Coming off a come from behind victory at home in a must win game against ND, the Pack go on the road for an intriguing match up against Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech was historically good under Buzz, but he left for Texas $$$.
VT has an entirely new coaching staff, and has had plenty of roster turnover. Five of the top seven players getting minutes for the Hokies are freshman.
VT is led by freshman Landers Nolley. He's a 6 ft 7, 225 pound forward who is averaging 17 points and 6 rebounds per game while shooting 40% from three. He's a one man match up nightmare for most teams, but NC State might be better positioned than most to guard him given we plan a small PF.
While no one else on the Hokies is averaging over 10 points per game, an interesting player to watch will be freshman guard Jalen Cone. Cone was a Wolfpack recruit from Walkertown, NC who picked VT seemingly due to immediate PT. Two thirds of his shots come from the 3 point line, where he is shooting a blistering .558! When we look for players that might have a bit of extra motivation in a game (and thus play better than they normally do), Cone's the one that jumps out.
At a team level, VT is a little better than the Pack on defense, but not as good on offense. On offense, they're primarily a 3 point shooting, perimeter oriented team that plays at a very deliberate pace (318th nationally). They rank 5th in the country in percentage of points coming from 3, and in the bottom (330s) in percentage of points coming from 2 or from the FT line. As one would expect from a smaller, guard oriented team, they protect the ball very well, and generate a lot of assists (top 10 in both categories). They don't rebound offensively all that well.
On defense, they're kind of a mirror image. They give up a ton of 3 pointers and points from the perimeter. Nothing stands out as good, outside of the fact that they don't foul. They're 2nd in the nation in limiting the free throws taken by their opponents.
Speaking of opponents, VT and State have one common one in Clemson. VT beat Clemson by 7 on the road the first game of the season. We know what happened to the Pack when they recently made the same trip south.
The thing to watch for with NC State is the general is the health of our players. One would have to give the older NC State team an advantage if playing with a full roster, but currently with State it feels like we don't know who is going to be available or 100% on any night.
KenPom likes the Hokies at home by 1. Given the match up (grinding team that protects the ball, doesn't foul and shoots 3s) as well as the uncertainty in NC State's roster, I tend to agree.
If we get a healthy CJ Bryce back, and he plays to his pre-injury level, then things look a bit different. That's a lot to ask related to the recovery from a concussion.
- Will CJ Bryce play against VT?20 votes
- Will CJ be pre-injury CJ if he does play?20 votes
- Who wins?20 votes