Previewing Virginia Tech

Just nine days ago, North Carolina outlasted Virginia Tech in a key late season matchup. The teams meet again Friday in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal, though conference POY Ty Lawson will be sidelined. Tip-off at the Georgia Dome is set for noon and the game will be televised by Raycom and ESPN2.

#1 North Carolina (27-3) vs. #8 Virginia Tech (18-13)
Atlanta, Ga. - Georgia Dome (36,000)
Noon, Raycom/ESPN2

Quotables

"I told them – ‘Don't be afraid. Just go out and play. Trust yourselves. Play to win and enjoy the moment.' That was my biggest focus. There is so much pressure about the [NCAA] tournament that they lose track of [the fact] that, two years ago, they were riding in vans to AAU games and playing at 8 o'clock in the morning and then 2 and then 4. I wanted them to enjoy this because they had worked to get to this point. Hopefully, that helped us just relax and go out and play." – Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg on his message to his team prior to Thursday's win over Miami

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: Virginia Tech enters Friday's ACC quarterfinal with an 18-13 (7-9 ACC regular season) record. The eighth-seeded Hokies used a late 14-0 run to finally put away No. 9 seed Miami, 65-47, on Thursday in the 2009 ACC Tournament's opening contest. Head coach Seth Greenberg's squad had lost six of its previous seven outings heading into this weekend's action.

First Round Standouts: Malcolm Delaney led Virginia Tech with 17 points, but needed 14 free throw conversions to cover up a dreadful 1-of-10 shooting display. A.D. Vassallo contributed 14 points and eight rebounds, while J.T. Thompson delivered off the bench with 12 points and eight boards.

Season Accolades: Vassallo and Delaney were both named to the All-ACC third team, as selected by members of the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association earlier this week. Vassallo led Virginia Tech in scoring this season with 18.8 points per game, and also pulled down 5.9 rebounds per game. Delaney was just behind, averaging 18.2 points per outing, while dishing out 3.8 assists and grabbing 4.1 rebounds per game.

Quick Facts: The Hokies are 2-5 vs. ranked teams this season, boasting an 8-24 record against nationally-ranked teams since joining the ACC for the ‘04-‘05 campaign… Virginia Tech finished the season ranked sixth in the ACC in field goal percentage defense (43.5), but stepped up its efforts against Miami on Thursday, holding the Hurricanes to 34.6 percent shooting from the floor.

Head-to-Head Season Results: North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech, 86-78, on Mar. 4, 2009 at Cassell Coliseum. Tyler Hansbrough scored 22 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Ty Lawson added 22 points and five assists to lead the Tar Heels past the Hokies on Senior Night.

Series History: The Tar Heels have won the last three meetings between the two schools, increasing their all-time record against the Hokies to 58-12. UNC is 1-0 against Virginia Tech in the ACC Tournament. That win occurred last season in dramatic fashion, as Hansbrough connected on a baseline jumper with 0.8 seconds to pull out the 68-66 victory.

Projected Starters:
23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 170, So.) - 18.2 ppg, 4.2 apg
10 Hank Thorns (5-9, 160, So.) – 2.7 ppg, 2.6 apg
40 A.D. Vassallo (6-6, 216, Sr.) – 18.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg
00 Jeff Allen (6-7, 240, So.) – 13.7 ppg, 8.6 rpg
34 Cheick Diakite  (6-9, 217, Sr.) – 3.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg

Top Reserves:
33 J.T. Thompson (6-6, 210, So.) – 5.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
 5 Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220, So.) – 4.1 ppg
14 Victor Davila (6-8, 245, Fr.) – 3.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg

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