Okay, okay, fine, maybe NC State’s NCAA tournament position is just slightly tenuous, despite my insistence otherwise. I’d like to think still that the result of tonight’s game against Virginia Tech doesn’t matter, but I can say for sure I’ll sleep a lot better if NC State wins the game.
The Wolfpack and Hokies met once during the regular season, in Blacksburg back on Jan. 7; NC State won 73-69, though it wasn’t really that close, as the Hokies utilized some State sloppiness to score 15 points in the final 1:03. Good thing State had an 11-point cushion when that started!
Tech played that game without shooting guard Hunter Cattoor, who returned later in January and no doubt will play heavy minutes tonight. But it looks like Tech will be without guard Darius Maddox, who hasn’t played since Jan. 23. Maddox scored 16 points against the Pack, with 11 coming in that last 1:03.
Tech will take the trade, though, since Cattoor is an elite three-point shooter and Maddox, outside the last minute of games against NC State, is definitely not.
Cattoor, Sean Padulla, Justyn Mutts, and Grant Basile make Tech’s offense plenty dangerous—they shoot the ball well inside and out, and they aren’t prone to turning the ball over. Hey, nobody was expecting this to be easy, right?
Virginia Tech doesn’t rebound well at either end, though, and also doesn’t force many turnovers. In league play, the Hokies also have struggled to defend the paint, allowing 52.5% shooting on twos. Defense has been a liability all season.
KenPom says hold onto your butts, it’s gonna be NC State by two.