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NC State welcomes the Virginia Cavaliers to PNC

Time to pick up another quality win rather than just avoiding a bad loss. 

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Virginia
I’ll bet Beekman remembers that one!
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday January 6 – 2:00 PM

Where: PNC Arena

TV: ACC Network

Opponent: Virginia Cavaliers (NET rank 49, Q2)

Preseason Conference Prediction: 4th (of 15) in the ACC

Pomeroy Prediction: Wolfpack 64-63

NET Tracker: NC State ranked 71, 9th in ACC

Quad Summary Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Quad Summary Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Wins 0 1 1 8
Losses 3 0 0 0
NET as of 1/4/2024

Wolfpack Injury Report:

Mo Diarra seems to be working his way back into the lineup. Although the team won’t give us any current status updates, we do know he has had a knee problem. He played 12 minutes against Notre Dame and played well. (6 rebounds, 1 block, and 4 points) That was his most minutes in about a month. We are going to need his rebounding against UNC, hopefully his minutes will continue to trend upward versus UVA. We need him in the starting lineup.

Opponent Overview:

Coach Tony Bennett comes off a disappointing 25-8 post season in which the 13th seeded Furman Paladins got their first NCAAT win since 1974 by hitting a 3PT shot with 2.4 seconds left in their first-round game, sending the 4th seeded Cavaliers home early.

Like many teams, Coach Bennett had to go to the transfer portal to flesh out his team bringing in starters Andrew Rohde from St Thomas and Jake Groves from Oklahoma, and reserve Jordan Minor from Merrimack.

So far they’ve spent 4 (non consecutive) weeks in the top 25 and look to be another of Coach Bennett’s long individual possessions, 66-68 average points per game, hard to watch, but ultimately successful teams.

Their Season So Far:

The Cavs (KP #49) are 11-3 on the season, with Q1 losses to Wisconsin (by 24) and Memphis (by 23), and the surprising 22 point pounding by Notre Dame last Saturday. (by the way, we beat the Irish) Their best wins are Q1 Florida, Q1 Texas A&M and (coincidentally) a 22-point win over Syracuse.

  • UVA is the #1 ranked defense in the ACC allowing only 55.9 Ppg. That’s lower than recent seasons, but it’s early.
  • UVA is also the ACC’s 14th ranked offense, averaging 66.6 Ppg.
  • The Cavaliers are the #1 ranked team in opponent FG percentage in the ACC at 38%
  • They rank last (15th ) in team FT percentage at 64.8%
  • They also rank last (15th ) in team rebounding at 32.7 Rpg
  • UVA ranks #1 in the ACC in turnover margin (the Pack is #2), and first in Assist / Turnover Ratio.

Other Saturday Games of Note:

  • Tennessee and Ole Miss face off in Knoxville - KenPom likes UT by 14
  • BYU starts their first season of B12 league play hosting Cincinnati - KenPom likes the Y by 11

Team Statistical Comparison

Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
NCS 77.8 44.7% 34% 7.7 36.7 13.7 8.8 7.8 2.7
UVA 66.6 45.5% 36% 7 32.7 15.9 8.4 8.8 5.3

Player Notes:

  • The Cavs are a younger team, the top 9 in minutes per game are a Grad, a Senior, 2 Juniors, 3 sophomores, and 2 freshmen. They start 3 sophomores.
  • Reece Beekman – Returning 4 year player, preseason ALL ACC first team. Leads the team in minutes, assists, steals, and points. He leads the ACC in assists per game.
  • Ryan Dunn – Returning sophomore leads the team in rebounding and blocked shots. He is second in the ACC in blocks per game.

Cavalier Probable Starters

Player Class Pos Height Weight PPG 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
Player Class Pos Height Weight PPG 3PT% 3PTApg REB ASST BLK STL
McKneely SO G 6'4" 188 11.4 28% 5.4 2.9 1.8 0.2 1
Dunn SO G 6'8" 216 9.7 19% 1.5 6.9 0.9 2.2 2
Beekman SR G 6'3" 194 12.9 28% 2.9 3.2 5.7 0.7 2
Rohde SO G 6'6" 202 6.1 30% 3.8 2.6 3.2 0.1 1
Groves GR F 6'9" 211 7.9 42% 2.9 2.6 0.9 0.1 1

Keys To The Game:

  • Guard the ball – Like Notre Dame’s Burton, PG Beekman is the key to this team. He’s not a big 3PT shooter, he’s only made 11 on the season, but he leads the team in field goal attempts on the season by 31.
  • Guard the 3PT line – UVA shoots the 3PT shot well as a team. McKneely (49%) and Groves (42%) are their most dangerous 3PT threats. Groves is 6’9” and has 40 attempts on the season. McKneely hit 4-7 against Louisville.

For The Wolfpack to Win:

  • Pass the ball - UVA doesn’t turn the ball over much. We will face a set, half-court defense on almost every possession. We are going to need to have a decent assist number to help us find quality shots.
  • Out Rebound the Cavs - UVA has been out rebounded on the season by an average of 2.1 per game. This is an opportunity for us if we can bring some of that rebounding passion we showed against ND (2 players with 4 rebounds, 2 with 5, 2 with 6, one with 7) to this game. There won’t be many turnovers, so this is our opportunity for extra possessions.
  • Make Your Shots – To beat the pack line defense, you must be able to shoot over it to keep the defense moving and open some space inside. Hopefully the home rims and PNC crowd will help us avoid another rough shooting game like the one at South Bend.