No. 8 North Carolina at No. 18 Virginia
When: 7 p.m.
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, Va.
TV/Radio: ESPN (Sean McDonough, Doris Burke). Internet live-stream: WatchESPN app. Radio: WTKK-106.1-; SiriusXM channel 84.
Projected starting lineups
North Carolina (25-5, 13-3 ACC)
G Joel Berry 14.8 ppg, 3.9 apg
G Theo Pinson 7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
F Justin Jackson 18.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
F Isaiah Hicks 11.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg
F Kennedy Meeks 12.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg
Virginia (19-9, 9-7)
G London Perrantes 12.4 ppg, 3.9 apg
G Ty Jerome 3.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
G Marial Shayok 9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg
G Devon Hall 8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
C Jack Salt 3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
▪ Tar Heels going for an outright championship
A UNC victory on Monday night would give the Tar Heels their seventh outright ACC regular-season championship in coach Roy Williams’ 14 seasons. UNC has already clinched at least a share of it and, already, the Tar Heels are assured of their eighth ACC regular-season championship, overall. Undoubtedly, they don’t have much of an interest in sharing any piece of that title. A victory in Charlottesville takes care of that.
▪ Short rest and slow tempo
Williams is no fan of these Saturday-Monday games – and he compared ACC coaches to mushrooms in the dark when he made the point last week that coaches’ concerns over these games fall on deaf ears – so one thing to watch closely will be fatigue. Both of these teams are playing for the second time in three days (Virginia won at N.C. State on Saturday), but the Tar Heels will be playing two road games in three days. Will they be as crisp as they have been lately, despite the hectic turnaround? Logically, it follows that the slower pace that awaits on Monday could turn out to be a benefit.
▪ Scouting Virginia: These teams are playing for the second time in nine days, and so familiarity shouldn’t be a problem. During that 65-41 victory against Virginia in Chapel Hill on Feb. 18, the Tar Heels played what was, statistically, their best defensive game of the season. The Cavaliers made only 15 of their 54 attempts from the field, including two of their 20 3-point attempts. Williams downplayed his team’s defense and said Virginia simply missed shots – though upon review Williams found more reasons to praise the defense. Virginia didn’t miss many shots from the perimeter at N.C. State on Saturday, and the Cavaliers will have to carry over that success (11-for-16 on 3s against the Wolfpack) into Monday. Virginia coach Tony Bennett altered his lineup since the last time these teams played, and inserted freshman guard Ty Jerome into the starting five. As always, UNC will want to quicken the pace, and Virginia will want to keep it slow.