Previewing Virginia Tech

In their final road game of the season, the Tar Heels travel Wednesday to Blacksburg to meet a desperate and dangerous Virginia Tech squad. Tip-off at Cassell Coliseum is scheduled for 7 p.m. and will be televised by ESPN.

North Carolina (25-3, 11-3) vs. Virginia Tech (17-11, 7-7)
Blacksburg, Va. - Cassell Coliseum (9,847)
7 p.m., ESPN-HD


"Offensively, early on, we basically let them play to their strengths at times, which was not very good attention to detail on the scouting report. When you do that, good players can torture you. Their good players tortured us." – VT head coach Seth Greenberg on Saturday's 72-65 loss to Duke

"They have very good guards. They've played a lot of people really good, and they have played very well against us [in the past]." – UNC head coach Roy Williams


Season to Date: Virginia Tech enters Wednesday night's contest with a 17-11 (7-7 ACC) record. The Hokies had a rough start to the 2008-09 campaign, beginning 5-4 with losses to Xavier, Seton Hall, Wisconsin and Georgia. Oddly enough, Seth Greenberg has enjoyed his biggest wins of the season on the road – at then-No. 1 Wake Forest (78-71) and at then-No. 12 Clemson (80-77). Virginia Tech's biggest home victories have been against Boston College (79-71) and N.C. State (91-87, OT).

Senior Night: The Hokies will recognize two seniors for their playing careers on Wednesday night -- A.D. Vassallo, a senior from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico and Cheick Diakite, a senior from Bamako, Mali. Vassallo leads Virginia Tech in scoring with 18.7 points per game (5th in ACC), and ranks second on the squad in rebounding (6.1). The versatile wing also leads the league in minutes played (36.6 mpg). Diakite is averaging 4.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in conference play.

The Next Guard to Have a Career Night Against UNC Could Be… Malcolm Delaney. The sophomore guard is averaging 20.4 points per game in conference play (3rd ACC) and is dishing out 3.5 assists per outing (7th ACC), while connecting on 38.8 percent (31-of-80) of his 3-point tries. In home games, his scoring average is even more impressive, increasing to 23.0 ppg. Delaney has lit up four different ACC opponents for 25 points or more, including a 37-point explosion against Clemson. He is also knocking down 86.8 percent of his free throws on the season.

Fighting For Their Postseason Lives: Greenberg and Co. are facing a déjà vu moment from last season, needing to win key games down the stretch to squeak into the NCAA Tournament. The Hokies are 4-8 against top-100 RPI opponents and 3-7 against top-50 adversaries. Virginia Tech most likely needs to finish the regular season with at least an 8-8 record, and then add a win or two in the ACC Tournament to qualify for the Big Dance. That means that a win over No. 2 North Carolina on Wednesday or No. 24 Florida State in Tallahassee on Sunday is a necessity. The Tar Heels and Seminoles represent the final two of four consecutive-ranked opponents in a brutal closing stretch for the Hokies.

Battle Tested? The Hokies are 7-7 this season in games decided in overtime or by five-or-fewer points. North Carolina is 2-2 in similar contests.

Random Fact: Virginia Tech is one of just two Division I schools (VMI) to have three different players record 30-point games this season against Division I opponents. Delaney dropped 37 points on Clemson, Vassallo posted 30 points on Wisconsin and Jeff Allen tallied 30 points against Boston College.

Last Meeting: Tyler Hansbrough hit a baseline jump shot with 0.8 seconds remaining to give the Tar Heels a 68-66 victory over Virginia Tech in the 2008 ACC Tournament semifinals on March 15, 2008, in Charlotte. Hansbrough led all scorers with 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while Wayne Ellington added 15 points. Marcus Ginyard contributed 10 points, five rebounds and a team-high four assists.

Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 57-12. These two programs have only played nine times since 1980, with UNC posting a 7-2 record in those contests.

Projected Starters:
23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 170, So.) - 18.4 ppg, 3.9 apg
10 Hank Thorns (5-9, 160, So.) – 3.0 ppg, 2.7 apg
40 A.D. Vassallo (6-6, 216, Sr.) – 18.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg
00 Jeff Allen (6-7, 240, So.) – 14.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg
34 Cheick Diakite  (6-9, 217, Sr.) – 3.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Top Reserves:
33 J.T. Thompson (6-6, 210, So.) – 5.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg
 5 Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220, So.) – 3.9 ppg
14 Victor Davila (6-8, 245, Fr.) – 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
 1 Terrell Bell (6-6, 205, So.) – 2.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg

VT Info
Roster & Bios

Photo Gallery

Allen ... Vassallo

Thompson ... Delaney

Diakite ... Greenberg

(Photos courtesy AP)

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