Previewing Virginia Tech

The ninth-ranked Tar Heels look to bounce back from Monday's loss by opening the ACC season with a victory over Virginia Tech. Tip-off at the Dean E. Smith Center is set for 7:45 p.m. and will be televised by FSN.

North Carolina (11-4) vs. Virginia Tech (12-1)
Chapel Hill, N.C. -- Dean E. Smith Center
7:45 p.m., Fox Sports Net

Quotables

"No decision on [Malcolm Delaney]. Raines making progress! Defensive transition, defend the post early, contain contest and compete on offense!" – Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg's twitter post from late Friday night

"Obviously winning without Malcolm will serve a great purpose for us in terms of developing some confidence, some depth." – Greenberg following his team's 103-94 overtime win against Seton Hall on Jan. 2

PREGAME NOTES

Season to Date: Virginia Tech enters Sunday night's ACC opener with a 12-1 record. That marks the program's best start under Seth Greenberg and its best overall since the Hokies started 12-1 in the 1995-96 season. Tech's lone loss on the season came against No. 21 Temple (61-50) at the Palestra in Philadelphia, but the Hokies did manage road wins against Big Ten foes Iowa (70-64) and Penn State (66-64).

Delaney Questionable: Junior guard Malcolm Delaney suffered a sprained left ankle in the opening minutes of Virginia Tech's win over Longwood on Dec. 30 and did not play against Seton Hall on Jan. 2. His MRI and x-rays were negative and the Baltimore, Md. native was able to do some light shooting earlier this week, but he is listed as questionable for Sunday's conference opener.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder currently leads the ACC with a 19.8 scoring average per contest. Delaney (3.3 rpg, 3.5 apg) has been named as one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award, given annually to the nation's top point. Freshman guard Erick Green (4.0 ppg, 1.2 apg) started in Delaney's place against Seton Hall and is listed as the probable starter against UNC in Virginia Tech's game release.

A Lesson in Stepping Up: With Delaney sidelined against Seton Hall, junior guard Dorenzo Hudson decided to pick up where his teammate left out by delivering a career-high 41-point showcase in Cancun. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder knocked down 20 of his 21 free throw attempts in scoring the most points by a Virginia Tech player since Bimbo Coles dropped 42 on Rutgers back on Dec. 27, 1989. Hudson's previous career-high was 24 points in the win over VMI on Dec. 9. The Charlotte, N.C. native is averaging 12.2 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.

A Stout ‘D': As usual, Greenberg is putting a solid defense on the floor in his seventh year at the helm in Blacksburg. The Hokies rank 23rd nationally in blocked shots per game (5.9), 32nd in field goal percentage defense (38.3) and 34th in scoring defense (59.9).

Random Fact of the Day, Part I: Despite Delaney eclipsing the 20-point threshold six times this en route to leading the conference in scoring, he is not one of the two Hokies that have earned ACC Player of the Week honors this season. That label goes to Hudson (for the week ending Jan. 3) and forward Jeff Allen (week ending Dec. 13). Allen is averaging 12.6 points and 8.5 rebounds on the season.

Random Fact of the Day, Part II: The Hokies are just 1-4 in ACC openers since joining the league for the 2004-05 season.

Last Meeting: North Carolina defeated Virginia Tech, 79-76, in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals on Mar. 13, 2009, in Atlanta. Tyler Hansbrough had 28 points and eight rebounds to lead the Tar Heels as ACC Player of the Year Ty Lawson sat out due to an injured right big toe.

Series History: The Tar Heels lead the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 59-12. UNC has won four consecutive games against the Hokies and 22 of the last 24 meetings. Sunday's game marks the seventh consecutive time that Virginia Tech will a North Carolina team ranked in the top-10 nationally.

Projected Starters:
23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 190, Jr.) – 19.8 ppg, 3.5 apg
5 Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220, Jr.) – 12.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg
1 Terrell Bell (6-6, 205, Jr.) – 5.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
00 Jeff Allen (6-7, 230, Jr.) – 12.6 ppg, 8.5 rpg
14 Victor Davila (6-8, 245, So.) – 7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Top Reserves:
33 J.T. Thompson (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 5.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg
11 Erick Green (6-4, 185, Fr.) – 4.0 ppg
24 Ben Boggs (6-4, 200, Fr.) – 3.5 ppg
25 Manny Atkins (6-7, 200, Fr.) – 3.3 ppg

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