Lucas: Tar Heel Basketball Notebook
Reggie Bullock missed last Saturday's win over UNLV with a mild concussion sustained when he ran into James Michael McAdoo during a practice drill. However, it looks like the junior wing is on the road to recovery.
"Reggie went through about half of practice today, and as long as he doesn't have any reoccurrence, I expect him to practice tomorrow," Roy Williams said on Friday afternoon. The Tar Heel head coach said he was "cautiously optimistic" that Bullock would be available on Sunday night for the 8 p.m. tipoff at Virginia. Williams indicated that if Bullock is healthy available, he will start against the Cavaliers.
From Charlottesville: The Tar Heels aren't the only team with injury questions going into Sunday's matchup. Guard Jontel Evans has missed nine of the Cavaliers' 13 games with a foot injury, and head coach Tony Bennett says he won't know until Saturday if Evans will be available against the Tar Heels. Darion Atkins, meanwhile, has been dealing with shin splints, but is likely to be available on Sunday.
Pace: Sunday should bring an intriguing matchup of two teams built to do almost completely different things on the basketball court. Virginia wants to control the pace by slowing the game to a walk. Carolina is most comfortable at breakneck speed. The Cavaliers are third nationally in opponent assists per game (8.0), whereas the Tar Heels rank second in the country in assists per game (19.5).
The Cavaliers set an ACC shot clock-era record by holding held 11 opponents under 50 points last season. The Tar Heels, meanwhile, have scored fewer than 50 points only once in the Williams era--48 against Boston College on Feb. 19, 2011.
"Everybody says we have to speed Virginia up, and nobody does," Williams said. "They're good at what they do. Virginia really guards you, and what does impress me is their defensive field goal percentage. We have to do a better job offensively in the halfcourt with our execution, and hopefully doing a good job defensively ourselves so we can turn some turnovers into open court opportunities for us."
Notes: John Paul Jones Arena has been a tough place for opponents to play in the Tony Bennett era, as the Cavaliers are 44-16 (.733) at home under Bennett...Carolina has won four in a row in Charlottesville. The Tar Heels haven't won at least five in a row at Virginia since an eight-game streak from 1967-1974...Virginia ranks 8th in the country in field goal percentage defense (35.3%). Two other ACC teams are in the top 10 nationally in that category, as Maryland (second at 34.4%) and Georgia Tech (third at 34.5%) narrowly trail Texas. The Tar Heels have already faced the Longhorns, and play a combined six games against the Terrapins, Cavaliers and Yellow Jackets...
Williams said no decision has been made on a fifth starter (assuming Bullock plays). "Right now, I would expect Desmond (Hubert) will start unless he makes me mad between now and then," Williams said. Hubert had perhaps his best game as a Tar Heel against UNLV, getting three blocks, three rebounds and three points against the Rebels...Dexter Strickland said the upperclassmen had a sit-down recently with the four freshmen to let them know the intensity will need to increase when ACC play begins.