Eighth-ranked North Carolina will test an offense that is averaging more than 90 points over the last six games when it visits No. 3 Virginia on Monday night for a critical ACC contest. The Tar Heels have won seven straight games after surviving a challenge from Miami (Fla.) on Saturday while grinding out an 88-85 overtime victory, and will face a Virginia team that is allowing a national-best 54.1 points per contest.
"They really play their style of basketball," North Carolina senior guard Cameron Johnson told reporters. "They really just slow the game down and make you defend for 30 (seconds) and play offense for 30. It kind of changes the whole dynamic of the game, and it makes every possession matter just a little bit more. ... We are going to have to come out with a lot better focus." The Cavaliers, who have three straight wins over the Tar Heels including the ACC Tournament final last March, have given up 60 or more points just five times this season. But Virginia coach Tony Bennett will be looking for a "cleaner game" from his team after dropping an 81-71 decision to second-ranked Duke at home on Saturday as the Cavaliers allowed 13-of-21 shooting from 3-point range. "We just have to keep trying to tighten up and be as sound as we can," said Bennett, whose team is limiting opponents to 26.5 percent from behind the arc overall in 2018-19. "The formula doesn't change. Maybe little adjustments here and there, but there isn't much time. It's just get yourself ready, grow from this and come out and hopefully be more ready."
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN LINE: Check Intertops for the latest line
ABOUT VIRGINIA (20-2, 8-2 ACC): Junior guard Ty Jerome returned after missing one game with a back injury and scored 16 points to go along with four assists against Duke, but will likely be a game-time decision in the quick turnaround Monday. Junior guard Kyle Guy also recorded 16 points versus the Blue Devils and leads the team in scoring (14.6) and 3-point shooting (63 makes, 43.2 percent). Sophomore guard De'Andre Hunter (14.5 points) scored 11 against Duke and is shooting 52.5 percent from the field overall while junior guard Braxton Key tops the team in rebounds (6.1), including 28 total over the last three games.
ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (19-4, 9-1): Freshman guard Coby White is averaging 20 points during the winning streak to push his team-high scoring mark to 15.9, and he matched a season high by scoring 33 against Miami. "I am pretty confident," White told reporters after connecting on 7-of-10 from 3-point range Saturday. "We got plenty of guys that can be the guy. We're like eight deep, nine deep so (Saturday) was just my day. I got into a rhythm, a good rhythm, and I just kept playing." Johnson is a close second in scoring (15.8) while senior forward Luke Maye (15.1 points, 9.7 rebounds) is scoring 23.7 per game the last three contests.
1. Virginia junior F Mamadi Diakite, who has at least one block in 15 straight games, left Saturday's game after a collision and his status is uncertain.
2. Johnson connected on 19-of-37 shots from 3-point range in the last six games and shoots 47.2 percent from behind the arc overall - second in the ACC.
3. The Cavaliers lead the league in assist-turnover ratio (1.57) and North Carolina sits second (1.41).
PREDICTION: North Carolina 70, Virginia 64 Bet Now
See all the NCAAB basketball Predictions