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NC State

vs.

Virginia

ACC

College Basketball

Pick

1/14/18

There aren’t many freebies in the ACC, but with the help of a favorable schedule, Virginia has rolled through its first slate of games. The Cavaliers get another nice home game and it could be a week or two before they lose their first conference game. It’s been the opposite for NC State, which had to travel to Clemson and Notre Dame in its first two ACC games. Still, the Wolfpack managed to take down Duke for their first conference win.

That being the case, it’s clear NC State is a completely different team in home games as compared to the road (UNC Greensboro loss not included). The Wolfpack were blown out at both Clemson and undermanned Notre Dame, but thoroughly beat Duke at home. This could end up being another blow out given how Virginia has looked in the early going, recently holding UNC down in a 61-49 win. Once again, the Cavs have one of the best defenses in the country and that’s all they’ve needed. When these teams met last year, things went as expected with Virginia winning 70-55 on the road.

NC State needs to change something or this is going to be another double-digit loss. The problem is that they are extremely inconsistent as a whole starting with leading scorer Allerik Freeman, who shoots just 35 percent from the floor. Even worse is that he takes the most threes on the team yet makes under 30 percent of them. That’s going to be a major issue for this offense with Virginia allowing 40.2 percent from two-point range. Considering the Wolfpack don’t shoot it well beyond the arc, there are few ways they’ll have success in this game.

Outside of Freeman, four other guys average double digits and that includes freshman Braxton Beverly, who has become a 35-minute per game type of player over the last month. At the end of the day, he may be their best shooter, but he still only makes 38 percent of his shots.

On the other end, NC State doesn’t do anything exceptionally well and allows close to 50 percent from the field. That probably won’t help in trying to stop Virginia’s top scorers in Kyle Guy, Devon Hall and Ty Jerome, all of whom have better three-point percentages than anyone on the Wolfpack. As long as the Cavs play their brand of basketball, this will be a slow-paced game that NC State has trouble scoring in.

NC State has a size advantage at a number of positions, but that usually doesn’t matter against Virginia. The best way for the Wolfpack to compete will be to utilize Omer Yurtseven’s versatility as much as possible, especially if Jack Salt is guarding him. The same can be said for Abdul-Malik Abu working in the post against Isaiah Wilkins, but it’s important to note that Virginia double teams everyone on the block so that probably won’t work.

 

At times, NC State can contend with some of the best teams in the country as seen in the Duke and Arizona wins. However, due to inconsistent shooting, that’s usually not the case and that’s not a great recipe to attack this Virginia defense.

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