N.C. State Wolfpack (11-4, 2-0) @ Virginia Cavaliers (13-0, 1-0) – 7pm @ John Paul Jones Arena | TV: Espn2
The Wolfpack head to Charlottesville tonight, looking to improve to 3-0 in ACC play while facing a highly ranked foe. N.C. State got a nice bounce back victory over Pitt their last time out, capitalizing on an active and stingy defensive effort to pull away from the Panthers in the 2nd half. The Pack will need more of the same tonight in their first ACC road contest as they take on the AP #3 ranked Virginia Cavaliers.
Virginia enters tonight’s contest with a chance to improve to 14-0 for the first time since Ralph Sampson’s 1980-’81 UVa squad started out 23-0. This season’s edition of the Cavaliers has thus far built on the successes that last season’s squad were able to accomplish. The 2013-’14 season was a banner season for UVa – they captured both the ACC regular season and tournament titles, made the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, and head coach Tony Bennett garnered the ACC Coach of the Year selection.
The Cavaliers have shown no signs of taking any steps backwards this season, as they’re currently rated third in the RPI and their 13-0 mark includes wins over Maryland, VCU, and a ridiculous 49 point thrashing of Harvard that saw the Crimson score a total of 27 points. Virginia’s toughest contests have come in their last two games – versus Davidson and a two overtime contest at Miami. Both the Wildcats and the Hurricanes used efficient, high movement and ball screen (pick and roll) offenses to push UVa.
The hallmark of Tony Bennett’s Virginia teams is the ‘pack line defense‘. The Wolfpack will need some crisp and efficient offensive execution tonight, as well as solid rebounding and a continuation of the defensive effort seen on Saturday to try and steal a victory.
Please share your thoughts and Go Pack!