What UVA Basketball fans need to know about North Carolina

uva basketballMan, that loss at Purdue was quite the palate cleanse.

That UVA team was ranked second in the coaches poll, and the KenPom.com numbers had the ‘Hoos third.

The poll don’t change until Monday, but KenPom is updated hourly, practically, and it now has Virginia at #10.

KenPom does this neat thing, too, where you get projections of how a team is going to do with the rest of its schedule.

I’d seen it pegging UVA at 16-4 in the ACC at one point. Now, more like 13-7.

You think that’s bad, though, then consider the case of North Carolina.

UNC is seventh in both national polls, and KenPom had the Heels in its Top 10 and going 15-5 in the ACC not that long ago.

After their 74-49 loss at home to Ohio State on Wednesday, they’re all the way down to 24 in KenPom, which has them going 12-8 in the ACC.

So, yeah, the mighty have fallen.

Reality is, neither were as good as they were then, and neither are as bad as they are now, but that’s what happens when you get punked on national TV.

There’s still a lot to like about Carolina, especially freshman Cole Anthony, though a little bit of the luster on the projected one-and-done has come off of late.

Anthony came out of the gate scoring 34 in UNC’s season-opening win over Notre Dame, but since then, the 6’3” freshman has had lines like 7-for-24 from the field, 4-for-14, 4-for-13, and his 4-for-15 in the ugly loss to the Buckeyes this week.

It could be that the big game in the opener was a bad thing, because Anthony clearly loves his shot, and is hoisting 17.1 attempts from the field per game, tops in the ACC, while shooting a modest 38.0 percent from the field.

The volume hasn’t prevented Carolina from being able to get four guys into double-digits in scoring per game.

  • Garrison Brooks, a 6’9” junior, averages 12.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.
  • Brandon Robinson, a 6’5” senior, averages 10.8 points per game.
  • Armando Bacot, a 6’10” freshman, is averaging 10.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.

Coach Roy Williams is going through the same kind of thing UVA coach Tony Bennett has had to face this season – figuring out his rotation after losing a lot from last season.

Williams will go seven, maybe eight deep with his rotation, and there’s size up front, and it’s Carolina, so you know they’ll run.

Some issues for Virginia

  • One, the status of Braxton Key (10.3 ppg, 8.3 rebs/g), who was set to be re-evaluated on Monday following wrist surgery, but didn’t even make the trip to Purdue.
  • Two, can Virginia guards touch the paint at all? Purdue cut down … everything … in that 69-40 pantsing on Wednesday. Mover-blocker, ball screen continuity, dribble drives … nothing worked.
  • Three, Virginia is shooting 23.9 percent from three. Yikes. Shots aren’t going down from the perimeter, allowing opponents to focus on Mamadi Diakite (13.4 ppg, 7.0 rebs/g) and Jay Huff (10.4 ppg, 7.0 rebs/g). Key is a solid third option, when healthy, but UVA is going to need Casey Morsell (25.0% FG, 11.1% 3FG), Kody Stattmann (25.0% FG, 7.1% 3FG) and Tomas Woldetensae (20.6% FG, 14.3% 3FG) to start making shots, or this thing ain’t going to work.

Story by Chris Graham

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