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Virginia Tech has played much better basketball over their last three games, beating Miami and nearly knocking off two ranked opponents in Pitt and UVA. They’ll try to keep things moving forward against NC State on Saturday afternoon in Cassell Coliseum.
NC State is 16-10 overall and 6-7 in conference play. They recently took #1 Syracuse down to the wire before falling at the buzzer. The Wolfpack are #56 in the RPI with the #36 SOS, but they need more top 50 wins as well as a winning streak heading into March to have a shot at making the NCAA Tournament.
NC State has lost two consecutive road games to Syracuse and Clemson. They’ll be playing their third straight game away from Raleigh when they travel to Blacksburg. Overall, they are 4-6 on the road this season, though they’ve won just one ACC road game at Notre Dame way back on January 7.
Here’s a look at the NC State starting lineup.
G Tyler Lewis (5-11, 170, So.): 3.9 ppg, 3.2 apg. The former McDonald’s All-American isn’t much of a scorer, but he has a 3.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
G Ralston Turner (6-5, 205, Jr.): 10.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg. Turner is a transfer from LSU and a very capable outside shooter. He is second on the team in scoring.
F T.J. Warren (6-8, 215, So.): 23 ppg, 7.2 rpg. Warren is one of the best players in the ACC. He is athletic, and he can shoot the ball with range. Right now he is projected to be a late first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
F Kyle Washington (6-9, 225, Fr.): 4.7 ppg, 4 rpg. Washington has started 11 games in a row for the Wolfpack, and he had a career-high 14 points against Syracuse.
C Jordan Vandenberg (7-1, 245, r-Sr.): 4.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg. Vandenberg is a defensive specialist who protects the rim while playing just over 20 minutes per game.
Anthony Barber (6-2, 170, Fr.) is a highly-touted freshman from Hampton High School who will also play a lot for NC State. He is third on the team in scoring, averaging exactly 10 points per game. He has 94 assists and 51 turnovers, which is a pretty good mark for a true freshman point guard. Barber needs to work on his shooting, but he’s a good prospect.
Desmond Lee (6-4, 200, Jr.) is a former JUCO who has stepped right in and averaged 9.7 points per game for NC State. He is one of their top scorers off the bench. Lee picked NC State over several SEC schools and some mid-majors.
Here’s a look at how these teams stack up in the efficiency ratings:
Offensive efficiency: NC State #165, VT #273
Defensive efficiency: NC State #148, VT #153
The Hokies and the Wolfpack haven’t differed greatly on the defensive end of the court. However, even though NC State has been fairly mediocre offensively, they are still light years away from the Hokies. They have more experience, and a more naturally gifted scorer in T.J. Warren.
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