The Virginia Cavaliers head to Chapel Hill on Monday to take on the Tar Heels in ACC play in what will be their second top-10 matchup in three days.
The Cavaliers are coming off a loss on Saturday to the Duke Blue Devils that puts them in a difficult position the rest of the way in the ACC. If they want to keep hope alive for a regular season championship, they will more than likely need to win out (which is unlikely) and hope the Blue Devils drop two games along the way (which may be even more unlikely).
It is not impossible however, and any streak to end the season will need to begin with a win on the road at North Carolina. The Cavaliers hold a three-game win streak over the Tar Heels. All three have been at home or on a neutral court, but Virginia has shown to be extremely capable of picking up key victories away from home, boasting a 12-2 record on the road in the ACC since last season.
The real challenge for this team will be a quick turnaround time. It’s not every day, or even every year a team goes from playing one top ten opponent on Saturday to playing another two days later. Virginia will have to reset and prepare on the fly to avoid a two-game losing streak.
On the other side, North Carolina is having a great start to conference play after faltering early in the season in their out of conference games. They are on a seven-game win streak but also coming off a difficult overtime victory over a weak Miami team. They have a healthy mix of youth and experience with forward Luke Maye leading the way, and they are making a play for the regular season title.
There is still a lot of time left in the season, but this game will be an indicator for where Virginia has headed the rest of the way. Will they fall two games behind both UNC and Duke in the standings or will they keep within striking distance with a victory? There are several keys they need to focus on to ensure the latter.