Feb. 9, 1998
Top-Ranked Tar Heels Come Calling
Virginia vs. North Carolina
Nolan Makes Push for Postseason Honors
February 11, 1998 n 9:00 p.m.
Norman Nolan may not get the national acclaim that some players get, but he has clearly become one of the top power forwards in the college game today.
He is at the top of his game right now and is a bonafide All-ACC candidate based on his play to date.
After a rigorous off-season where he worked hard on his strength and conditioning, and adding to his outside game, Nolan has picked up his level of play tremendously this year and caused ACC coaches and NBA scouts to take notice.
We're unsure what Nolan asked Santa Claus for this Christmas, but it's apparent the jolly man in red filled Nolan's stocking with a variety of offensive moves to score and bundles of rebounds to grab.
Since Christmas, Nolan has put together a series of performances the likes of which haven't been seen by Virginia fans since the days of Ralph Sampson.
In the 14 games since Christmas, Nolan is averaging 23.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. He's also shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 71.6 percent from the free throw line.
He had reached the 20-point plateau in seven straight games leading up to the Georgia Tech game on January 15, but fell one point short of extending his streak by scoring 19 points vs. the Yellow Jackets.
He got back on track in a big way the next time out by pouring in a career-high 35 points to power Virginia to an important ACC win over N.C. State.
He is second in the ACC in "double doubles" this season with 11, one behind Matt Harpring and Antawn Jamison. He has also been named ACC Player of the Week three times.
Nolan has turned in three of the top-eight scoring outputs and the top rebounding effort in the ACC this season.
Nolan is third in the conference in both scoring (21.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.5 rpg).
Virginia (1997-98 record: 10-13 overall/2-8 in the ACC) looks to end a five-game losing streak this evening against the nation's top-ranked team, North Carolina (1997-98 record: 24-1 overall/10-1 in the ACC), in University Hall. Tip off is set for 9:00 p.m.
Television: Tonight's game is being televised nationally by ESPN. Mike Patrick is the play by play announcer and Bill Raftery is the analyst.
Radio: All UVa games are heard on the Virginia Sports Network originating at WINA/WQMZ in Charlottesville. Mac McDonald calls the play by play. Jim Hobgood provides the analysis.
The Series vs. the Tar Heels
North Carolina leads the all-time series with the Cavaliers 110-40.
Virginia has won six of the last nine games in Charlottesville (1989, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997). Normally the Cavaliers help themselves when they score at least 80 points, but in their last two wins over the Tar Heels they haven't scored more than 75 points. This is noteworthy because the Cavaliers have won 85 of their last 90 games overall when scoring at least 80 points.
Since University Hall opened for the 1965-66 season, North Carolina has won 20 of the 32 games between the two teams in the building. North Carolina leads the all-time series in games played in Charlottesville 38-24.
Keys to the Game
Virginia needs to shoot the ball well tonight to help its chances to win. The Cavaliers are 4-15 against North Carolina under head coach Jeff Jones, but are 3-1 when they out-shoot the Tar Heels. The Wahoos are 1-14 when the Tar Heels out-shoot them.
A look at the two teams' field goal percentages over the last eight seasons is below. The winner is listed in bold.
Year/Site UNC UVa
UVa .464 .400
UNC .500 .356
ACC Trn. .471 .400
UNC .533 .362
UVa .446 .472
UNC .476 .400
UVa .474 .313
ACC Trn. .379 .414
UVa .462 .483
UNC .390 .309
ACC Trn. .491 .403
UNC .482 .418
UVa .452 .439
UVa .386 .322
UNC .471 .400
UVa .385 .481
UNC .517 .355
ACC Trn. .519 .371
UNC .488 .433
During Jones' Career:
Combined .459 .395
UVa wins .436 .468
UVa losses .466 .377
Cavaliers Face the Nation's Top-Ranked Team
Due to schedule quirks that saw Virginia play Duke in December, tonight's game marks the Cavaliers' fourth game this season against the #1 team in the nation.
Virginia lost at Duke 103-59 on December 6 in its ACC opener when the Blue Devils sat atop the polls.
North Carolina replaced Duke in the top spot on December 16 and remained there for five weeks. The Cavaliers fell to the Tar Heels 81-73 in Chapel Hill on January 10.
