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No. 8 North Carolina Eyes Eighth Straight Win vs Visiting No. 4 Virginia

Virginia vs North Carolina Betting Odds

The No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers hit the road for just one game as they pay a visit to the Dean Smith Center to tip off against the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels. Virginia is coming off its worst loss of the season, falling 81-71 to then-No. 2 Duke on Saturday, while North Carolina aims to extend its season-high seven-game winning streak. The Cavaliers have won each of the last three meetings with the Tar Heels and are a 1-point favorite in tonight’s game with the total opening at 142 points.

Shark Bites
  • North Carolina is 7-0 SU and 5-2 ATS in its last seven games.
  • Virginia allows the fewest points per game in the nation this season (54.1).
  • North Carolina scores the second-most points per game in the nation this season (88.3).

Virginia vs North Carolina Game Center

Cavaliers looking to rebound from a tough loss

Virginia opened the season 16-0, including 4-0 through its first four games in ACC play before it met the high-octane Duke Blue Devils. The Cavs fell 72-70 to the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium, then picked up four straight wins before they hosted the Devils at John Paul Jones Arena. However, Virginia once again was topped by Duke and it now looks to avoid its first slide of the season tonight.

The offense has been just OK for the Cavs this year as they average 72.8 points per game overall (149th) and 70.2 ppg on the road. They are a good three-point shooting team, though, boasting the ninth-best percentage in college basketball at 39.6 percent from beyond the arc. Virginia shoots 47.7 percent from the floor to rank 29th in the country.

Virginia’s victories have mostly been the result of the nation’s stingiest defense, which yields just 54.1 ppg overall and 57.1 ppg away from home. The Cavaliers rank fifth in the NCAA by restricting foes to a measly 37.8 shooting percentage, climbing to 40.8 percent in road games. Most notably, the Cavs give up just 5.3 triples per game, sixth-best in the country, and that drops to 4.7 on the road.

Can Tar Heels’ offense break through the Cavs’ defense?

North Carolina has been rolling recently, picking up seven consecutive wins following its 83-62 defeat at home to Louisville, its only home loss and ACC defeat. During the Tar Heels’ current streak, they avenged that loss to Louisville by earning a 79-69 triumph and also topped then-No. 10 Virginia Tech 103-82.

There has been no issue running up the score this year, as the Tar Heels average 88.3 points per game for the No. 2 mark in the nation and pour in 91.6 ppg at the Dean Smith Center. They average 45.5 points per game from two-point range (47 ppg at home) and they rank 99th with a shooting percentage of 52.5 inside the arc. UNC takes the third-most shots per game and is able to get more looks at the rim courtesy of its NCAA-best 43.3 rebounds per game, including 11.1 offensive boards per game (19th).

On the defensive side of the ball, the Tar Heels give up 74.2 points per game to rank 229th. The biggest area of concern is defending the three-point line as they rank 271st by allowing their opponents to get 34.8 percent of their total points from beyond the arc. That being said, they limit foes to 47.9 percent shooting inside the arc, which is the 76th-lowest percentage in college hoops.

Which side of the total should you be on?

We have the second-best offense in the nation tipping off against the best defense and Bovada has tonight’s total opening at 142 points. This is the lowest total that North Carolina has faced this year and it has gone OVER in four of its last six games with an average combined score of 167.83.

Meanwhile, this is the highest total Virginia has had this year and it has gone OVER in four of its last seven games with just one game over that span going OVER 142 points. Virginia’s two games vs Duke featured combined scores of 142 and 152. North Carolina has a better offense than Duke so I think an OVER may be in store for tonight’s game.

My take on Virginia vs UNC

I like Virginia to cover the 1-point spread. When the Cavaliers played Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, they poured in 82 and 81 points respectively, and what those teams have in common with North Carolina is poor three-point defense. Notre Dame gives up 7.8 triples per game, Virginia Tech allows nine treys and North Carolina is in the middle at 8.6, ranking 279th.

The Tar Heels get a lot of their points from inside the arc, ranking fifth by chipping in 45.5 points per game, but they only shoot 52.5 percent from two-point range and the Cavs rank 21st in opponent two-point percentage at 45.1. UNC also averages 8.8 triples per game, the 66th-most, but Virginia allows the sixth-fewest treys per game.