NC State (23-9) vs. Virginia (21-10)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, March 15, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Greensboro Coliseum (23,500) -- Greensboro, North Carolina. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: NC State 16-1, Virginia 18-1. Away Record: NC State 2-9, Virginia 3-8. Neutral Record: NC State 4-1, Virginia 0-1. Conference Record: NC State 11-7, Virginia 11-7. Series Record: NC State leads, 81-59.
GAME NOTES: The fourth-seeded Virginia Cavaliers will get their postseason underway on Friday, taking on the NC State Wolfpack in quarterfinal action of the ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Tony Bennett's Cavaliers earned the fourth and final first-round bye with their usual stingy defensive play. Virginia (21-10) actually finished in a tie with NC State for fourth in the league standings at 11-7, but won the head-to- head battle in usual fashion (58-55). Virginia doesn't have a great track record in this event, with a 31-58 overall record. The Cavaliers have just one tournament title on their resume and that came way back in 1976.
The Wolfpack will get another crack at the Cavs after making light work of Virginia Tech in the first round on Thursday, 80-63. With the win, Mark Gottfried's squad moved to 23-9 overall, helping improve its already NCAA Tournament worthy resume. NC State has won 10 ACC Tournament titles overall, but like Virginia, it has been quite a while, with the last championship coming in 1987.
The winner of this game will move into Saturday's semifinal round against either top-seed Miami-Florida or eight-seed Boston College.
The Wolfpack came into the season with a ton of hype and were not only regarded as the favorite in the ACC, but a real contender for the national title. The team didn't really live up to expectations, but possesses the kind of firepower to make an extended postseason run. Loaded with offensive weapons, NC State averaged the second-best scoring total in the ACC (77.7 ppg), while ranking first in field-goal percentage (.494). Five Wolfpack players rank among the top-25 in the league in scoring, headlined by C.J. Leslie (14.9 ppg) and Richard Howell (12.7 ppg), who leads the conference in rebounding (10.6 rpg). Howell led the way in the first round with a double- double consisting of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Leslie followed with 15 points, while Scott Wood and T.J. Warren tallied 13 points apiece. The usually efficient Wolfpack were at it again, converting a hefty 52.8 percent from the floor against Virginia Tech
While ranking just 11th in the conference in scoring (64.3 ppg), it isn't at the offensive end of the floor where Virginia wins games. The Cavaliers lead the conference in scoring defense (54.5 ppg), ranking fourth nationally in that regard. The result of the play at the defensive end is a team that ranks second in the ACC in scoring margin (+9.8). Despite modest offensive numbers overall, the Cavs do have a potent inside/out game led by guard Joe Harris (17.0 ppg) and forward Akil Mitchell (13.1 ppg, 8.9 rpg). Scoring depth is scarce beyond the top two though, as no one on the team other than Harris and Mitchell are netting more than 6.6 points per game.
The Wolfpack were stifled by the Cavaliers in their only meeting this season, but NC State is coming off a strong offensive showing against Virginia Tech and it may carry over in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 74, Virginia 64
03/15 10:33:41 ET