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Tar Heels next up in Virginia's bowl drive

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Tar Heels next up in Virginia's bowl drive

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Virginia would like to use the spotlight of a Thursday night game to show that its football program really is on the way up, even if its record suggests otherwise.

The Cavaliers (4-6, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) host North Carolina on Senior Night. While at least 16 players will be playing their final home game at Scott Stadium, they say sentimentality takes a back seat to winning.

``Everyone who loves college football is watching this game, and it's a statement game,'' senior linebacker LaRoy Reynolds said this week. ``... The atmosphere is going to be great, The feeling of playing the last home game, being with the team again and working to get this bowl bid - I think the energy's going to be there, the passion's going to be there and the effort is definitely going to be there.''

Virginia has won two in a row after a six-game losing streak, and still needs to beat the Tar Heels and then state rival Virginia Tech in next weekend's regular season finale to qualify for a bowl game.

The victories at N.C. State and at home against Miami have their confidence soaring.

``We knew we needed to turn this thing around before it was too late,'' senior linebacker Steve Greer said. ``We did put ourselves in this position. I think everyone's all-in, everyone's bought in, so we're going to have to go out and we're facing a good team, so we're going to have to play well.''

North Carolina (6-4, 3-3) would be in contention to win the ACC's Coastal Division title if not for a one-year postseason ban imposed by the NCAA. The Tar Heels relish the chance to keep Virginia home, too.

``We're all about trying to spoil other people's stuff, I guess,'' tailback Gio Bernard said this week. ``We don't have a Christmas present. We want to try to take away other people's Christmas presents, I guess you could say it like that. But for the most part, we just want to keep winning.''

Or get back to it, especially after the way the Tar Heels lost last weekend.

While Virginia won a stirring duel with Miami 41-40 on Michael Rocco's 10-yard touchdown pass to Jake McGee with 6 seconds left, the Tar Heels broke futility records in a 68-50 home loss to Georgia Tech.

The loss made having a short week a blessing, first-year coach Larry Fedora said.

``You really don't have time to dwell on it,'' he said. ``Probably the best thing for us is we play the short week. So mentally you don't have time to think about it. You don't have time to cry about it.

``You've got to step up. You've got to go. It's time to go again.''

Virginia intends to continue with its quarterback rotation, using both Rocco and Alabama transfer Phillip Sims, even after Rocco completed a school-record 18 consecutive passes against the Hurricanes.

The coaching staff and players might prefer having more time to prepare for Bernard. He has already rushed for 1,008 yards, by far the most in the ACC, and is averaging 7.1 yards per carry. He is also the conference's top punt returner with a 17.9-yard average and two returns for touchdowns.

``He's a great player, a great running back, probably one of the best that we're going to play against,'' Reynolds said. ``I have a lot of respect for him, but you live for competition like this.''

The Tar Heels are third in the league with an average of 40 points a game. Quarterback Bryn Renner hopes to hit the ground running at Scott Stadium and take the fans out of the game quickly.

``We're going to be on the road and they're going to be excited at home,'' Renner said. ``One thing about college football is it is about momentum. If we control that early and get some big plays, get some stops on defense and make some big plays on special teams, then we'll be ok the rest of the game.''

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AP Sports Writer Aaron Beard in Chapel Hill. N.C., contributed to this report.

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2019 NBA Draft: Hawks trade up to No. 4, reportedly plan to pick Virginia's De'Andre Hunter

2019 NBA Draft: Hawks trade up to No. 4, reportedly plan to pick Virginia's De'Andre Hunter

The first big move of NBA Draft night - according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski - was to help Atlanta land Virginia's De'Andre Hunter.

Per Wojnarowski Atlanta has acquired the No. 4 pick from the Pelicans, which they got from the Lakers in the mega-deal for Anthony Davis, for the picks No. 8, 17, and 35. With that fourth overall selection, the Hawks plan to take Hunter. 

Hunter, the reigning ACC Defensive Player of the Year and a member of UVA's national championship team this past season, was profiled in NBC Sports Washington's I Am The Prospect series.

In his interview with NBC Sports Washington, Hunter described what he expects draft night to be like for him and his family. 

"Draft night's gonna be really emotional. I don't know if I'm gonna cry or not, but I know a few members of my family will be crying, so that'll probably get to me a little bit," Hunter said. "It's gonna be a great moment for not only me but for my family as well."

In another pre-draft trade, the Suns have acquired the No. 11 pick and forward Dario Saric from the Timberwolves for the No. 6 pick, per Wojnarowski

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2019 NBA Draft: All the best and wildest draft suits from the red carpet in New York

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2019 NBA Draft: All the best and wildest draft suits from the red carpet in New York

It's NBA Draft night! That means prospects are about to begin the most exciting time of their professional lives. It also means they're going to show up in wild, sometimes fly, sometimes ill-advised outfits on the red carpet. 

Here's a quick roundup of what everybody's rocking this year. 

Bol Bol, Oregon

Is this one of the boldest draft looks ever? Hard to top rhinestone spider webs. 

RJ Barrett, Duke

Bright pink suit, custom Canadian flag lining and spiked loafers. A whole lot of look for Barrett. 

Zion Williamson, Duke

Williamson went with a cream tuxedo without a tie. 

Cam Reddish, Duke

Reddish opted for a gold-on-black print jacket and black shirt and pants, finished off with a simple gold chain and Versace loafers. 

Ja Morant, Murray State

Not only is Morant rocking a blue-purple pinstripe suit, but also he's wearing a pocket square of his own face! This is not a drill. 

Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga

Hachimura payed homage to his roots with his draft-night 'fit. In a burgundy and blue suit and shirt, he showed off fabrics from Japan and Benin in the lining of his jacket. 

This post will continue updating throughout the night

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