NC State Wolfpack vs Virginia Cavaliers Preview

The Virginia Cavaliers are coming to Raleigh, very slowly, today at 5:00pm to battle the Wolfpack; the game can be seen on ESPN2 with Dave O’Brien and Doris Burke providing commentary. Today’s game is important on many levels: the need to win at home, beating a high RPI team for resume building, and the fact I can’t stand losing to anyone who plays Sendekian. State leads the series 82-59 and owns a current win streak of 1, which came last year during the ACC Quarterfinals (75-56). Tony Bennett owns a 5-2 record against the Pack, Lowe (3-0), Gottfried (2-2); both losses to Gottfried have been in the ACC Tournament. Three of the last four games in this series have been decided by a single basket.

Tony Bennett and his sundial offense are a major pain in the rear for teams who aren’t disciplined or loaded with NBA talent. Their approach to slow it down, limit the number of possessions in the game, and then use their efficiency to win may be a purist’s dream come true but it’s usually boring as hell to watch. As you can see it’s not so much their offense that gets you but their defense, they force bad shots, they limit your second chances, and they don’t send you to the line, plus they force enough turnovers to be a problem.


Let’s take a look at who has the advantage when each team has the ball. Quick overview of the icons:
– One school logo = advantage
– Both school logos = relatively equal.
– Polar bear covering it’s eyes = they are so bad at that offensive category you need to avert your eyes.
– Statue with face in palm = the frustration all NC State fans feel when watching defense.

As we all know State’s offense works best in transition and if it’s forced into a halfcourt usually succeeds when they can get offensive rebounds. The problem is UVA’s defense plays to stop the transition game and force you to beat them by hitting your shots the first time, limiting second chances. It’s simply, we can’t afford a cold shooting night or being unable to get offensive rebounds. Plus, no more quick shots from inside the arc when there’s no one underneath to help you when you’re on a 1-on-3 fast break or any random 3fga if shooting 3’s isn’t your thing.

Surprisingly ours strengths match up with their strengths except for rebounding, the Pack must get better at it, especially with our size. I can’t say this enough, rebounding is about attitude just as much as fundamentals and positioning. They did great in the first half against ND but were lousy in the second, they must attack the boards for 40 minutes, it feeds the beast. In the end I think this game comes down to rebounding on both ends of the court.

KenPom likes UVA by 2, I’m going to say our bad luck against them in the regular season continues and hope my internal predictor is still wrong.


Joe Giglio (N&O)
NC State tries to build on Notre Dame win

N.C. State (11-4, 1-1 ACC) has lost each of the two regular-season games to Virginia in Gottfried’s first two seasons with the Wolfpack. It has cost N.C. State the tiebreaker in the seeding for the ACC tournament in both seasons, pushing the Wolfpack down to the No. 5 seed.

There are so many different parts from this season’s team from the previous two, Gottfried said he won’t even mention that to his team, but he did note the value of the losses to Tony Bennett’s team, which has been the No. 4 seed in the ACC tournament the past two seasons.

Gottfried was more concerned with how Virginia is playing now than in recent history. The Cavs struggled outside the ACC, losing to VCU, Wisconsin, Wisconsin-Green Bay and Tennessee, but their defense has found its form in the conference.

The Cavaliers beat Florida State 62-50 on the road last week and then pasted Wake Forest 74-51 on Wednesday night in Charlottesville, Va. The Wake win, after the Deacons had beaten North Carolina at home, got N.C. State’s attention.

“After seeing what they did to Wake the other night, we have to be on our toes, we have to be ready to play,” senior forward Jordan Vandenberg said. “Otherwise we’re going to be in for a bad day.”

Bennett’s program, known for its defensive prowess, is again one of the country’s best in scoring defense (55.9 points per game, third in the country) and third in the country in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted, tempo-free defensive metric.
Virginia vs. NC State preview: No, you’re slow, pal!

Startery Types

London Perrantes (6-2, 189) — His free throw rate is excellent, but he only occasionally shoots the ball, so his rate of 2.5 fouls drawn per 40 minutes is probably a better indicator of how often he’ll be creating problems in the lane in any given game. So when he tries to score, he’s good at getting a foul out of it; he just doesn’t try to score all that much. Solid assist and steal rates, poor turnover rate.

