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Virginia Cavaliers host North Carolina State Wolfpack: Previewing the Hoos' four steps to victory

Another Tobacco Road ACC team travels to play Virginia

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Much of central Virginia is covered in ice, snow, and sleet, but John Paul Jones Arena will be red hot as the Hoos play host to the NC State Wolfpack.

Virginia is looking to bounce back from the last second loss at Cameron Indoor Stadium, while the Wolfpack claimed a 99-88 victory over Wake Forest on Saturday.

Here's what Virginia needs to do to stay in the hunt for a third consecutive ACC regular-season title.

Have short memories

The Saturday-Monday home-away combo is a tough one. The last time Virginia had to do it was the loss at Virginia Tech after a home Saturday win over Notre Dame. Pile on top of that the firestorm over Greyson Allen's right foot and there's plenty of adversity to overcome.

Thankfully Virginia has shown resiliency, especially since the Wake Forest game. If the Hoos can use Saturday's let-down as fuel instead of a distraction, the Pack could be cruising for a bruising.

Control the boards

NC State is one of the country's best offensive rebounding teams, hauling in 37 percent of their own misses. (And there are a LOT of misses: Mark Gottfried's crew shoots only 46 percent inside the arc, in the bottom third of Division I.) The main man down low is Abdul-Malik Abu, with Beejay Anya lending a hefty helping hand. This will be strength on strength, as Virginia comes in 20th nationally in limiting opponents' offensive rebounds.

Herd the Cat

The scientific, technical term for what State has beyond G Anthony "Cat" Barber is, I believe, zilcho. Barber is the rare combo of a high-usage, high-efficiency player. The Pack goes to him on almost 30 percent of its possession, but Barber has still maintained a KenPom O-Rating of almost 120. He'll be pretty much a shoo-in for first team All-ACC honors and is a dark horse candidate for conference player of the year.

But the supporting cast doesn't do all that much supporting. State only runs about seven players deep, and no one else has an O-Rating over 110. (Virginia, by contrast, has six players over 110.) Tony Bennett has shown his strongest defensive chops when it comes to shutting down teams that are a one-man show. Whether it's Brogdon or Shayok drawing the perimeter assignment, look for CTB to make Barber the focus of the Hoos' defense.

Make it rain hot death

Individual guys get hot and cold, but the 2016 Virginia Cavaliers have been a consistently strong three-point shooting team. Only 12 teams in the country hit deep balls at a better clip than UVa's 39.7 percent. And few teams give up a higher percentage of threes than NC State's defense. The Hoos need to get every deep threat involved and feed the hot hand to fully exploit one of State's biggest defensive weaknesses.

We'll have the game thread up later this evening, in plenty of time for the 7 PM tipoff time.