After beating NCCU Saturday, the Wolfpack go on the road Wednesday evening to Charlottesville, Va. to take on the surprising Cavaliers, who moved to 4-2 in the ACC by defeating UNC Sunday. Virginia dominated the Heels from start to finish in Chapel Hill Sunday evening, shooting almost 52 percent from the field while holding the Tar Heels to 35 percent shooting and forcing 17 turnovers. Sylven Landesberg, who is fast emerging as the most complete offensive player in the conference, torched the Heels for 29 points on 11-19 shooting. In Virginia’s 70-62 victory over NC State Jan. 9, Landesberg went for 23.
NC State may have to get creative on the defensive end Wednesday to try and shut down Landesberg. During Sidney Lowe’s radio show Monday evening a caller asked the coach if he would employ different “junk” defenses like the box-and-1 to try and slow down Landseberg.
“I tell you what you’re a pretty good thinker,” Lowe chuckled in response to the question. “Yeah he’s such a tough player, we’re going to have to look at doing a few things. Certainly good solid man-to-man, but more importantly we have to be good with our help defense.”
On another side note, Lowe has not yet decided whether Javi Gonzalez will be in the starting lineup Wednesday. Gonzalez did not start against NCCU because he broke a team rule prior to the game.
NC State Travels to Virginia
After downing non-conference foe NC Central, 77-42, over the weekend, the Pack returns to ACC play and heads to Virginia for a Wednesday night affair. The Pack is 1-2 on the road in conference play this season, winning at No. 25 Florida State, and NC State will be playing three of the next four games on the road. Virginia won the season’s first match up between the two teams, as the Cavs won in Raleigh on January 9, 70-62. The game will be broadcasted on ESPNU with Dan McLaughlin and Tim Welsh.
The Series Versus Virginia
NC State holds an 80-55 advantage in the all-time series with Virginia, which dates back to the 1912-13 season. The Pack holds a 38-18 advantage in games in Raleigh and 19-2 edge at neutral sites, but Virginia holds a 35-23 mark in games in Charlottesville. This is the first time since 2006-07 the teams are meeting twice in a season. NC State has won three of its last six trips to Virginia, but is 0-2 all-time at the John Paul Jones Arena. Virginia has won the last two, 67-62 in 2007 and 78-60 in 2008.
Earlier This Season Against Virginia
NC State lost a 10-point second-half lead, as Virginia downed the Pack, 70-62, in the ACC opener at the RBC Center on January 9. NC State closed the first half on a 16-6 run, and opened the second half on a 12-6 run to grab a double digit lead of 42-32 at the 13:31 mark. After a charging cal on the Pack at 11:20, Virginia would go on a 13-3 run and capture its first lead of the second half at 49-48 with 6:17 left. Virginia closed the game by making 17 straight free throws, and went 19-of-20 for the game, and the Pack made just 16-of-26 attempts. Tracy Smith led the Pack with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Dennis Horner added 12 points.
Tony Haynes put together a nice preview of tomorrow’s match up.
Sure NC State lost to Florida on a shocking 70-foot heave by Chandler Parsons, and sure the Wolfpack also fell at Arizona on a runner at the buzzer by Nic Wise. But of all the close defeats suffered by the Pack this season, the one that might have stuck in coach Sidney Lowe’s craw the most was a 70-62 lost to Virginia back on January 9th.
Building a 10-point lead by the midway point of the second half, NC State had several opportunities to put the Cavaliers on life support simply by knocking down some free throws.
But it didn’t work out that way.
Emboldened by the Wolfpack’s futility at the line in the final 10 minutes, Virginia – led by star Sylven Landesberg (23 points) and center Mike Scott (14) – stormed back to post an eight-point win.
And while NC State was missing 10-of-26 tries from the charity stripe, the Cavaliers knocked down 19-of-20, including 17 in a row down the stretch to ice it.
Unfortunately there will be no live blog tomorrow due to work schedules, but we will have an open post for you all to comment on during the game. Stay tuned.