Previewing Virginia


Following their first ACC win, the Tar Heels face a stiffer test in Charlottesville on Monday. Tip-off against Virginia is set for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (11-6, 1-3) vs. Virginia (13-5, 4-1)
Charlottesville, Va. - John Paul Jones Arena
Monday, 7 p.m.
ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas, Jeff Van Gundy)


"He is playing very efficient and I know sometimes it is like he isn't getting enough shots but he is being guarded hard and he is getting shots for other guys, and he is very efficient." – UVa head coach Tony Bennett on Joe Harris

"I think everything has clicked in terms of solid defense. They guys have shot it well and we've had a certain level of composure and patience. We are getting good looks and the guys have been ready. There has been an edge to them and there has been a sense of urgency. What hurts you in starts is when you allow the other team easy shots or you have breakdowns. Sometimes you'll hit shots but when you're in the right spots and making them earn their tough shots, which helps you a lot. Your defense gets you off to a good start, but offense you might have to find a little bit. But how we start defensively has been the difference recently." – Bennett on his team's strong starts


Season to Date: Virginia enters Monday night's contest with a 13-5 (4-1 ACC) record. Tony Bennett's fifth squad in Charlottesville opened the season with seven wins in its first eight games before dropping three of five in December with losses to Wisconsin (48-38), Green Bay (75-72) and Tennessee (87-52). The Cavaliers have won four of their five ACC games by double digits. Their lone loss came at Duke, 69-65, last Monday.

Harris Warming Up: Senior guard and 2013 first-team All-ACCer Joe Harris was inconsistent early in the season, interspersing single-digit scoring games (5,1,9) with double-digit outbursts (18,16,20). After a scoreless outing in UVa's ACC-opening win over Florida State, the 6-foot-6 guard is averaging 15.0 points over his last four games. Harris leads Virginia in scoring with 11.3 points on 49.6 percent shooting, but he's been on fire of late from long range, connecting on 57.9 percent of his treys (11-of-19) in ACC play.

Pace Control: Bennett's methodical approach forces opposing defenses to work throughout the shot clock while limiting opportunities for opposing offenses. Virginia ranks 330th nationally in adjusted tempo (63.4), according to The Cavaliers typically send an extra defender back on defensive rebounds with plenty of success – opponents have combined to score just 63 fast break points all season long, good for 3.7 points per game. By limiting points in transition, Virginia has been able to set its halfcourt defense, which is holding opponents to 37.8 percent shooting (10th nationally).

Working the Paint: Virginia has also controlled the paint in outscoring its opponents inside the lane in 14 of 18 games this season. The Cavaliers are scoring 43.3 percent of their points inside the lane, while also cleaning up the boards with a plus-7.8 rebound margin, good for second in the ACC.

Healthy Return: Malcolm Brogdon was Virginia's 2011 recruiting class headliner, a four-star shooting guard out of Norcross, Ga. The 6-foot-5, 217-pounder suffered a foot injury at the end of his freshman season that forced him to miss the entire 2012-13 campaign. Now a red-shirt sophomore, Brogdon is averaging 10.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and a team-high 1.3 steals per game. He's knocking down 34.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 91.7 percent of his free throw attempts. Brogdon is leading Virginia in scoring in ACC play with 14.2 points per game on 48.1 percent shooting.

Hot from Deep: Virginia ranks fifth in the ACC and 170th nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (35.5), but its recent lights-out shooting has played a significant role in its 4-1 ACC start. The Cavaliers are knocking down 42.2 percent from 3-point range in league play, trailing only Florida State (42.5).

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated the Cavaliers, 93-81, at the Smith Center on Feb. 16, 2013. P.J. Hairston led all scorers with 29 points and Marcus Paige added 17 for UNC.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Virginia, 128-50. The Tar Heels have won eight of the last 10 meetings, including four wins in five tries at John Paul Jones Arena.

Projected Starters:
23 London Perrantes (6-2, 189, So.) - 4.3 ppg, 3.4 apg
15 Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, 217, So.) - 10.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg
12 Joe Harris (6-6, 225, Sr.) - 11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
25 Akil Mitchell (6-8, 235, Sr.) - 6.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg
10 Mike Tobey (6-11, 253, So.) - 7.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg

Top Reserves:
1 Justin Anderson (6-6, 227, So.) - 9.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
13 Anthony Gill (6-8, 230, So.) - 7.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg
32 Darion Atkins (6-8, 234, Jr.) - 3.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg

UVa Info
Roster & Bios

(Photos from USA Today Sports) Recommended Stories

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