Home UVA-UNC preview: Both teams need a win, but North Carolina really needs one

UVA-UNC preview: Both teams need a win, but North Carolina really needs one

Chris Graham
isaac mckneely
Photo: UVA Athletics

North Carolina is 17-11 overall, 9-8 in the ACC, 47 in the NET, and maybe most importantly, 0-9 in Quad 1 games.

Virginia needs a win in Chapel Hill on Saturday (6 p.m. ET, ESPN) to keep connected in the ACC regular-season title race.

North Carolina needs a win to keep its tenuous NCAA Tournament hopes alive.

The Tar Heels were the preseason #1 after their surprise run to the national title game last spring, and didn’t have a lot in the way of roster changes to make you think that they’d have any reason for any kind of falloff.

Which makes how the 2022-2023 season has gone for second-year coach Hubert Davis all the more vexing.

He still has Armando Bacot (17.3 ppg, 11.1 rebs/g, 55.8% FG) putting up double-doubles most nights, and guard Caleb Love (17.1 ppg, 39.0% FG, 31.2% 3FG) putting up, well, a lot of shots (Love averages 15.2 attempts per game).

What’s missing from last year is 6’9” stretch four Brady Manek, who did a little bit of everything – scoring 15.1 points per game, pulling down 6.1 rebounds per game, shooting 49.3 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from three.

The thought was that 6’10” stretch four Pete Nance, like Manek a grad transfer, Nance coming off a four-year run at Northwestern, where he averaged 14.6 points and 6.5 boards a game a year ago, would be this year’s Manek.

That has not been the case. Nance is averaging 9.7 points and 6.1 rebounds, and his shooting from the field (41.3 percent this year, 49.7 percent a year ago) and from three (28.2 percent this year, 45.2 percent a year ago) has been nowhere near what was expected.

With nobody really a consistent threat from the perimeter, Carolina is shooting just 29.9 percent (!!!!) as a team from three-point range this season, after hitting on 35.8 percent from long-range a year ago.

The best shooter from three among the rotation guys is little-used 6’5” sophomore D’Marco Dunn, who is scoring a modest 2.8 points in 10.6 minutes per game, and is shooting an even more modest 33.3 percent from three.

Seriously, that’s as good as it gets.

You can see why this team is struggling from those numbers.

Carolina does come in off a win, a 63-59 grinder at Notre Dame from Wednesday, just the Heels’ second win in their last seven games.


  • EvanMiya: North Carolina 68-65, 61.1% win probability
  • KenPom: North Carolina 68-65, 58% win probability
  • BartTorvik: North Carolina 66-64, 58% win probability
  • ESPN BPI: North Carolina +1.2, 55.1% win probability

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].