Tar Heels Aiming to Tighten Up Defense Against Virginia

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Tar Heels Aiming to Tighten Up Defense Against Virginia

The North Carolina Tar Heels men’s basketball team enters Saturday’s match-up with Virginia looking to build on last week’s offensive explosion. While scoring nearly 100 points beat Virginia Tech, head coach Hubert Davis sees room for defensive improvement. His team still rebounds well but has shown lapses guarding and boxing out. Tightening up on that end could spur a late-season run.

Priority on Limiting Opponents

During Friday’s press conference, Davis highlighted defense as an area of focus in practice this week. The team spent extra time on reinforcing discipline and attention to detail on that side. Strong defense paved their way to last year’s national title game.

While currently rating first in the ACC in defensive rebounding percentage, Davis preached more consistency boxing out. He knows a few crucial boards saved or extra possessions allowed could decide tight tournament games.

Areas of Concern

Specifically, what did the coach identify as needing work? In his words:

“One, rebounding the basketball — boxing out and rebounding. And I know statistically, in terms of defensive rebounding percentage, we’re No. 1 in the conference.”

“Two areas that I would say that I’ve really reinforced: one, rebounding the basketball — boxing out and rebounding.”

His team has demonstrated strong defense for long stretches this season. But some second-half lapses allowing opponents easy buckets have cost them games. Shoring up those holes now would set up postseason success.

Virginia Provides Tough Test

Saturday’s contest against a ranked 20-7 Virginia team should reveal if North Carolina has tightened up on defense. The Cavaliers play a slower, more methodical offensive style behind stingy defense. UNC must stay disciplined and limit Virginia’s high-percentage looks.

The Tar Heels can’t afford to trade baskets all night; they’ll need stops to emerge victorious on the road. Look for Coach Davis to emphasize rebounds and consistent defense across 40 minutes.

Sports Betting Arrives in North Carolina

Last year saw sports betting finally launch in North Carolina after years of failed legalization attempts. The Tar Heel State now contains multiple sportsbooks, including top brands like FanDuel, DraftKings and BetMGM. These sites offer bettors competitive odds and lucrative signup bonuses.

The recent launches timed perfectly with college basketball heating up. New players can use North Carolina sportsbook promo codes to claim thousands in free bets, just in time for March Madness. The debut basketball betting season promises to generate massive interest and handle in this hoops-crazed state.

Strong Defense Key to Deep Tourney Run

North Carolina legitimately has National Championship aspirations this March if their defense travels. The offense provides enough firepower behind star Armando Bacot to outpace anyone. Forcing a few extra misses or turnovers per game could fuel a deep tournament run.

But UNC has proven capable of losing to unranked opponents this season when not focused defensively. Avoiding an early exit hinges on consistency securing rebounds and supplying pressure. Look for the Heels to emphasize those areas down the regular season stretch.

If North Carolina peak defensively entering tournament play, they will be a scary matchup. Count them firmly among the nation’s top championship contenders if executing Coach Davis’ defensive game plan. Their ceiling remains sky-high.

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