Resurgent Virginia Beats North Carolina 53-43
After beating Notre Dame on January 24th, Virginia’s basketball team was 16-3 overall and 6-2 in the ACC. Then the Cavaliers went into a tailspin, losing six of eight including four in a row. Had they peaked too soon, had they been playing over their heads, had the opposition simply figured out a way to beat the defense oriented Cavaliers?
Virginia did come back finally with a 70-55 victory at North Carolina State on February 25th. But the Wolfpack is down this year and is near the bottom of the ACC so it would have been more noteworthy if the Cavaliers had lost. A truer test for Virginia, ranked #23, would be the February 27th matchup against fifth ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels beat the Cavaliers in Chapel Hill 65-41 on February 18th.
Virginia was back on its game. In a game that connoisseurs of defense would appreciate, the Cavaliers held the Tar Heels to just 43 points and en route to a 53-43 Virginia victory. North Carolina committed 14 turnovers while Virginia made only four. The Tar Heels were cold from three point range, hitting just four of 16, while Virginia was 10 of 24.
Perhaps North Carolina (25-6, 13-4 in the ACC) was looking past the recently slumping Cavaliers to the regular season finale at home against #17 Duke Duke (22-7, 10-6on March 4th, especially after beating them less than two weeks earlier. A lot of observers see the Tar Heels as a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament, barring some sort of early exit in the upcoming ACC Tournament. But it’s also a notice that the Cavaliers are back on track at just the right time. Virginia, now 20-9, 10-7 in the ACC, ends its regular season at home against Pittsburgh (15-14, 4-12) on March 4th.