Jan. 10, 2014
The Last Meeting
March 15, 2013
In each of the past two seasons, NC State has defeated Virginia in the ACC Tournament. In Mark Gottfried's two seasons at NCSU, the Wolfpack and the Cavaliers have tied in the league standings. The close proximity of the two teams makes Saturday's tilt vs. Virginia a very important game.
Coming off an impressive win at Notre Dame, Gottfried has the Wolfpack focused on the next game.
"We have 18 games, and they all count for one," Gottfried said. "You can be excited if you have a nice win. But you have to be ready to play the next night. And our young guys are trying to figure that out."
Virginia (11-4, 2-0) enters Saturday's game after double-digit wins over Florida State and Wake Forest. The Cavaliers are led by preseason All-ACC pick Joe Harris (10.3 ppg).
"They're playing their best basketball," Gottfried said of the Cavaliers. "Against Wake Forest, they were terrific. They're playing well. They have a lot of confidence."
The Wolfpack (11-4, 2-0) won 77-70 at Notre Dame on Tuesday with one of the season's more balanced offensive attacks. Leading scorer T.J. Warren tallied a team-high 17 points, but he was supported by Anthony 'Cat' Barber with 16 and Desmond Lee and Ralston Turner each scored 12. Barber also made a half-court shot as time expired in the first half, a play that gave the Wolfpack a halftime lead as well as some momentum.
Following Saturday's contest, NC State will play at Wake Forest Wednesday, Jan. 15.
1. CONTRAST IN STYLES
Saturday's game between NC State and Virginia will pit two contrasting styles of play against each other. Virginia's grinding, defense-minded style has resulted in UVa ranking second in the ACC in scoring defense (55.9) while ranking 14th in scoring (65.2). The fast-paced play of NC State's offensive has put the Wolfpack near the top of the league in scoring offense that last few seasons, with NCSU currently standing sixth in the conference (74.5).
2. A KEY ACC CONTEST EARLY
Although it's just the third ACC game of an 18-game slate, Saturday's contest between the Wolfpack and Cavaliers may have heavy implications later in the season. In each of the past two seasons, the two schools have tied for fourth in the ACC standings. Virginia's 58-55 win over NC State ended up being the difference between the Nos. 4 and 5 seeds in the 2013 ACC Men's Basketball Championship. The fact that NC State and Virginia play just one time this year provides a built-in tie-breaker later in the season if the two teams are close to each other in the standings.
3. THE ACC'S BEST SCORER
The ACC's leading scorer is 6-8 sophomore wingman T.J. Warren, who ranks sixth in the nation averaging 23.4 points per game. The 6-8 sophomore continues to show he is one of the more efficient scorers in all of college basketball, ranking fourth in the ACC with a .518 field goal percentage (minimum 5 FG made per game). He shot an ACC-best .622 from the floor last season, the second-highest single-season shooting percentage in NC State history (.624, Kevin Thompson, 1991-92). The sophomore is the only player in the ACC with multiple 30-point performances, hitting the mark against Florida Gulf Coast (30), Eastern Kentucky (30) and ECU (32). Warren has scored 21 points or more in 12 of NC State's 15 games this season and has reached double figures in 18 of his last 19 games.
4. PUT THE BALL IN THE BASKET
The Wolfpack has been effective shooting the basketball most of the season, standing fifth in the ACC with a .473 field goal percentage. NC State has posted seven outings with .500 shooting or better, including its .582 offensive display against East Carolina on Dec. 21. The Wolfpack shot .619 in the season opener vs. Appalachian State and was at exactly .500 shooting in wins over Eastern Kentucky, Long Beach State and Detroit. Dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season, NC State is 21-5 when shooting at least .500 from the floor.
5. NC STATE INSIDE THE ARC
No team in America scores a higher percentage of its points on made 2-point field goals than NC State. The Wolfpack is first in the nation with 63.9 percent 2-point scoring distribution. Further, NC State is 45th in the nation and fourth in the ACC with a .527 shooting percentage on its attempts from inside the arc.