front court. We’d expect the Eagles to prevail, if narrowly.
As you’ve probably noticed, after a impressive start in non-conference play, Pitt has struggled against ACC competition. We’ve mentioned several times that Pitt’s weakness is in the front court but that we expected Jeff Capel would get good players before too much longer to address the shortcoming.
You can probably count on new commit Gerald Drumgoole to help.
Drumgoole is a 6-6 kid native of New York currently playing for LaLumiere, where he is a teammate of Washington-bound Isaiah Stewart. Solidly built and a capable scorer, Capel can partner him with guards Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowan for a gifted base. Add in Malik Ellison and Au’Diese Tony, along with 6-11 Terrell Brown, who will be able to play to his strengths more, and Pitt suddenly has a solid athletic core that will be able to run, shoot and defend.
Despite the ACC struggles, the rebuild is going very well indeed and keep in mind that this is only Capel’s first recruit for next season.
- Virginia’s Win at UNC Stands in Duke’s Ever-Looming Shadow
- Roy Williams following loss to Virginia: ‘They made the plays down the stretch and we didn’t’
- No. 4 men’s basketball comes back to defeat No. 8 North Carolina, 69-61
- Unlike Saturday, UNC couldn’t make the little plays in loss to Virginia
- Ed Hardin: Carolina finds a way to lose a crucial game, loses Little to injury
- Jerome, Diakite play through pain to lift Virginia past North Carolina
- No. 4 Virginia uses late surge to take down No. 8 UNC
- One for the road: Cavaliers rally past North Carolina
- Virginia gets back to winning with impressive road victory against North Carolina
- Cavaliers rally to beat the Tar Heels and bounce back after devastating loss to Duke
|TUESDAY'S ACC ACTION|
|Pitt @ Boston College||7:00||ESPNU|
|Duke @ Louisville||9:00||ESPN|
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