The biggest game of this year’s ACC Tournament may not end up being the championship game. Instead, it could be this quarterfinal game between North Carolina and Virginia. This North Carolina vs Virginia matchup could decide whether or not the Tar Heels make it to the NCAA Tournament, or whether they are going to be watching it from home, as UNC sits squarely on the bubble going into Thursday night.
North Carolina vs Virginia Betting Pick
|ℹ️ The Pick:||North Carolina +1.5|
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This game will be played at Greensboro Coliseum at 7:00 PM ET on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Why Bet on North Carolina:
✅ The Tar Heels are in a must-win situation here, needing a victory to enhance their chances of making the NCAA Tournament. This team is at its best when its back is against the wall, as we saw during last season’s postseason run, and they will get the win they need here.
✅ These teams have split their two games in the regular season, so we know that North Carolina is capable of beating Virginia already.
✅ From a matchup standpoint, North Carolina has to like facing Virginia in a game this important. Virginia’s offense is very slow and conservative, which will play into the hands of a UNC team that has to go all out to get a win.
North Carolina Tar Heels: Now or Never for UNC
The North Carolina Tar Heels did what they had to do on Wednesday, getting a blowout win over the Boston College Eagles to advance to the ACC quarterfinals. That win prevented UNC from getting eliminated from NCAA Tournament contention. But the real test will come in this North Carolina vs Virginia matchup, which the Tar Heels may also need to win in order to keep their tourney hopes alive.
For North Carolina, the goal from the opening tip will be to speed this game up. Virginia loves to play at a slow pace and set their defense whenever possible. North Carolina cannot allow that to happen on a consistent basis, or they could lose a back breaker in Greensboro.
Virginia Cavaliers: Could Kill Two Birds With One Stone
The Virginia Cavaliers have yet to play a game in this year’s ACC Tournament, as they received a double-bye. They go into the quarterfinal round with a huge opportunity. Not only can they get an impressive win that will only help their seeding looking ahead to the NCAA Tournament, but they can also keep one of their conference rivals from getting into the tournament in the first place.
They say that styles make fights, and they make basketball games as well. Virginia’s style is to play at a snail’s pace, ranking 360th in adjusted tempo at Kenpom out of 363 Division I teams. Their goal will be to reduce the number of possessions in this game and rely on their defense to deny North Carolina the tournament worthy win they need.
When Was the Last Time North Carolina Missed the NCAA Tournament?
It has been a while since the North Carolina Tar Heels missed the NCAA Tournament. Excluding 2020, where there was no NCAA Tournament due to the COVID pandemic, the last time the Tar Heels failed to make the NCAA Tournament was the 2009-10 season. That year, they went to the final of the NIT, where they finished second to the Dayton Flyers.
Interestingly enough, that season came right after the Tar Heels won the 2008-09 national championship. With a loss here, UNC could miss the tournament the season after a Final Four run for the second time in a 15-year period.