Malcolm Brogdon (6-5, 217) — Brogdon is shooting 36% from three after hitting 32.4% from outside last year, and considering both his modest 2FG% and high turnover rate, he seems like the sort you’d want to force to score off the dribble.

Joe Harris (6-6, 225) — Harris’ workload is down considerably, which makes little sense given his shooting percentages: 57.1% from two, 40% from three. He has a career-high TO% and a career-low FT%, and those things obviously aren’t helping right now, but they aren’t reason enough to start sending more possessions elsewhere. Go back to leaning on this guy more heavily, UVA. Or actually, wait until next game to do that.

Akil Mitchell (6-8, 235) — Mitchell was a significantly underrated asset last season, while this year, well … it’s tough to figure what’s happened. His shooting percentage inside the arc is down from 54.8% to 44.9%, his turnover rate is up, and he’s shooting a career-low 45.8% at the free throw line. Some of it might be explained by a larger role in the offense, except that his role has actually gotten smaller. Maybe last year was an aberration to some extent, but he hasn’t been this inefficient since his freshman year.

Mike Tobey (6-11, 253) — He wasn’t shy as a freshman, averaging 15.8 shots per 40 minutes, and that remains true in his second season. This time around, though, his 2FG% is way down. He’s been an exceptional offensive rebounder and shot blocker.

Bret Strelow (
Three to know: Virginia at N.C. State

3. Pace yourself

N.C. State ranks ninth in the ACC by averaging 66.9 possessions per game, and Virginia forces teams to play at a slower tempo than they’d like.

The Cavaliers rank third nationally in defensive efficiency, but N.C. State is coming off a balanced effort at Notre Dame. Kyle Washington replaced fellow freshman Lennard Freeman in the starting lineup, and eight of the Wolfpack’s nine scholarship players were in the game for between 13 and 28 minutes. T.J. Warren played a team-high 35.

“I like the fact that in the first half everybody that played got a basket and at least scored,” Gottfried said. “They felt good about their contributions offensively.”

Virginia also controls tempo with an offense predicated on screening. The Cavs force defenses to be patient and disciplined.

“I think if you tried to document how many true screens they set and use in a game, I don’t know that we play anybody that sets as many,” Gottfried said. “Some teams have great movement. Virginia has great movement with also a lot of screens away from the ball. They really screen you left and right.”

It’s likely that N.C. State employs some fullcourt pressure, which can create more of an up-and-down game or reduce the amount of time the Wolfpack has to play halfcourt defense against the Cavaliers’ offense.

Ryan Tice (
Gottfried: Pack must continue balance, toughness

“I think that our team realizes that T.J. needs to score, but I think they also realize that we’re going to be better if some other guys step up, as well,” head coach [db]Mark Gottfried[/dd] noted. “There’s a good balance that we have to get to where other guys are hunting for baskets, but at the same time, we don’t want T.J. to lose that aggressiveness.

“I felt good about [everybody else’s] contributions offensively against Notre Dame, but I feel like for us to become a good team, we do need a little bit more balance.”


Gottfried noted that toughness is one of the traits needed most when playing against Virginia, who the Pack will host on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Cavaliers rank second in the ACC for scoring defense (55.9 points per game) and have started off 2-0 in league play.

“I think they’re playing their best basketball without question,” he said. “Watching Florida State last night play on the road at Clemson and win made the Virginia win at Florida State a little more impressive. Then, against Wake Forest, I thought they were terrific from the tip-off, they were just good from bell to bell.

“They’re playing with a lot of confidence and we have to be able to match that. This is going to be a good challenge for our group, they have to learn how to really execute against a strong defensive team.”

Norm Wood (
Virginia heads to Tobacco Road for daunting, two-game trip

Given how U.Va. (11-4, 2-0 ACC) played in victories at Florida State and against Wake Forest this week, the Cavaliers should have no shortage of confidence heading to Tobacco Road.

