From an outsider’s perspective, the series between Virginia Tech and NC State might not look like much. The Wolfpack holds a 26-2 advantage since the first meeting in 1980.
But in recent years, it’s been one of the premier matchups in the ACC. For proof, don’t look further than Monday night’s top-20 clash between the Hokies and Wolfpack in Raleigh that ESPN chose to show on Big Monday. Beth Mowins and Debbie Antonelli have the call at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.
Tech’s only beat NC State twice, in 2015 and 2021, and never in Reynolds Coliseum. But as Kenny Brooks has grown the Tech basketball program since his takeover in 2016, this competition has been a good benchmark of where the Hokies lie in both an ACC and national perspective.
Take the 2020-21 season for example. The 83-71 overtime victory over NC State in Blacksburg that January was a milestone for Tech. At the time, the team wasn’t ranked, but it finished the year as a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament, where it lost to powerhouse Baylor. Since that game, the Hokies are 48-17 (.738).
The two regular-season contests last year were decided by eight total points. Though they met in the ACC tournament in Greensboro, NC State beat Virginia Tech by 15 with Elizabeth Kitley and Cayla King out with injuries. But Brooks and NC State head coach Wes Moore did something interesting after that game – they swapped locker rooms.
“As soon as the game was over with, I looked at him and said, ‘Do you mind if I go and talk to your team?'” Brooks said after the team’s win vs. Syracuse on Thursday. “And he said, ‘Do you mind if I go talk to your team?’ So he went into my locker room and talked to our girls, I went in his locker room and talked to his girls. And they welcomed me, my team welcomed him. It just goes to show you how healthy the rivalry is.”
Monday night’s clash marks the first time the Hokies are ever ranked ahead of the Wolfpack when both are featured in the AP Top 25. The two sides are a combined 34-10 (14-9 ACC) this season, and NC State’s 18th annual Play4Kay game will take place in a raucous environment on ESPN2.
It’s not the Hokies’ first time playing in an ESPN slot this season. Their game on Sunday, Dec. 4 at Tennessee in the Jimmy V Classic was also on ESPN2. On top of that, NC State’s return trip to Blacksburg on Sunday, Feb. 19 will be on the same network.
That kind of exposure is something that one can’t replicate. Before the trip to Knoxville in December, Virginia Tech only played on national television in the regular season one other time in its history: Jan. 29, 2006 at Miami. In March, the Hokies will have had that experience three times this year.
“I don’t know what we were on when I first got here,” Brooks said. “It just goes to show you the progress this program has made, step-by-step, and obviously getting players like Elizabeth Kitley and Georgia Amoore into the fold. But it just means you’re being recognized as one of the best programs.
“I think it’s validation of the hard work, but it’s also validation that we’re a good basketball team and people are recognizing that.”
Monday’s meeting with NC State will be a bit different from those in the past. While the Hokies field a very similar team to previous years, the Wolfpack looks different. Jakia Brown-Turner is the lone returning starter from last March’s ACC Tournament game with Tech; Elissa Cunane, Raina Perez, Kai Crutchfield and Kayla Jones all moved on.
It’s still a talented bunch for Moore, headlined by Diamond Johnson. Jada Boyd scored 16 off the bench in the last meeting with Tech, too. Camille Hobby and Madison Hayes round out the five. Other than new personnel for the Wolfpack, there isn’t much different between Virginia Tech and NC State. It’ll still be the chess match those around the ACC have grown accustomed to.
“I feel like we’ve played them… it feels like 100 times,” Tech guard Cayla King said. “So I think we just know each other really well, and it comes down to who’s playing better basketball in that game. We know we both have great teams and great coaches, and that’s why it’s always a close game.”
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David has a chance to be a good writer but the article focuses on both teams being ranked but he never once mentions their current ranking. Here, I’ll help. #11 VT travelled to #22 NCST.
I didn’t include them because I wasn’t sure what they would be after the new AP Poll updated on Monday. I should’ve gone back and updated it with the new rankings once the new poll came out – that’s my fault.
Don’t need the snark, though. Thanks for reading.
DonHo-kieHi has the potential to be a good member of an online community, but he focuses on being condescending instead of simply making his point without insulting people. Here, I’ll help.
Google “Wheaton’s Law” and then refer to it before posting anything online.
Ditto!!! GO HOKIES!!!
Best of luck Lady Hokies! Lets get after em!
So excited, going to the game tonight in Raleigh!
Should be a close game unless the refs let NC State maul Kitley. Not much you can do if that happens other than hope the other players pick up their game a notch or two. Ladies have their hands full tonight and a tuff schedule ahead. Go Hokies!
I noticed that last week- Shack attack!! Defense.
That girl i I n photo above is CC off the floor- good hops🏀
Her name is Georgia Amoore, learn it and put some respect on her name!
Did you miss your nap? 🤔
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