N.C. State (13-12, 3-9) at #7 Virginia (20-5, 9-4)
When: Monday, February 15th 2016
Where: John Paul Jones Arena, Charlottesville, VA
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN
The Virginia Cavaliers look to bounce back from a controversial loss over the weekend at Duke when they host the North Carolina State Wolfpack on Monday night. Virginia fell 63-62 to the Blue Devils on Saturday when Grayson Allen hit a game-winning bank shot at the buzzer after it appeared he had traveled. The loss puts the Cavaliers 1.5 games behind front-runner North Carolina in the ACC standings. Leading scorer Malcolm Brogdon (17.7 points) continues to pour in the points and is averaging 20 points on 53.0% shooting from the field over the last eight games. Virginia had trouble from long range against the Blue Devils going 2-of-11 beyond the arc and London Perrantes, the conference’s top long-range shooter at 53.4%, did not attempt a 3-pointer. Virginia, which ranks fourth in fewest turnovers per game in the country at 9.5, allowed more than 60 points for the first time in five games on Saturday, but still ranks third in the country in scoring defense (59.8). Virginia is looking for their third-straight ACC regular season title, but Saturday’s loss might have been the dagger. They do have 2nd place Miami FL and North Carolina left on their schedule, so they’re not dead yet.
North Carolina State might be near the bottom of the conference standings, but they’ve been fairly competitive all season. Seven of their nine ACC losses have been by eight points or less. The Wolfpack have the conference’s leading scorer in Anthony Barber, who scored 30 of his career-high 38 points in the second half of Saturday’s 99-88 win over Wake Forest. Barber (24.1 points, 4.6 assists) hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time in five games Saturday and is averaging 32.2 points on 51-of-96 from the field and 50-of-56 from the foul line while playing all 200 possible minutes over that span. Barber has 17 20-point games this season, six more than his next-closest challenger in the conference – Duke’s Allen. Maverick Rowan (13.1 points) reached double figures for the 19th time this season with 20 points against Wake Forest and ranks fifth among ACC freshmen in scoring. Forward Caleb Martin (11.0 points) also had a big game off the bench for the Wolfpack on Saturday, scoring 18 points, while hitting 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. He is 12-of-22 from long-range over his last five games.
Virginia should bounce back with a win there tonight, but the Wolfpack have been playing better lately. They are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five road games and anytime you have the conference’s leading scorer in a game that will no doubt be low scoring, you have to take the points.
Pick: NC State +12