U.Va.’s re-energized approach to defense, which was responsible for holding FSU to 30.8 percent shooting from the floor and Wake Forest to 35.4 percent shooting, will be tested by offensively stout N.C. State and Duke. Sophomore guard Malcolm Brogdon led U.Va. against Wake Forest with 14 points.

“These are two tough road games for us coming up,” said U.Va. guard Joe Harris, who showed no ill-effects Wednesday against Wake Forest in scoring 11 points after sustaining a concussion last Saturday at FSU. “N.C. State is very good. It’s a tough environment to play in. It’ll be a first for most of the guys on the team. I don’t think anybody besides Akil (Mitchell) and I and Darion (Atkins) and Malcolm have played at N.C. State before.

“We get to show we can play on the road. As long as we prepare the same way we have these last couple games, I feel like we should be feeling good about ourselves and have confidence going into those games.”

Norm Wood (
ACC All Access: Virginia’s Joe Harris is recovering from concussion-like symptoms sustained at Florida State

Virginia coach Tony Bennett would love to take Joe Harris’ word that he’s feeling better after suffering concussion-like symptoms Saturday and leaving the game early in U.Va.’s 62-50 win at Florida State.

Bennett knows better. Admitting he’s hurt isn’t part of Harris’ nature. Instead of relying on Harris’ word, Bennett was hoping to get some encouraging results Monday afternoon from concussion tests administered to Harris.

“He’d lie to you and tell you he feels good even when he doesn’t,” said Bennett, whose team hosts Wake Forest (11-3 overall, 1-0 ACC) on Wednesday. “I think that the test will hopefully show that he does feel OK.”

Harris, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, was in the game at FSU for less than three minutes before he was injured during a loose ball scrum. He didn’t attempt a shot and sat on the bench for the rest of the game.

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

13-14 Basketball

Home Forums NC State Wolfpack vs Virginia Cavaliers Preview

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  • #36674

    Of course, Troll. There is no comparison. But the benchmark for success should not be the worst coach in ACC history. I can assure you Yow does not view it that way.


    Two words that should make every state vomit in their mouths: Gregg Marshall

    But deb yow didn’t like him, so….


    Calmed down enough to write. From the second level, it was NOT pretty. Crowd was fairly large. Only two sections on each end of the third level were empty.

    STILL some vacant seats in the 100 PRIME section….so much for all those VICIOUS emails and all those THREATENING Robo Calls.

    This was the perfect storm….you could analyze for days…It was absolutely the WORST and MOST DISHEARTENING GAME that I have witnessed….Maybe the Duke game or whatever….I can not recall and am NOT going to dig out stats. I watched about half of Les and Herb….All of LOWE and GOTT. This game goes BACK to Les….Lowe did not field a team this bad.

    SO, what were the elements of the storm?

    Vandy was NOT even in the arena today. His body was there…but NOT his brain. Of course, he did have a FEW other compadres….that also seemed to suffer from that affliction. It is almost like the Polar Vortex (remember this was a 1970’s term that the “ICE AGE IS COMING AGAIN” Enviro Agitators USED…) freeze dried their brains…..and they have not yet thawed out.

    Entire team was totally out of it….they played for 2 minutes and then got zapped by some alien power….and the rest is history.

    Gott GOTT OUT Coached….IMHO. He had them WELL prepared for VA’s usual snail’s pace and deliberate game. Only thing, Bennett pulled a Jimmy V and took RIGHT TO THEM. We got shell shocked and NEVER got on track or recovered. What is REALLY irritating (I am PAST using frustrating) is that they did NOT know WHAT to do.

    NOW…some defense (which was missing on the floor, BTW)….we did put up a LOT of nice looking shots. BUT, the ones in the paint were too tentative. A LOT of balls bounced out…that should have went in. Our shooting percentage was UGLY…PURET UGLY. If you look at the box score, there is NO joy there…except the Zeb’s called it LOOSE.

    NOW, the ZEB’s….they did seem to be a little less than whistle happy when we had the ball. I would say that probably 50% of the calls that the made on us could be challenged…but you can NOT blame the Zebs.

    So factor in a HOT and Rabid UVA Team (as compared to slow and methodical). With NO prep for that, we folded. Gott did call a TO early to stem it…but that was like talking to the crew of the Titanic….they had already read the book…and KNEW their fate.

