A pair of teams needing a win for different reasons hook up in Chapel Hill on Saturday as the North Carolina Tar Heels look for a much-needed win for their NCAA Tournament hopes while the Virginia Cavaliers enter the game with a half-game lead in the conference.
Virginia Cavaliers vs. North Carolina Tar Heels (-3, 130)
The Virginia Cavaliers are coming off of a 63-48 upset loss in their most recent game against Boston College in which the team had its scoring output of the season on a 4-of-21 3-point shooting night.
Even with the mid-week clunker against Boston College, Virginia has been the better outside shooting team this season. The Cavaliers are eighth in the country in road 3-point shooting percentage at 39.3% while North Carolina is 342nd nationally in overall 3-point shooting percentage at 30%.
Both teams do a good job of taking care of the ball as Virginia is seventh in America in turnovers per possession committed on offense while North Carolina is 17th, but Virginia has a ball control advantage with the lack of defensive pressure North Carolina plays with.
The Tar Heels are 355th among the 363 Division I teams in turnovers forced on a per possession basis on defense while Virginia ranks 87th in this category, which is a big reason why Virginia is 36th in the country in points allowed on a per possession basis while North Carolina is 120th.
When these teams played in Virginia on January 10, Virginia winning the turnover battle was the difference as North Carolina had five more turnovers than Virginia, losing 65-58 despite shooting a slightly higher percentage from 3-point range than the Cavaliers, going 8-of-24 on 3-point shots while Virginia was 6-of-19.
The 3-point shooting of Virginia has been superior to that of North Carolina’s and the Tar Heels, who are 8-18-2 against the spread this season, are an undeserving favorite and will be the wrong end of a bounce back by Virginia.
The Play: Virginia +3
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