Hokies face another tough matchup at NC State

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Date: Saturday, February 20
Time: 6pm
TV: ESPN2

Virginia Tech will play the last of three straight road games when they travel to NC State on Saturday night.  The Hokies will be looking to pick up their first road win of the season.

The Wolfpack are a talented team, but they are only 15-11 (6-7 ACC) under Mark Gottfried this year.  NC State has defeated Louisville on the road and beaten Duke at home.  However, they’ve played a very tough schedule.  They are currently #47 in the RPI with the #4 SOS in the country.  That puts them on the bubble, if they can get enough overall wins.  Obviously defeating the Hokies will be very important to Gottfied, who has made the NCAA Tournament every year he has been in Raleigh.

Here’s a look at NC State’s starting lineup…

G Anthony Barber (6-2, 180, So.): 11.8 ppg, 91 assists.  The Hampton native is NC State’s full-time starting point guard.

G Trevor Lacey (6-3, 208, r-Jr.): 16.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 85 assists.  Lacey is a transfer from Alabama who has been huge this year.  He is a 41.5% three-point shooter.

G Ralston Turner (6-5, 205, r-Sr.): 12.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg.  The LSU transfer is a very experienced player, and a 37.8% three-point shooter.

F Abdul-Malik Abu (6-8, 240, Fr.): 5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg.  The NC State frontcourt has changed from game to game, but Abu started in the most recent win at Louisville.  He’s bigger than anyone Tech will be able to guard him with.

F Lennard Freeman (6-8, 250, So.): 3.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg.  Freeman isn’t a great offensive threat right now, but his rebounding numbers are impressive considering he plays only 17.8 minutes per game.

The Wolfpack have two other monsters on the inside who will give the Hokies loads of trouble…

Kyle Washington (6-9, 225, So.): 7.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 34 blocks.  Washington is NC State’s best scoring big man.

BeeJay Anya (6-9, 295, So.): Anya is huge, though he only averages 4.8 points and four rebounds per game.  However, he has blocked 67 shots on the season.

All those big bodies make this a terrible matchup for Virginia Tech in the post, which we are used to seeing by now.  The advanced stats confirm that.

Here are the advanced stats…

Offensive efficiency: VT #203, NC State #49
Defensive efficiency: VT #218, NC State #130
Rebounding rate: VT #342, NC State #68
Turnovers per possession: VT #150, NC State #31
Opp. Turnovers per possession: VT #124, NC State #339

NC State doesn’t turn the other team over very much, but other than that the Wolfpack have a huge advantage.  The Hokies have dropped to #342 out of 351 Division I teams in rebounding rate, and NC State ranks #68 there.  The Wolfpack are also #68 in offensive rebounding, while Tech is #345 out of 351 in defensive rebounds.

NC State is very efficient offensively, and their rebounding rate against Virginia Tech means that they will get extra possessions on the offensive end.  That’s not a pretty matchup, and the numbers indicate that this could be an ugly game.

The Hokies also haven’t won a road game all season.  In fact, they’ve struggled just to keep it close on the road…

at WVU: Lost by 31
at FSU: Lost by 11
at Louisville: Lost by 15
at UNC: Lost by 15
at Wake: Lost by 3
at Syracuse: Lost by 2
at Clemson: Lost by 21
at Miami: Lost by 24

Except for a two games stretch against Wake Forest and Syracuse, the Hokies have gotten bombed on the road this year.  When studying the matchups, there is nothing to indicate that Saturday’s game will be any different.

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