Game preview: No. 7 UNC looking for impressive road win vs. No. 5 Virginia

Chase for the Championship

North Carolina’s Cole Anthony (2) brings the ball upcourt against UNC Wilmington ‘s Kai Toews (10) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Wilmington, N.C., Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)

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The North Carolina Tar Heels have not lost back-to-back games in nearly two years, but the Virginia Cavaliers know a thing or two about ending droughts.

The No. 7 Tar Heels (6-2) will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia for a bout with No. 5 Virginia (7-1). UNC will likely lose its spot at No. 7 following a huge blowout loss against Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Virginia, too, is coming off of a loss vs. unranked Purdue in their Big Ten/ACC Challenge matchup, so both teams should be motivated to start a winning streak, not extend a losing one.

Carolina is in the midst of a tough stretch of games which includes now No. 4 Michigan, No. 13 Oregon, No. 6 Ohio State, and No. 9 Gonzaga.

For head coach Roy Williams, he’ll be looking to close the gap between him and mentor Dean Smith on the all-time NCAA Division I wins list. Williams has 877 wins while Smith finished with 879.

Virginia will be looking for its sixth straight win over North Carolina at John Paul Jones Arena. The last victory for the Tar Heels at Virginia was a 54-51 win on Feb. 25, 2012.

North Carolina will likely be missing key players in this mammoth of a matchup.

Freshman forward/center Armando Bacot is listed as doubtful for the game due to a sprained left ankle. He suffered the injury in the Ohio State matchup.

Bacot was having a stellar season to date, averaging 13.7 points and racking up 11 rebounds per game. His 11 rebound average is current good for 11th in the nation and tied for first among freshmen.

Carolina will likely need an outstanding performance from star freshman Cole Anthony, as UNC is showing signs of a team that struggles to score, an uncharacteristic trait of a Roy Williams-coached team.

Anthony is averaging 20 points per game and has led the Tar Heels in scoring five times.

Following the game at Virginia, UNC returns to action on Dec. 15 against Wofford in Carmichael Arena. That will be UNC’s first regular-season game at Carmichael since a 90-79 win over NC State in 1986.

North Carolina and Virginia will meet on Sunday at 4 p.m.

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