The Boston College loss was embarrassing. There, it has been said, now let us all forget about it. Tonight, the Hoos will look to rebound against another struggling ACC team in NC State. Both teams come into the contest with a 5-9 record in the conference and State edges the Cavaliers with a 15-13 record over Virginia's 14-14 record. Even though both have identical records I would venture to say the Hoos' wins have a bit more clout with two of them coming against Virginia Tech rather than State's best conference win coming against Miami. Two of the Wolfpack's wins did come against Wake Forest; who the Hoos were unable to beat (Dear God, I still can't believe they did that).
The Wolfpack boast no significant threat but do have three players averaging more than 10 points per game. Senior forward Tracy Smith has NC St's best stat line having an average over 14.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. For a freshman, Forward C.J. Leslie is having one of the strongest complete seasons in the conference. Leslie has averaged 11.4 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game. Leslie will surely be a part of the freshman all conference team and should be a candidate for freshman of the year. (We all know Joe Harris is the best freshman in the conference/country but Jontel hasn't fed him the ball enough, clearly) One of the most glaring statistics for the Wolfpack is their Free-Throw percentage. They have only shot 69% from the charity stripe on the year and should be a major point for the Cavaliers to exploit.
This game should be winnable for a Cavalier team coming off one of the more embarrassing losses they have had this year. We should hope they come into the game a little upset and looking to enact revenge on the Wolfpack. The game plan should be similar to the one they have used all year: get the ball into Mu and Joe's hands as often as possible. If one of them goes cold, give it to Sammy Z. If all three of them are cold like they were on Saturday? Pray the electricity in JPJ goes out and they have to reschedule the game til Wednesday.
Another offense option Brian and I have discussed is not allowing center Assane Sene to touch the ball unless he gets the rebound. He wants to score? Get an offensive rebound and slam it home. I hear you out there saying:"But, oh smart and wise Will, won't that put too much pressure on our outside shooting Vatican assassins?" To which I say: Yes, it will open the lane and allow Jontel to beat everyone off the dribble which he is more than capable of. I should be a college basketball coach. Given my NCAA Football record over the last 5 years I should also be a football coach and we all know I'm a baseball savant.
Since this is the final regular season home game, it is will also be Senior Night for Will Sherrill and Mustapha Farrakhan. Both have had tumultuous careers at UVa and unfortunately both will go out having never been to the NCAA tournament. Farrakhan has truly stepped up his game the last two years and has become one of the better perimeter and free throw shooters in the conference. Out of everyone on the basketball team, I have the most respect for Will Sherrill. Sherrill began his UVa time as a smart walk-on from New York and if he hadn't broken his leg early this year I believe he would have improved our team to two or three more wins given his leadership and hard-nosed game play on the court.
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