CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – You don’t need to remind Hubert Davis about the recent turmoil the Tar Heels have had against Virginia – he knows it all too well.
“I know that,” UNC’s head coach said of the seven-game losing skid against the Cavaliers. “And I let the team know that, as well.”
In their lone meeting a year ago, Virginia smothered UNC’s offense, limiting the Tar Heels to less than 50 points for the only time that season.
“Virginia is an unbelievable basketball team, and their coach is fantastic,” Davis said. “One of the places consistently they’re always great at is from a defensive standpoint.”
It’s a one-two punch as to why Virginia is so potent defensively. They have both great individual defenders, and they also work well within the team’s defensive scheme — a combination that Davis believes puts them in a position to be great defensively every year.
Playing a role in the Cavaliers’ defensive scheme the last two years has been Cary native Justin McKoy – a player on UNC’s roster this year.
“There’s going to be added feelings and emotions because that’s where Justin has been,“ Davis said. “So, to play against not only his former team and program and coach, but also some of his friends, it’ll be an emotional game for him at first. But as the game goes on, it’s just a game.”
Davis wasn’t in that position in college. He exhausted his college eligibility at UNC, but can relate to the emotions McKoy may feel on Saturday based on his NBA career where he bounced from team to team.
“The first time we played the Knicks (after he was traded away from the team), I wanted to score 30 on them,” Davis said. “You know how many times I scored? I scored two points.”
McKoy played in 19 games, starting four of those, for the Cavaliers a year ago before he decided to transfer to North Carolina ahead of the 2021-22 season.
“We got Justin because we wanted him to be a part of our program,” Davis said. “He’s a great kid, he’s a fantastic player, and I’m so thankful that I’m his head coach. That’s the reason why we wanted him to be on this team and part of this program.”
McKoy, who’s averaging less than 6 minutes a game, has missed the last week of play due to COVID-19 protocols.