Duke moved back into the top spot following North Carolina's loss to Maryland on January 14. The newly reinstalled #1 Blue Devils downed the Cavaliers 72-65 in Charlottesville on January 24.
This is the 20th time in school history the Cavaliers have played the #1 team in the nation.
The Cavaliers have not fared well against top-ranked teams, posting a 1-18 all-time record. Virginia's lone win over the #1 team was an 86-73 win over North Carolina in Charlottesville on January 30, 1986.
Virginia has faced North Carolina nine times when the Tar Heels were ranked number one and have lost eight.
A look at Virginia's games against North Carolina when the Tar Heels were ranked #1 is below.
Date Site Result
2/11/57 UVa UNC, 68-59
1/9/82 UNC UNC, 65-60
3/7/82 Greensboro (ACC Trn.) UNC, 47-45
2/10/83 UNC UNC, 64-63
1/18/84 UNC UNC, 69-66
2/9/84 UVa UNC, 85-72
1/30/86 UVa UVa, 86-73
3/13/93 Charlotte (ACC Trn.) UNC, 74-56
1/10/98 UNC UNC, 81-73
Second Team in History to Face #1 Four Times
Tonight's game is the fourth time this season the Cavaliers have faced the #1 team in the nation, making Virginia just the second school in NCAA history to play four games against the #1 team in a season.
Southern California played (and lost) four games against UCLA during the 1966-67 season. The Bruins were ranked first in all 15 Associated Press polls that season en route to their third national championship in four years.
The Cavaliers have lost the first three games this season against top-ranked teams--twice to Duke and once to North Carolina.
Virginia is the only team in the nation that has played #1 three times this season. (Maryland will join UVa later in the week.)
There have been just 38 instances in NCAA history when a school has played the top-ranked team three times in a season, including Virginia and Southern California.
Virginia Wins with Defense
UVa has built a reputation for outstanding defensive play over the last 20 years and the tradition continues this season.
Virginia's opponents have shot 50 percent or better from the field in only 19 of the last 185 games dating back to the 1991-92 season.
Virginia's defensive statistics under head coach Jeff Jones are listed below.
Year FG% D PPG allowed
1990-91 .442 68.5
1991-92 .424 65.2
1992-93 .405 69.3
1993-94 .394 65.7
1994-95 .390 66.8
1995-96 .394 68.8
1996-97 .409 65.0
1997-98 .414 68.0
Jones' career .409 67.1
Turnovers Decrease Chances to Win
Turnovers are one thing that drive basketball coaches crazy. And this season turnovers have been a big bugaboo for head coach Jeff Jones and his staff as the Cavaliers are averaging 16.8 turnovers per game. Virginia has three games of 20+ turnovers and two others of 19 miscues.
The Cavaliers have 115 more turnovers than the opposition so far this season. They have also attempted 46 fewer shots despite having 19 more offensive rebounds than their opponents.
An inability to maximize their scoring chances has doomed the Cavaliers in several games this season as they have lost three games by seven points, two games by five points, two games by eight points, and others by four and 11 points.
In games when the Cavaliers have had as many or more turnovers than the opponent, they are 9-13.
Strangely, two of Virginia's three-lowest turnover totals have occurred in losses. The Cavaliers turned the ball over just 12 times against Richmond in the opener, but the Spiders scored 12 points off those turnovers and won by four points in double overtime.
The Cavaliers turned the ball over 12 times against Liberty on January 7. However, the Flames turned the extra possessions into 18 points and won by five points.
Overall this season the Cavaliers have a 0.87:1 assists-to-turnover ratio.
Virginia has had more turnovers than assists in each of the last two seasons.
Field Goal Shooting Improves this Season
Virginia has not been known recently for its field goal shooting proclivity, but so far this season the Cavaliers are shooting 45.1 percent from the field. This is a marked improvement from last season's mark of 42.7 percent.
Virginia topped the 40-percent mark in the first 16 games of the season before shooting a season-low 34.4 percent against Georgia Tech last month. (The season high is 58.9 percent vs. VMI on December 22.)
