Previewing Virginia Tech

The Tar Heels begin an ACC stretch of three games in six days, starting with Virginia Tech on Thursday night. Tip-off at the Smith Center is scheduled for 9 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN

North Carolina (11-4, 1-0) vs. Virginia Tech (10-4, 1-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
9:00 -- ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas)


"It all starts now just like last year with Malcolm Delaney and with Jeff Allen. I think that's where you have to start and they are good enough to accept that responsibility as someone leading their team and probably doing it verbally as well as with their play on the court. Those guys have been playing a long time. They have got the experience and the talent to be an extremely good team. And they were picked to be second I think in the league in the preseason by everybody. They are a good basketball team that has some chances to really do some good things this year." – UNC head coach Roy Williams

"I played 40 minutes of zone against Florida State, that's not like me. Erick Green has emerged as a player who we can count on, making shots and getting Malcolm the ball. Our turnovers are down. Jeff Allen is playing at a high level. But we have to keep everyone out of foul trouble." – Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg


Season to Date: Virginia Tech enters Thursday's contest with a 10-4 (1-1 ACC) record. Head coach Seth Greenberg's squad dropped four of its first eight games, including losses at No. 3 Kansas State and against No. 22 Purdue, before reeling off six straight wins. The Hokies dropped their ACC home opener to rival Virginia, 57-54, on Dec. 5, but managed to defeat Florida State, 71-59, on Saturday to even their conference record.

Malcolm in the Middle: Here's a simple breakdown of Virginia Tech – however Malcolm Delaney goes, the Hokies go. The first-team All-ACC guard is averaging 18.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists per contest in his senior season, while knocking down 42.0 percent of his 3-pointers (34-of-81). Greenberg is having to lean heavily on his star this season, as evidenced by Delaney logging 39 minutes or more in 11 contests. Delaney, who currently ranks fifth in scoring in Virginia Tech history with 1,879 points, delivered his best performance of the season against UNLV on Nov. 28 in knocking down 7-of-9 3-pointers en route to scoring 30 points against the Running Rebels.

Allen Steady Inside: Jeff Allen has provided balance to Delaney's perimeter play with a strong senior season in the post. The 6-foot-7 post player slimmed down to 230 pounds and is averaging 13.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, but his numbers are even better over the past six contests – 15.8 points and 11.7 rebounds. Allen has posted a double-double in five of his last six games and earned ACC Player of the Week honors after a 24-point, 11-rebound performance in the win over Florida State on Saturday.

Not Green Anymore: With Dorenzo Hudson sidelined, sophomore guard Erick Green was called upon to fill those sizeable shoes, and the Winchester, Va. native has risen to the occasion. Green has started the past six games for Virginia Tech, producing some impressive statistics in that span – 13.7 points per game, 17 steals and 20 assists against just six turnovers.

Defensive Calling Card: Virginia Tech leads the ACC in scoring defense (59.7) and ranks fourth in field goal percentage defense (39.7).

Trouble From Deep: Despite Delaney connecting on 42.0 percent of his 3-point opportunities, the Hokies still rank 11th in the ACC from long range with a 31.5 shooting percentage.

Battered and Bruised: Virginia Tech is missing four scholarship players that were expected to play significant roles in the '10-11 campaign. Senior guard Dorenzo Hudson (10.4 ppg) and sophomore forward Cadarian Raines have both been ruled out for the season due to foot injuries. Both players are eligible for medical red-shirts. Senior forward JT Thompson (7.3 ppg, 4.6 rpg in '09-10) tore his left ACL during the preseason and will return next season. And finally, Florida transfer Allan Chaney, a red-shirt sophomore forward, has yet to be cleared for action following a viral inflammation of the heart during the offseason.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels defeated Virginia Tech, 78-64, in their ACC opener last season on Jan. 10, 2010 at the Smith Center. Ed Davis led UNC with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, while Larry Drew added 14 points, eight assists and two steals against just two turnovers.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 60-13. The Tar Heels have won seven of the last 10 games, including five of the last six, between these two programs since the Hokies joined the ACC and own a 26-6 advantage in Chapel Hill.

Projected Starters:
23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 190, Sr.) - 18.6 ppg, 4.0 apg
11 Erick Green (6-4, 185, So.) - 9.3 ppg, 2.0 apg
1 Terrell Bell (6-7, 205, Sr.) - 6.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg
0 Jeff Allen (6-7, 230, Sr.) - 13.4 ppg, 9.8 rpg
14 Victor Davila (6-8, 245, Jr.) - 7.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg

Top Reserves:
25 Manny Atkins (6-7, 200, So.) - 3.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
21 Tyrone Garland (6-1, 170, Fr.) - 3.8 ppg
31 Jarell Eddie (6-7, 209, Fr.) - 2.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg

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