Tuesday night features a matchup of two top-25 teams who both reside in the ACC. In this one, the no. 3 Virginia Cavaliers (18-1, 6-1 in the ACC) travel to PNC Arena to take on the no. 23 North Carolina State Wolfpack (16-4, 4-3 in the ACC).
For the Cavaliers, they have been rolling this year, winning 18 of 19. Their lone loss happened a little over a week ago when they lost by 2 points to the no. 2 Duke Blue Devils, a game that was played at Duke. Needless to say, they have been a ton this season, beating other top-25 teams like Virginia Tech, Florida State, Maryland, and Wisconsin. For the Wolfpack, they have been a little more inconsistent as of late, going 3-3 in their last 6 games. In that stretch, they have lost to no. 15 Louisville (84-77), Wake Forest (71-67) and no. 9 North Carolina (90-82). Still, for a team that is 12-1 as the home team, they will look to take advantage of a home matchup against Virginia. The two will square off Tuesday with tipoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.
In this contest, the Virginia Cavaliers come in as 7.5-point favorites despite playing on the road. The over/under on total points scored comes in at 139.
By The Numbers
Statistically, Virginia has been one of the best teams in the country on defense. Currently, they rank 1st in scoring defense (allowing 52.6 points per game), 4th in opponents’ field goal percentage (37.3%) and 25th in rebound margin (6.4). Overall, they are just a fundamentally sound team on both sides of the ball. For NC State, they rank tied for 129th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 69.5 points per game. They are also allowing opponents to shoot 43.3% from the field (good for 156th).
Offensively is where NC State shines. They currently rank 10th in the nation, averaging 85.4 points per game. Granted part of that is due to their first three games, where they averaged 100 points per game over teams like Mt. St. Mary’s, MD Eastern and UNC Asheville, but they are still very capable as they put up 82 against North Carolina and 86 against Pittsburgh. With their high scoring totals, they are also efficient, shooting 49.1% from the field (18th overall). For Virginia, they come in at a much more modest 74.1 points per game (which ranks 161st overall). One area they do exceed, and this goes back to how fundamentally sound they are, is in taking care of the ball. They lead the nation, averaging only 8.4 turnovers per game.
Virginia Trying To Stay Towards Top Of Loaded ACC
With Duke, Virginia, Louisville and UNC only having one conference loss each, this is shaping up to be quite a battle to win the conference. For Virginia, they are probably licking their chops for another chance at Duke next weekend, but can’t overlook the Wolfpack.
Kyle Guy, De’Andre Hunter, and Ty Jerome, all of who are averaging double-digits, lead the Cavaliers offensively. For Guy, he is averaging 15 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2 assists. He is also shooting 47.6% from the field and 46% from behind the arc. Hunter is averaging 14.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and is shooting 53.5% from the field. Lastly, Jerome is averaging 13.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Overall, the Cavaliers go about 8 deep on their bench in terms of regular playing time.
NC State Looking For Signature Win At Home
The Wolfpack have already gained some level of respect with their top-25 ranking, but they are looking to intensify that with a win over the no. 3 Cavaliers. To do so, they are going to have to show their offensive prowess against the best defensive team in the nation.
The nice thing for NC State is they have options. They have four players who are averaging double-digits in Torin Dorn (14.3 points, 6.9 rebounds), CJ Bryce (12.5 points, 5.3 rebounds), Markell Johnson (11.8 points, 4 assists) and Devon Daniels (10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds).
Speaking to their depth, though, they have five other players who are averaging 5 points or more. The most distinctive of the bunch are Braxton Beverley (9.7 points, 3.1 assists) and DJ Funderburk (8.8 points, 4.3 rebounds).
Virginia Wins, But Do They Cover?
In a straight-up matchup, I am taking Virginia all day, every day. For a team that can take Duke to the brink on the road, as well as the countless times they have shown how their fundamental basketball and relentless defense can wear a team down, it is hard not to pick against them. Where I am struggling is with the spread. 7.5 points seems like a lot to spot one of the best scoring teams in the nation. As mentioned before, it isn’t like all of their scoring has been against bad teams, either. Throw on top of that the fact they are playing at home, and I think I will take NC State to cover the spread. Straight up, take Virginia. On the spread, though, my money is taking NC State and the 7.5 points.