The Cavaliers have gotten back on track since the Georgia Tech game, shooting a combined 46.2 percent from the field while facing some of the best defensive clubs in the nation (N.C. State, Clemson, Duke, Wake Forest, Maryland, Florida State).
Already this season Virginia has topped 45 percent 13 times after doing so just 12 times in 31 games a year ago. The Cavaliers have only one sub-40 percent game this season after compiling 10 last year.
The Cavaliers' field goal shooting percentage this season is their best since shooting 45.5 percent in 1990-91.
For the first time in nine seasons, Virginia has three players shooting better than 50 percent from the field while playing at least 10 minutes per game (Colin Ducharme, Kris Hunter, Norman Nolan).
The 1988-89 squad had four (Matt Blundin, Bryant Stith, Kenny Turner, Curtis Williams).
Nolan Second in ACC in "Double Doubles"
Counted on to carry the scoring and rebounding load inside for the Cavaliers, Norman Nolan is excelling in both areas this season in what is shaping up to be the best season of his career.
He is third in the ACC in both scoring--21.1 ppg--and rebounding--8.5 rpg--this season.
Nolan has 11 "double doubles" this season, trailing Matt Harpring and Antawn Jamison by one.
Nolan's 11 "double doubles" equal Junior Burrough's total in 1994-95. Nolan has also tied Burrough for the most "double doubles" by a Cavalier in a season since Ralph Sampson had 24 as a senior in 1982-83.
Nolan had six "double doubles" last season and now has 21 for his career.
He turned in a fabulous Rainbow Classic in Hawaii, recording "double doubles" in all three Virginia games. His three "double doubles" were the most of any player in the Rainbow Classic. In fact, he was the only player with more than one.
For the tournament he finished third in scoring with 71 points (behind Kansas' Paul Pierce and Nebraska's Tyronn Lue). He was the tournament's second-leading rebounder with 31 boards, one fewer than Lester Earl of Kansas.
Nolan has hit a "double double" drought, going six games without one, his longest streak of the year.
His play since Christmas is outlined below.
FG FT Reb. Pts.
Nebraska 10-22 3-6 11 23
Brigham Young 10-16 4-8 10 24
New Mexico St. 8-19 8-10 10 24
Wake Forest 14-24 3-4 12 31
Liberty 11-17 8-10 8 30
North Carolina 11-20 7-9 8 29
Va. Tech 6-13 8-9 11 20
Ga. Tech 7-18 5-5 10 19
N.C. State 13-19 9-11 9 35
Clemson 5-12 0-3 5 10
Duke 7-16 8-10 6 22
Wake Forest 7-12 2-4 8 16
Maryland 9-19 2-6 7 20
Fla. State 10-18 6-7 6 26
Last 14 avg. 52.2% 71.6% 8.6 23.5
Season Avg. 53.3% 65.3% 8.5 21.1
Nolan Ninth in School History
Norman Nolan has led Virginia in rebounding the last two seasons and is bidding to lead for the third consecutive season in 1998. So far he holds a wide lead in the team rebounding race with an 8.5 rebounds per game average.
If he leads the team in rebounding again this season he would be the first Cavalier since Ralph Sampson to pace the team for three straight seasons. Sampson led all four years from 1980-83.
Nolan is ninth in school history with 685 career rebounds. Next on the list is Kenny Turner with 706 rebounds.
Staples Eyes NCAA Three-Point Record
Curtis Staples is known as one of the top three-point shooters in the nation. So far this season he is living up to his reputation, leading the nation with an average of 4.2 three-pointers per game.
He has led the Cavaliers in scoring six times, reaching the 20-point plateau each time.
Staples has tossed in at least five three-pointers in 11 games this season, including a season-best eight threes against Wake Forest late last month. Against the Demon Deacons, Staples connected on eight of 15 attempts from behind the arc to pace the Cavaliers with 24 points.
He tied the school record (set on several other occasions) for most three-point attempts in a game, and missed the school record for most treys in a game by one.
Staples has three of the top-five performances in the ACC this season for threes made in a game. (He tossed in seven threes against Richmond and Maryland.)
He has had a remarkably hot hand lately, averaging 6.3 treys and 21.7 points in the last three contests.
