Note: This game was originally scheduled for 6:30 PM, but per this hokiesports.com note, it has been moved to 3 PM.
The game will be shown live on ESPN3 and will be rebroadcast on ESPNU at 6:30 PM (its original broadcast time).
Time: 3:00 PM
TV: ESPN3 live, ESPNU delayed at 6:30 PM
The Hokies host North Carolina in Blacksburg on Sunday afternoon.The Tar Heels (17-2, 6-0 ACC) look like the class of the league right now, and they are ranked #2 in the country in both polls. The Hokies are 12-7 overall, but a surprising 4-2 in conference play. Had Seth Allen’s shot fallen on Wednesday night, this game would be a matchup of two of the three ACC teams with one or fewer conference losses (pending Louisville’s game at Georgia Tech Saturday evening). As it stands, Tech is still in a tie for third place in the loss column.
As usual, North Carolina will bring a very talented starting lineup to Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night.
G Marcus Paige (6-2, 175, Sr.): 13.2 ppg, 50 assists, only 10 TOs
G Joel Berry II (6-0, 195, So.): 12.5 ppg, 81 assists, 39.5% 3-Pt.
F Justin Jackson (6-8, 200, So.): 12.3 ppg, 60 assists
F Brice Johnson (6-10, 230, Sr.): 16.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 23 blocks, 22 steals
F Kennedy Meeks (6-10, 260, Jr.): 12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg
Sixth man Isaiah Hicks (6-9, 235, Jr.) also averages double figures, coming in at 10.2 points per game despite average just under 20 minutes per contest.
On the whole, North Carolina is a deep and talented team. They have two guards with point guard skills, and their size and depth in the interior make them an extremely difficult matchup for Virginia Tech.
Here are some of UNC’s national rankings…
Offensive Efficiency: #7
Defensive Efficiency: #74
Off. Rebound Rate: #7
Total Rebound Rate: #15
Turnovers per Possession: #13
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #68
The Heels are very efficient offensively, and they are a great rebounding team. They don’t turn the ball over, and they do a solid job of using their athleticism to force turnovers as well. Here’s how the Hokies rank…
Offensive Efficiency: #114
Defensive Efficiency: #108
Off. Rebound Rate: #89
Total Rebound Rate: #144
Turnovers per Possession: #136
Opp. Turnovers per Possession: #120
Tech’s stats show a mediocre basketball team, though the Hokies seem to be getting better offensively and with regards to turnovers. However, their lack of size on the inside is causing their rebounding numbers to drop as conference play has progressed, and opposing teams are getting a lot of second chance points. That is a strength for North Carolina.
To win this game, Virginia Tech must keep the Tar Heels off the offensive glass, and they must stop penetration. If UNC gets the ball in the paint on a consistent basis, it’s highly unlikely that the Hokies will have a chance to win the game. In a recent win over Wake Forest, UNC made only three baskets from beyond eight feet. 75 of their 83 points came from inside eight feet, or from the free throw line.
For the Hokies to have a chance, they must limit the Tar Heels to jump shots. UNC only shoots 31.8% from three-point range. Their strength is driving, and getting the ball inside to their impressive bigs. Tech’s defense must take a huge step forward on Sunday night.