Can the Virginia Tech Hokies get over the hump against the North Carolina Tar Heels? The two ACC rivals meet for the third time this season in the second ACC Tournament semifinal from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Hokies are still looking for their first victory over the Tar Heels this season. In the first meeting, the Tar Heels defeated the Hokies 78-68 in Chapel Hill. Sophomore guard Caleb Love led the Heels with 22 points, while forward Armando Bacot scored 14 points and pulled down 20 rebounds. All five UNC players scored in double figures.
In the next meeting, North Carolina won, 65-57, in Blacksburg. This was another close game throughout, but shooting woes cost the Hokies a valuable win. Tech made just five of 26 3-point attempts in the game. Love again led the Heels with 21 points, while Bacot provided another double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
In both games, UNC received just five total points from its bench. If Virginia Tech can get one of the Tar Heel starters in foul trouble, specifically Bacot, it would go a long way in taking down the Heels.
UNC and Virginia Tech are the two hottest teams in the ACC. Carolina has won 12 of its past 14 games, while the Hokies have won 11 of their last 13 games.
There are multiple compelling matchups in this game. Bacot and Virginia Tech forward Keve Aluma is a matchup of two of the best frontcourt players in the league. North Carolina guard Leaky Black is a terrific defender. Which Hokie will he defend? Black gave Virginia all sorts of matchup nightmares in Thursday’s quarterfinal.
If the Hokies have a good night from beyond the arc, this game can be won by anyone.
According to DraftKings, the Tar Heels are 2.5-point favorites for Friday’s ACC Tournament semifinal. The Heels initially opened as 2-point favorites, so clearly the oddsmakers are expecting a competitive game. The over/under currently sits at 139.5, down from 142. Both teams are high-scoring teams, as Tech scored 87 in the quarterfinal win over Notre Dame. Oddsmakers are expecting a game more like the first meeting between UNC and Virginia Tech, not so much the rematch in Blacksburg.
Duke and Miami play in the first quarterfinal Friday.
Can the Hokies finally beat the Tar Heels in the ACC Tournament? Or will UNC breeze into another ACC title game?
We’ll have you covered after Friday’s game.