College Basketball Pick: Virginia vs. NC State
- Updated: January 27, 2012
NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
Quietly Virginia and North Carolina State are both putting together pretty impressive seasons. The Cavaliers are 16-3 and ranked number 21 in the nation. NC State is 4-2 in the conference and 15-6 overall. Virginia has won the last three meetings between these two teams. Can the Wolfpack get back on track after a tough loss at North Carolina earlier this week? Let’s take a closer look at this ACC battle.
Tony Bennett has done a great job with this Virginia basketball program. The Cavaliers play a unique style of basketball that makes them very difficult to beat. Virginia takes great care of the basketball on offense and comes up with a good shot almost every time down. On the defensive end, they play tenacious man-to-man defense and allow opponents to score just 50.1 points per game. The Cavaliers allow opponents to shoot just 27% from beyond the arc, and they are the best defensive rebounding team in all of college basketball.
Mike Scott is the team’s leading scorer at 16.3 points per game. Scott also leads the team in rebounding at 8.4 boards per game. He has some terrific low post moves, and he can also step out and knock down the mid-range jumper. Sammy Zeglinksi is a solid point guard for this team, but he has been struggling with his shot so far this year. Jontel Evans is knocking down 44.4% of his three-point attempts this season.
Mark Gottfried took over for Sidney Lowe at NC State this year, and the initial results have been very good under Gottfried’s leadership. The team was blown out in its most recent game against North Carolina, but they have won 9 out of 11 overall. Balance is the name of the game for the Wolfpack offense. NC State has five players averaging in double figures in points per game. In fact, all five of them average between 11.7 and 13.2 points per contest. Scott Wood is the team’s shooting star. Wood has hit 100% of his free throws this year (48 out of 48). He is also knocking down 44.4% from long distance.
Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie combine to do a very nice job on the glass for NC State, and this is an area where this team is much improved from a year ago. NC State is averaging 75.7 points per game. Defensively, there is still plenty of work to be done. The Wolfpack allow opponents to score 68.6 points per game. They tend to allow open three-pointers far too often, and that is something they will need to correct before this matchup.
Expect Virginia to slow this one down quite a bit, but NC State should get a big bounce back win at home.
Prediction: North Carolina State 64 Virginia 60
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