Previewing Virginia Tech

After playing in three consecutive games decided by two points or less for the first time since 1976, No. 15 North Carolina returns home to welcome Virginia Tech to the Smith Center on Sunday. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

North Carolina (13-4, 3-1 ACC) vs. Virginia Tech (8-8, 0-3 ACC)
Chapel Hill, N.C. – Dean E. Smith Center
Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
ESPNU (Adam Amin, Brad Daugherty)

Quotables

“We shot too many air-ball layups… You can’t get to the basket and then shoot an air ball.” – Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams following his team’s 78-63 loss to Louisville on Tuesday

“You have to say to yourself, ‘Does the coaching staff get the most out of the abilities of the players?’ That’s unequivocally ‘yes’ when it comes to Buzz. He gets the most out of what he wants to do. He wants to drive his offensive players into the paint, he wants to get them to play really hard defensively and, so, he accomplishes everything he sets out. Now, he doesn’t have the talent he had at Marquette yet, but he has players that are playing very hard and very competitive.” – Louisville head coach Rick Pitino on Williams

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: The 2014-2015 college basketball season has been a significant challenge for Virginia Tech. The Hokies are 8-8 and are winless in ACC conference play (0-3). In his first year on the bench, head coach Buzz Williams’s team has endured some particularly ugly defeats, including home losses to Appalachian State and Radford University. Virginia Tech is currently in the midst of a four-game losing streak that started with a 31-point beat down at the hands of No. 17 West Virginia. With the exception of a two-point road loss to Syracuse, all of the losses during the streak have been by double digits, evidence as to how this team has struggled to be competitive in the early stages of conference play.

Trouble on the Glass: This club has major issues rebounding the basketball. The Hokies have the fewest rebounds per game of any team in the conference with 32.1 (the next worst team is Boston College at 33.7). Virginia Tech ranks 337th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage (37.9) and isn’t much better on the offensive glass (213th, 29.8), according to kenpom.com. The primary reason for this team’s woes on the boards is that Williams has four guards in his starting lineup. Forward Shane Henry (6’8 and just 190 pounds) is the lone big man in the starting lineup and is averaging just 3.3 rebounds per game.

Bibbs a Bright Spot: The Hokies are a young team with plenty of freshmen contributing, led byJustin Bibbs. Bibbs is a physically mature underclassmen (a 6-5, 220-pound guard) that is averaging 13.6 points per game and has shot 50 percent from the field. Bibbs has also been excellent from long range, having converted 29 of his 61 3-point attempts (47.5 percent).

Hot from Deep: Speaking of 3-point shooting, the Hokies have been lethal from long range, ranking 11th nationally in 3-point percentage, according to kenpom.com. Virginia Tech trails only Notre Dame in ACC play in 3-point field goal percentage (40.5).

Issues at the Line: One might think that with a four-guard lineup on the floor for the majority of its games that Virginia Tech would be able to take advantage at the free throw line. For the Hokies however, the opposite has been true. Virginia Tech ranks dead last in the ACC in free throws made per game (12.2) as well as free throw percentage (61.3).

Struggles Away from Home: Virginia Tech has yet to win away from its home confines Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies are 0-4 on the road and have surrendered in average of 76.8 points per game to opposing offenses.

Last Meeting: The Tar Heels held off the Hokies, 60-56, at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. on March 1, 2014. UNC won with defense, holding Virginia Tech to 35.6 percent shooting. James Michael McAdoo led the Tar Heels with 15 points and J.P. Tokoto added 12 points and seven rebounds.

Series History: UNC leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 64-13. The Tar Heels have won nine of the last 10 meetings.

Projected Starters:
10 Justin Bibbs (6-5, 220, Fr.) – 13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
3 Adam Smith (6-1, 170, Jr.) - 13.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 Ahmed Hill (6-5, 195, Fr.) - 8.4 ppg, 4.0 pg
00 Shane Henry (6-8, 190, Jr.) - 2.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg
11 Devin Wilson (6-4, 190, So.) - 7.5 ppg, 4.6 apg

Top Reserves:
1 Malik Muller (6-3, 220, Fr.) - 3.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg
21 Satchel Pierce (7-0, 255, Fr.) – 3.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg
23 Jalen Hudson (6-5, 195, Fr.) - 5.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg

Virginia Tech Info
Schedule/Results
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Roster & Bios


(Photo by USA Today Sports)


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