    This is an interesting day for sports trivia buffs. HOW many times has the BIG FOUR ALL lost a game on the same day? Don’t know…someone does.

    Gott’s body language said it all. He did NOT know what to do. He kept experimenting with lineups….I thought that Patrick and Stots might be brought in. He pulled one of Dean’s trick and pulled the line-up save TJ…might as well pulled him.

    I honestly thought that Gott should have pulled an Abe Lemmons and had them scrimmage Shirts vs. Skins during the half (NIT, Jan 1977, Madison Square Garden)….

    I di NOT bother or want to listen to the Post Morteum on the radio…I could NOT take it…

    BUT, I will still put on my red socks and undies and all other “good luck stuff” for the next game and will be there for MD….

    Tonight, I felt like GOTT and the Team was at Hotel UVA and they NEVER left the place and the Masters stabbed them with their steely knives….until we gave up a 30 POINT V…as compared to a 2 point underdog.


    The high post is relatively complex. We play 4 freshman. This season should be devoted to player development. Play Lewis and Anya much more and hope Lewis doesn’t transfer which looks very possible at this point. I can’t blame him.

    I do day dream what a coach like Gary Williams could do with this team.


    Not so much about the game but I just don’t see how Lewis doesn’t transfer.

    As for the game (and many other games) we have long periods of being lost. Really lost tonight. I’m not throwing anybody under the bus or going negative on Gott. However , it does seem as if we are winning or staying in games with talent alone. Maybe it is just me but the offense seems as if it’s just fly by the pants style. It just seems as if there is no guidance. The body language of the players and most importantly the coaches don’t reflect anything good at the moment.


    Sigh. I watched very little of that game. Who wants to see that crap.
    Long year ahead


    Ken Medlin provide the answer to my trivia question…

    18 year ago….UNC & Duke & NCSU all lost a BB game on the SAME day.

    However, throw in WF (the old BIG FOUR) and it may NEVER have happened. He stopped looking when he got to the WWII years….

    A fan in our Lenovo CC area predicted the Headlines in the N&O this morning….

    Duke not tough enough….”upset”
    UNC can’t solve Cuse Zone & “pressure mounts”

    However, of the TOP 6 trending stories, THREE were about UNC’s “situation”….but NC State’s Annihilation was also in there.


    In reference to the team comparison chart, and based on the Pack’s performance against Virginia, do you have a picture of a polar bear with a pitch fork shoved up his ass?


    Taped the game because I’d rather watch the Seahawks live. I watched the first 2-3 mins in real time and then fast forwarded at 4X speed the rest of the game with my eye on the score. Thought my DVR was broken cause only one score was changing. God awful dog vomit of a game. No passion.

    El Lobo Loco!

    at least the Wolfpack Women keep rolling!
    Reynolds it will be


    I’ve been an NC State basketball fan since 1985 (sorry that I missed 1983, but, sh*t happens). I’ve held season tickets during the Les Robinson, Herb Sendek, and Sidney Lowe era.

    Saturday was the first time in all of those years that I’ve ever turned a game off early.

    We appeared unprepared, under coached, and severely lacking in talent. I’m not saying that we should have won the game, but we weren’t competitive and didn’t really appear interested in being competitive.

    That was, IMHO, Gott’s worst coaching performance, and for the first time, I’m starting wonder if Gott’s got what it takes to lead us out of this cess pool of mediocrity. I’m willing to give him a break for having a young team and everything, but this was just a disaster. Like the games against Missouri and Pitt, just punch us in the gut and we surrender.

    Once is an anomaly, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern. If you throw UNCG into the mix, four times is a habit.


    Joe Giglio: “N.C. State gave up 48 points in the second half of a Jan. 4 home loss to Pittsburgh and 48 in the first half of Saturday’s home loss to Virginia. Plain and simple, you can’t give up that many points in a half of college basketball, let alone to teams like Pitt and Virginia, who are not exactly the most advanced offensively.”

    Yep, plain and simple, if Gott does not find a way to improve the Pack’s defense, we’re not going anywhere. Not this year and not in future years.

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