With a minimum of seven games left this season, Staples needs to average 4.3 three-pointers per game to break the NCAA record. Keith Veney, who played collegiately at Lamar and Marshall, is first with 409.
Staples' place on the NCAA three-point list is below.
Player, school, years 3FGM
1. Keith Veney, Lamar/Marshall, 1993-97 409
2. Doug Day, Radford, 1990-93 401
3. Curtis Staples, Virginia, 1995-98 380
Ducharme Equals Career High vs. Clemson
Colin Ducharme is one of the team's most intense players. Sometimes his intensity leads to being overly aggressive and a tendency to commit fouls, which usually limits his playing time. When he isn't hampered with foul difficulty he adds an extra dimension to the UVa offense.
He was whistled for at least four fouls in six consecutive games leading up to the January 12 encounter against state-rival Virginia Tech. In those six games he was averaging just 20.0 minutes of playing time per game.
He stayed out of foul trouble against the Hokies and showed what he can do by scoring a career-high 16 points in a career-high 36 minutes of action.
Ducharme was in foul trouble in the next two games (Georgia Tech, N.C. State) and fouled out against N.C. State after scoring three points.
Ducharme was one of Virginia's few bright spots in the loss at Clemson on January 20 as he showed once again what he can do when he isn't hampered with foul difficulties. He tied career highs in both points (16) and minutes played (36) against the Tigers and was whistled for just three fouls.
The Cavaliers are 20-10 in his career when Ducharme commits fewer than four fouls.
Ducharme leads the team in blocked shots (29), while averaging 8.2 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.
Nolan Has Some of ACC's Top Games
Norman Nolan, Georgia Tech's Matt Harpring and Antawn Jamison of North Carolina are the leading scorers and rebounders in the ACC this season.
So it should come as no surprise that this trio has turned in some of the top performances in the league.
Harpring and Jamison lead the conference with 12 "double doubles", one more than Nolan. They also have had 12 games with at least 10 rebounds, while Nolan has 11.
Nolan has scored at least 30 points in four games to lead the ACC. The rest of the players in the ACC have combined for eight 30-point games.
Nolan also has three of the top-eight scoring outputs in the league and is the first conference player since Joe Smith (Maryland) in 1994-95 to have at least four 30-point games in a season. (Smith had five.)
Nolan has scored in double figures in all 23 games this season, the only ACC player to reach double digits in each of his team's games.
His 16 rebounds vs. George Mason is tied with Matt Harpring for the most in the ACC this season.
While he doesn't lead the league in 20-point games, Nolan is one of only five league players with at least 10 20-point games this year. Jamison leads with 19, followed by Harpring with 15, Nolan with 12, and Virginia's Curtis Staples and Tech's Dion Glover with 10.
Staples Joins Select UVa Group
Sharpshooter Curtis Staples has been one of Virginia's most consistent scorers throughout his career, averaging between 11.9 and 14.0 points per game up to this season. So far this season he is averaging 17.8 points per game, the highest by a Virginia guard since Cory Alexander averaged 18.8 ppg as a sophomore in 1992-93.
Staples has scored 409 points this season to become just the sixth player in school history to score at least 350 points in all four years of varsity play.
Jeff Lamp was the first Cavalier to score at least 350 points in four consecutive seasons. He was followed by Ralph Sampson, Bryant Stith, Junior Burrough and Harold Deane.
Four others scored 350+ points in their three seasons of varsity play before freshmen became eligible to play in 1972-73. They are Buzzy Wilkinson, Bob McCarty, Jim Connelly and Barry Parkhill.
Nolan Gets to the Line
As one of the ACC's top post players, it's not surprising that Norman Nolan draws a lot of fouls while working down low.
He has made 96 of 147 free throw attempts this season, both career high figures.
He is third in the ACC in both free throws made and attempted (behind Antawn Jamison and Matt Harpring).
As an interesting aside, Nolan has made 24 more free throws than any other player on the team has attempted.
The last Cavalier to spend as much time as Nolan at the charity stripe was Junior Burrough. Burrough was 142 of 200 in 1994-95.
Freshman Hand Runs the Point
Freshman Donald Hand has started the last 14 games at point guard for the Cavaliers. As he has gained experience, he has stepped up his level of play. Hand's efforts were particularly important recently since back-up point guard Chezley Watson has missed the last four games due to the removal of his appendix on January 22. (Watson is expected to be ready for action tonight.)
