The 9th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers will play host to their ACC conference rival North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. The Cavaliers currently hold the top spot in the ACC standings, most recently defeating Georgia Tech to earn their 10th conference victory. The North Carolina Tar Heels have had an up-and-down season, but they enter this matchup in 5th place in the ACC.
Fixture: North Carolina Tar Heels vs. Virginia Cavaliers - NCAA Men's Basketball
Date & Time: Saturday, February 13th, 2021, 6 PM ET
Venue: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Virginia
North Carolina Tar Heels Preview
The North Carolina Tar Heels are fighting to stay in the mix after a tough start to their season. Victorious in seven of their last nine games, North Carolina is looking like the perrenial contender they are.
North Carolina Tar Heels is coached by the legendary Roy Williams, now in his 18th season with the program. Williams has accumulated a lifetime record of 479-158 while at North Carolina, including 9 Final Four appearances. While this Tar Heels team looked to be having an off year, they seem to have revived and can keep their momentum rolling with an upset on Saturday.
Key Player - Caleb Love
Following a breakout performance against Duke earlier this week, Caleb Love will be the key to victory for the Tar Heels on the road. The star freshman exploded for a season-high 25 points to lift his team to a 4-point victory.
Caleb Love had averaged just over 10 points per game prior to this outburst, but perhaps he has found his stroke at the right time. The Virginia Cavaliers will need to keep a close eye on Love, as he may bring the hot hand with him on the road.
North Carolina Tar Heels Predicted Lineup
F Garrison Brooks, F Armando Bacot, G Leaky Black, G Caleb Love, G Kerwin Walton
Virginia Cavaliers Preview
The Virginia Cavaliers outlasted the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a defensive battle in their last matchup. While they were held to a season-low 57 points of offense, the Cavaliers' defense allowed just 49 points, their lowest in conference play.
With a commanding lead in the ACC standings, the Virginia Cavaliers can enter this matchup under no pressure. The North Carolina Tar Heels have been heating up lately, but the Cavaliers are playing their best basketball.
Key Player - Sam Hauser
Virginia Cavaliers' star forward Sam Hauser could make a huge impact in Saturday's matchup with North Carolina. The 6'8" senior is leading the Cavaliers' offense in scoring, averaging just under 15 points per game. Hauser tallied just 8 points in Virginia's latest win, but did his work on the boards with 10 rebounds.
With a dangerous North Carolina Tar Heels team coming to town, Sam Hauser will need to display his leadership and control the paint all night. The senior will be matched up with Armando Bacot, providing a tough challenge on the glass for the talented Hauser.
Virginia Cavaliers Predicted Lineup
F Sam Hauser, F Jay Huff, G Kihei Clark, G Trey Murphy III, G Reece Beekman
North Carolina vs. Virginia Prediction
North Carolina Tar Heels has a very balanced offense, with three starters averaging double digits in scoring and a team field goal percentage of 44%. The Tar Heels will certainly put up a good fight and could possibly complete the upset with another breakout performance from Caleb Love.
However, the Virginia Cavaliers have denied many attempts at an upset, proving to be the top competitor in the ACC. I give the Cavaliers a slight advantage in this matchup due to their recent defensive efforts.
Where to watch North Carolina vs. Virginia
The game will be broadcast on ESPN.