The ACC's most talented team and its most surprising team will go head-to-head Saturday in a battle for positioning in the tight conference race. The No. 19 Virginia Cavaliers, behind senior Mike Scott, are 6-3, a half-game behind the N.C. State and a game behind ACC co-leaders Duke, Florida St. and the No. 5 North Carolina Tar Heels.
The Heels boast a lineup filled with future NBA lottery picks — guys like Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson, Kendall Marshall and James Michael McAdoo will all be in the League someday soon — yet have been prone to the occasional off night (lookin' at you, Deivydas Dulkys). The only real competition in the country for most physically gifted team is Kentucky, your top-ranked squad. When the perimeter players like Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston are knocking down shots and staying solid defensively, they're almost unbeatable.
The Cavaliers, on the other hand, have gotten where they are purely on defense because, frankly, their offense is pretty bad. They're 261st nationally in points per game, 246th in rebounds, and 180th in assists, yet somehow have lost only four games this season, which should tell you everything you need to know about their defense. Scott is averaging better than 17 and 8 for them, too, and he's a candidate for ACC Player of the Year on leadership alone. This is in Chapel Hill, though, which makes a Wahoos win seem unlikely.
Location: Dean E. Smith Center, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Date & Time: Saturday, Feb. 11, 1 p.m.