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ACC Roundup - UNC Visits Virginia

This ought to be interesting

Virginia v Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH, PA - JANUARY 03: Reece Beekman #2 of the Virginia Cavaliers dribbles in the first half during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Petersen Events Center on January 3, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images

Tuesday’s ACC Action sees Georgia Tech visiting Notre Dame and UNC heading up to play Virginia.

Obviously one of these games is more appealing than the other and it’s not 8-7 Tech vs. 8-8 Notre Dame although it could surprise and turn out to be compelling if not good.

Virginia-UNC should be much better.

Virginia has had a lot of success against UNC under Roy Williams but Tony Bennett is 0-2 so far against Hubert Davis.

Last year UNC won 74-58 in Chapel Hill and then 63-43 in the ACC Tournament. Last year of course, Virginia struggled by Bennett’s standards, finishing just 19-13.

They’re much more dangerous this year, much more so if Reece Beekman is fully healthy.

Virginia couldn’t deal with Armando Bacot in the first meeting, surrendering 29 points and 22 rebounds. Caleb Love, RJ Davis and Leaky Black were held to a total of 18 points and 16 of them were from Love.

In the rematch, Bacot was limited to 10 points and 11 boards, which is still not bad. The perimeter trio had 28, shooting just 9-29.

Yet Virginia lost by 20. Why?

Well in a word, or two really, Brady Manek.

He had 19 points in the first game and 21 in the second. As we said at the beginning of the season, he was hugely effective. Pete Nance has had his moments but he’s not had the same impact.

In his absence, Seth Trimble started against Notre Dame and got three points. That doesn’t take all of his contributions into account of course, but it’s not easy for freshmen to thrive against Virginia. Just as Judah Mentz.

However, after a dreadful start, UNC has now won six of their last seven and the loss to Pitt was by just two points.

We’re honestly not sure what’s wrong with the Irish, but they have experience and skilled players. This team was 6-1 and now it’s treading water at 8-8. Among those losses: Syracuse, Georgia, Florida State and Boston College.

Georgia Tech isn’t much better but the Yellow Jackets have at least shown some heart. Notre Dame is going to have to show that they can turn things around. And the Irish have plenty of three point shooters. If one of them can heat up, it could be a tough night for the Yellow Jackets.

But that hasn’t happened a lot lately.

Tuesday’s ACC Action

  • Georgia Tech @ Notre Dame || 7:00 PM || ACCN
  • UNC @ Virginia || 9:00 PM || ESPN

ACC Standings