Virginia travels to NC State: Game Thread

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What: No. 19/21 Virginia Cavaliers (16-3, 3-2 ACC) vs. N.C. State Wolfpack (15-6, 4-2 ACC)

Time: 8:00 p.m.
Date: January 28, 2012
Place: RBC Center
TV: ESPN 2
Radio: Virginia Sports Radio Network

Spread: NC State -1.5, Pomeroy: Virginia 61-60 (57%)
Last Meeting: Virginia 69, NC State 58
Last Time Out: NC State 55, UNC 74
Series: NC State leads 80-57

Weren't we just here less than 48 hours ago? Virginia plays game two of their three-in-six-days stretch tonight against a Wolfpack squad still reeling from their drudging by Carolina, also just two nights ago.

State is just one ACC win away from tying its conference record from all of last season. The four wins haven't been against the cream of the crop in the conference (Maryland, Clemson, Wake and Boston College), while the Wolfpack also lost to struggling Georgia Tech. (The flip side of this coin is that Virginia's three conference wins have been against GT, BC and Miami, while losing to previously winless Virginia Tech.)

Tonight could be a bit of a disaster for Virginia if the Hoos are not able to contain Scott Wood, State's starting small forward who averages 13.2 points per game (side note: State has five players all averaging double-digit scoring) and who leads the conference in both 3-point field goal percentage (.444) and 3-pointers made (56, 2.8 per game). Oh, he's also perfect from the line this year and is on a school-record 58 straight, dating back to last season.

Let's talk about Scott Wood. Does anyone know anything about this on a personal level? Because he produced one of the strangest interviews I've ever heard, following the Carolina loss. When asked how it feels to have never beaten Carolina, his response was, "I don't know, has your wife ever cheated on you? That's probably about how frustrating it is."

Wait. What?

There still hasn't been any explanation for the comment, but that's neither here nor there. State offers two big men for Virginia to battle against, both of whom are fully capable of scoring, something we didn't see from either Virginia Tech or Boston College. Sophomore forward C.J. Leslie (6-8, 209 lbs) averages 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game, while junior forward/center Richard Howell (6-8, 250 lbs... 250!) averages 11.7 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.

Mike Scott and Akil Mitchell will have their hands completely full. State likely views today's game as a "must win," as they look to protect their home court and notch their first win over a ranked opponent. A win today for the Wolfpack would push them to be considered at least a legitimate team within the conference and likely a tournament team. A loss probably won't crush them as they face BC, Wake and Georgia Tech next and should be able to build up a little momentum.

For Virginia, every game is important as the Hoos try to jockey their way into ACC title contention, battling with Florida State to be crowned the prince of the conference.

Leave your pre-, in- and post-game thoughts here, as well as any awesome gifs, and Go HOOS!

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