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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, March 14, 2 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Greensboro Coliseum (23,500) -- Greensboro, North Carolina. Television: ESPN U, ACC Network. Home Record: VT 10-7, NCST 16-1. Away Record: VT 2-9, NCST 3-7. Neutral Record: VT 1-2, NCST 3-1. Conference Record: VT 4-14, NCST 11-7. Series Record: NC State leads, 36-14.
GAME NOTES: The 12th-seeded Virginia Tech Hokies tangle with the fifth-seeded NC State Wolfpack on Thursday night in the first round of the 2013 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament from Greensboro Coliseum.
Awaiting the winner in the quarterfinal round on Friday afternoon is fourth- seeded Virginia.
Virginia Tech fans haven't had much to cheer about this season, as their team went just 13-18 overall and 4-14 in the ACC, winning back-to-back games just once since December. The Hokies closed out the regular season with losses in three of their last four, including a 90-79 setback at Wake Forest on Sunday.
Considered one of the favorites in the ACC at the beginning of the season, NC State had a strong campaign but did not live up to its lofty expectations, missing out on a first-round bye in this tournament by going 11-7 in league play. The Wolfpack had been winners of six of seven heading into their regular-season finale at Florida State, but they came away with a 71-67 defeat to dip to 22-9 overall.
NC State took down Virginia Tech in the only meeting between the two teams this season, 90-86, in overtime on Feb. 16. The Wolfpack lead the all-time series, 36-14.
The Hokies put forth a strong shooting effort in their latest game, making just shy of 50 percent of their attempts, but the problem was their inability to slow down Wake Forest, which shot nearly 60 percent from the field. Despite the loss, Erick Green was outstanding, shooting 9-of-18 from the floor and 14- of-18 from the foul line for a career-high-tying 35 points. Marquis Rankin netted 15 points off the bench, while Jarell Eddie finished with 13 points and six rebounds. Green has been fantastic all season long, shooting greater than 48 percent from the field for national-best 25.4 ppg, which was good enough to earn him ACC Player of the Year honors. Eddie is a solid second option with 12.0 ppg to go along with 5.7 rpg, but while VaTech boasts the ACC's fifth- ranked offense, it couldn't break free from the bottom of the league standings due to the league's worst scoring defense (74.6 ppg).
Despite leading its last game by three points with just over three minutes to play, NC State fell victim to a 12-5 run by FSU to close things out as it suffered the disappointing loss. Scott Wood poured in 18 points to lead all scorers, while Lorenzo Brown tallied 14 points and eight assists but also committed seven turnovers. Richard Howell logged 10 points and nine boards, corralling his 1,000th career rebound in the process. Much like Virginia Tech, the Wolfpack have no problem putting up points, as they score 77.7 ppg on an ACC-best 49.4 percent shooting effort, but they too have been hindered by a poor scoring defense (70.4 ppg). The deep squad has the league's top assist man in Lorenzo Brown (7.0 apg), the top rebounder in Howell (10.6 ppg), and the leader in 3-pointers in Scott Wood (86). Howell, Brown, Wood, T.J. Warren and C.J. Leslie make up one of the most deadly starting lineups in the nation, as they all net between 12.1 ppg and 14.9 ppg.
Both teams have potent offenses and suspect defenses, so points should come in bunches in this one. Green is the best player on the floor, but the Hokies can not match up with the Wolfpack's depth.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: NC State 86, Virginia Tech 76
03/14 10:51:41 ET