Home Live Coverage: Virginia hosts #10 North Carolina in key ACC matchup

Live Coverage: Virginia hosts #10 North Carolina in key ACC matchup

Chris Graham
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Photo: UVA Athletics

Virginia (20-7, 11-5 ACC) hosts #10 North Carolina (20-6, 12-3 ACC) in a must-win ACC matchup for the ‘Hoos, who have played their way down toward the NCAA Tournament bubble.

AFP editor Chris Graham leads our live coverage from JPJ.

North Carolina is 3-3 in its last six, with two of the losses on the road, and its win on the road in that stretch was Miami, which is in a freefall.

Which is to say, if ever UNC would be vulnerable, it would be now.

That’s the conventional wisdom.

Flip side of that for Virginia: yeah, also pretty vulnerable right now.

The ‘Hoos (20-7, 11-5 ACC) have lost two of their last three, Tony Bennett still hasn’t settled on how he wants to play, and let’s just be up front here: North Carolina (20-6, 12-3 ACC) is simply a bad matchup for this Virginia team.

Why I say that: UNC can score in the post, can shoot from the perimeter, and don’t be fooled by the 71.4 points per game the Heels give up on D.

That’s tempo; KenPom has Carolina ranked 10th in defensive efficiency, one spot behind … yes, Virginia.

This game will be played at a Tony Bennett pace, because Virginia games are always played at a Tony Bennett pace.

UNC, because it can play defense, can win at a Tony Bennett pace.


Two cheapies on Virginia’s bigs – Jordan Minor got hooked by Armando Bacot on a Bacot post move, but of course Minor got called; and Ryan Dunn got a touch foul on an offensive rebound.

Carolina leads 9-4 at the first media timeout. Reece Beekman has the two buckets for Virginia on short lane jumpers. He has a height advantage on both UNC guards that needs to be exploited more.

Bacot to the bench, whatever that’s worth

Bacot picked up two cheapies – an over-the-back on an offensive rebound, and a trip trying to cover Blake Buchanan.

He’s to the bench; the score is the same as it was at the first media timeout, 9-4.

Virginia has missed its last 10 shots, and is 2-of-13 from the floor.


Virginia is 3-of-21 from the floor, and it’s not because Carolina is doing anything special on D. Just missing shots.

It’s 14-6 (!) UNC at the 7:10 media timeout.

Six points against a meh defense.

Elijah Gertrude is checking in because, why not?

Not getting better

Virginia is 3-of-25 from the floor.

Still getting looks. It’s hard to figure out how an entire team can rim out that many shots.

Cormac Ryan, meanwhile, has made four threes.

He has 12 points; the rest of the game has a total of 17.

Somehow, only down 10 at the break

For the second straight game, Virginia has 16 points at the half.

This one, it’s only 26-16, because of defense, on their guys not named Cormac Ryan, anyway.

Ryan had 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from three; his teammates were 5-of-18 from the field, which is why Carolina has 26.

Virginia has 16 and is down 10 despite shooting 5-of-30 (16.7 percent) from the floor.

Diving into that: 3-of-10 at the rim, 0-of-6 from three, 2-of-14 on two-point jumpers

Those two makes were from Beekman in the opening 1:52.

This team averages 18.4 two-point jumpers per game, so, yeah, 14 in a half is a lot, especially for a team not making them.

Some life

Virginia is 3-of-5 from the floor coming out of the break, on a Beekman short jumper and a couple of nice two-man-game plays with Beekman setting up Minor for shots at the rim.

It’s still a nine-point game because Ryan made another three.

He’s got six in the game now.

Virginia is 0-of-7 from three.

Jamie Luckie just happened

Virginia cut the deficit to 33-27, and forced a turnover on Bacot, who was trapped against the endline and dropped the ball out of bounds.

Carolina ball.

I know; Duke lost today, can’t have both Duke and Carolina lose.

UNC hit a three, then got two gifted free throws, and the lead is back to 13.

Oh, and in the middle of all of this, Luckie gave Tony Bennett a box warning, when he was standing literally inside the lines of the coaching box.

Can’t make this stuff up, folks.

Still a 10-point game

Isaac McKneely has finally joined the scoring parade. Jake Groves is still scoreless.

Virginia is 12-of-48 from the floor, and it’s 42-32 UNC.

Still a 10-point game

Virginia had a couple of chances to get the deficit to six, came up empty.

Man, Minor is playing his ass off in this one: 12 points, 5-of-9 FG, nine rebounds in 21 minutes.

That’s a wrap

Virginia got as close as five in the final two minutes, and had McKneely with an open look from three to get it to two, but that one missed, Minor missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Carolina closed the game out at the line in a 54-44 win.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].