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Wednesday at 6:30 PM will bring us round two of the home and home with UVA. The Wolfpack have won 3 in a row on the road in ACC play for the first time in a long time. Somehow getting to four in a row would probably be the first time since V.
It'd also be nice for the Wolfpack to get a quality win. NC State is currently 0-6 against Q1/Q1a competition, so any NCAA tournament is gone barring a miracle ACC tournament run. At the same time, getting a win against one of the league's better teams would do wonders for the Pack's confidence.
UVA on the other hand has a lot to play for. They enter the game 15-5 (11-3) but on a two game skid. They got blasted by FSU 81-60, and then lost in Cameron to Duke on Friday by 1. It's been over a year since the Wahoos have had a three game skid, and I am sure they view the Pack as a nice "get well" opponent. It'd be nice to end the season with some momentum headed into the offseason.
The NC State's coaching staff has a lot of recent game tape on how to beat the Wahoos. FSU scorched the nets going 13-24 (54%) from the 3 point line. They paired it with winning the battle of the boards 31-25 and turned it over only 5 times vs UVA's 13. FSU was locked in, much like they were when they demolished the Pack in Tallahassee. UVA just ran into a buzz saw, much like they did Gonzaga earlier in the season.
The Duke game was a bit closer. Matthew Hurt went 5 for 8 from the 3 point line, and Duke forced more UVA turnovers than they committed. Watching the game, Duke sped UVA up heavily in the first half on the way to 39 points and a half time lead. The second half was played more to UVA's liking and Duke only scored 21 points in the first 16 minutes of the second half largely because they were stuck in a half court game.
The good news for the Pack is that its recent success has been largely tied to using a larger line up featuring Seabron paired with an increased sense of urgency and pace. Going big should help on the boards (the Pack outrebounded UVA the first game), but more importantly Seabron is a one man coast to coast fast break. An increased pace should help the Pack get some easy buckets without playing against UVA's set defense.
The Cavaliers won the first game at the free throw line where they shot 20-22. It was a complete outlier on the season for UVA as they went to the line on 53% of their offensive shots. To put things in perspective, UVA went to the line on 3.6% of their shots against Clemson, 4.1% of their shots against GT and 6.3% of their shots against lowly Towson State. UVA isn't a team that gets to the line (currently 342nd out of 347 teams nationally), unless they're playing NC State.
Looking at the box score gives one an indication of why -- TV Teddy was on the whistle. Grudges die hard. Someone really needs to look into this officiating thing.......
The Pack CAN win this game, but it will take a lot of focus, pushing the pace relentlessly and a fair whistle. I suspect UVA will be locked in, and give the Pack their best effort. The computers like UVA by 8 points and give the home squad an 83% chance of winning.