Hand returned to the starting line-up for the Rainbow Classic after not starting the previous three games and played a key role in Virginia's win over Brigham Young in Hawaii.
The rookie from Paterson, N.J., tossed in a career-high 14 points and added four assists to pace the Wahoos. Twelve of his points came in the second half as Virginia withstood a furious BYU rally. He connected on three three-pointers in the final nine minutes to spur Virginia.
Hand is becoming more assertive in leading the Cavalier attack with each game.
He handed off a team-high seven assists, while grabbing a career-high six rebounds, against Georgia Tech on January 15.
In the next game, he tied Willie Dersch for game assists honors with four against N.C. State.
His quick hands enabled him to record a career-high five steals in just 22 minutes against Clemson.
Hand dished off a career-high nine assists against top-ranked Duke on January 24, while playing 38 minutes.
He scored 11 points, the second-highest total of his career, the last time out against Florida State, while playing a career-high 39 minutes.
Hand leads the team with 30 steals and is second in assists with 71. He is also averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.
Hand is second among ACC rookies in assists, fourth in steals and sixth in starts (16).
Nolan, Staples 1-2 in Scoring
As Virginia's leading returning scorers, it is no surprise that Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have carried the scoring load this season.
One of the two has led the team in scoring in every game this season except the Clemson game on January 20. (Colin Ducharme led with 16 points).
Overall this season there have been 18 games where the duo ranked 1-2 in scoring.
Nolan leads UVa in scoring, averaging 21.1 points per game, and has been on fire in the last 14 games. During the 14-game span he is averaging 23.5 points per game, while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 71.6 percent from the free throw stripe.
Staples is the only other Cavalier in double figures, averaging 17.8 points per game. He has been UVa's leading scorer in two of the last three games scoring 24 and 25 points to lead the Cavaliers.
Between them, Staples and Nolan have scored more than half of Virginia's points this season (895 of 1538).
They're There Every Night
Norman Nolan and Curtis Staples have started all 23 games this season for the Cavaliers. They are among only 16 players in the ACC to start each of their teams' games this season.
Staples worked his way into the starting line-up late in his freshman year in 1994-95, starting the last 10 games of the season. He has started 90 of the last 91 games in the backcourt for the Cavaliers. The only game he did not start was UVa's last home game last season on "Senior Day," a game where seniors traditionally start.
Nolan has started 75 of the last 81 games over the last three seasons. He started 26 games in each of the last two seasons.
Ducharme, Metheney in Top 10
Two of the most prolific shot blockers in Virginia history are active this season--Colin Ducharme and Chase Metheney.
Ducharme led the team with 41 rejections last season as a freshman. He is pacing the team again this season with 29 blocks.
Metheney, one of the tallest players in ACC history at 7-4, has been among the team's top-three shot blockers each of the last three seasons. He has swatted 19 shots this season, third on the squad.
Their place on the school's all-time blocked shots list is below.
Player, years BS
1. Ralph Sampson, 1980-83 462
2. Chris Alexander, 1993-96 148
3. Steve Castellan, 1976-79 108
4. Junior Burrough, 1992-95 96
5. Olden Polynice, 1984-86 86
6. Ted Jeffries, 1990-93 82
7. Colin Ducharme, 1997-98 70
8. Chase Metheney, 1996-98 66
Staples Works on the Boards
Curtis Staples has a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation's top long-range shooters, but an overlooked aspect of his game is his rebounding ability.
Standing just 6-3, Staples is third on the team in rebounding this season with a 4.6 rebounding average. His average should come as no surprise as his 4.6 rpg mark was second among ACC guards last season.
He is tied for second in rebounding with Florida State's LaMarr Greer among ACC backcourt players this season behind Dion Glover of Georgia Tech (5.2 rpg).
Staples has led Virginia on the boards twice this season, including against top-ranked Duke on January 24.
In the last 30 years, Cornel Parker is the only Cavalier perimeter player to average more than five rebounds per game in a season. A 6-7 swingman, Parker averaged 6.9 boards per game in 1992-93.