Tar Heels climb up Top 10 in NET after beating UVA

After searching for defensive answers over the past six games, the UNC men’s basketball finally found them on Saturday afternoon at UVA.

North Carolina built an ugly, 10-point halftime lead and held the host Cavaliers to just a 5-of-30 mark in the first half. UVA started shooting the ball a bit better in half two, but the Tar Heels were locked in en route to a 54-44 victory – their first in Charlottesville since Feb. 25, 2012.

Neither team shot the ball well, with both UNC (21-6, 13-3) and UVA (20-8, 11-6) making 16 shots apiece. North Carolina finished 32 percent from the field, while the Cavaliers shot a horrendous 27.6 percent. Despite the Tar Heels’ poor shooting mark, Cormac Ryan enjoyed yet another strong outing, making six 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 18 points.

With its major win, first-place UNC rose up to ninth in the latest NET rankings. North Carolina is sandwiched between Iowa State (eighth) and Creighton (10th), both of whom are expected to make deep runs in the NCAA Tournament.

The Tar Heels certainly helped their case for a higher seed with yesterday’s win, as they were projected to a third. If UNC can win out, capping its regular-season off with a sweep of Duke, there’s potential to rise further up the NET and maybe re-snatch a top seed in the Big Dance.

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Story originally appeared on Tarheels Wire