North Carolina (13-8, 2-4) vs. Virginia Tech (16-4, 3-3)
Blacksburg, Va. -- Cassell Coliseum (9,847)
9:00 p.m., Raycom (Steve Martin, Dan Bonner)
“Dorenzo [Hudson] is scoring the ball a little bit. That’s going to take a little bit of pressure off Malcolm for sure. We’ve just got to make sure we get the ball to Malcolm on time and on target, because he’s not going to have a lot of time to get shots off the way people are defending him.” – Virginia Tech head coach Seth Greenberg on teams trying to stop guard Malcolm Delaney
"The first time, it's more about feeling guys out. But once you play them, you kind of know what they like to do. The second time through, for me, I'm just really trying to find out the plays, what they're gonna run and how they're gonna do it, how they're gonna get into their offense." -- Hudson on playing North Carolina for the second time this season
"If you let them catch it deep, you're dead.” – Greenberg on UNC’s Ed Davis and Deon Thompson
“I’m at wit’s end, but at the same time, I still have to try to think of something to do, and I still have to keep working, and I have to make sure they keep working, because without it we don’t have any chance whatsoever.” – UNC head coach Roy Williams on his team’s season-long struggles
Since We Last Met… : Virginia Tech enters Thursday’s contest with a 16-4 (3-3 ACC) record. The Hokies have won four of their last six games since losing at North Carolina, 78-64, on Jan. 10. Seth Greenberg’s squad is 2-0 at Cassell Coliseum (Boston College, Miami) while posting a 1-3 mark on the road in conference play (losses at UNC, Miami, Florida State; win at Virginia).
Proving His Worth: Preseason All-ACCer Malcolm Delaney has lived up to his billing during his sophomore season, averaging 19.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest. The Baltimore, Md. native leads the ACC in scoring at 19.7 points per game overall and boasts a 22.2 scoring average in conference play after posting double-digit efforts in all six league games to date. Consistency is Delaney’s claim to fame as he’s averaging 20.2 points per outing in his last 24 games against ACC competition.
Role Players Elevating Their Game: Prior to the New Year celebration, Dorenzo Hudson was averaging 9.8 points per game. Since that time, the junior guard is averaging 19.9 points per contest, raising his season average to 13.5 ppg. It’s true that his 41-point outburst against Seton Hall played a significant role in his scoring boost, but Hudson is averaging 17.0 points in ACC play and has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 11 outings. Junior forward J.T. Thompson has also picked up his play in conference games, averaging 9.2 points to increase his season scoring average to 6.6 points per contest.
Percentage Problems: The fact that Virginia Tech is 3-3 in conference play is impressive when you consider that the Hokies rank 11th in field goal percentage (41.2) and 12th in field goal percentage defense (47.3).
Turnover Awareness: The Hokies make up for their shooting and defensive woes in league play with an ACC-leading plus-4.5 turnover margin, thanks to forcing a conference-high 18.3 turnovers per game.
Random Fact of the Day: Virginia Tech is 10-1 in ACC overtime games during Greenberg’s tenure. The most recent overtime victory occurred on Jan. 28 against rival Virginia in Charlottesville, 76-71.
Last Meeting: Will Graves’ three second-half 3-pointers helped North Carolina pull away from Virginia Tech on Jan. 10 en route to a 78-64 victory in Chapel Hill. Ed Davis led the Tar Heels with 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, while Larry Drew added 14 points, eight assists and two steals against just two turnovers. Graves ended with 13 points and six rebounds.
Series History: North Carolina leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech, 60-12.
The Tar Heels have won five consecutive games against the Hokies and 23 of the last 25
meetings, including three of the four contests played at Cassell Coliseum.
23 Malcolm Delaney (6-3, 190, Jr.) – 19.7 ppg, 4.2 apg
5 Dorenzo Hudson (6-5, 220, Jr.) – 13.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg
1 Terrell Bell (6-6, 205, Jr.) – 5.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg
00 Jeff Allen (6-7, 230, Jr.) – 11.2 ppg, 7.6 rpg
14 Victor Davila (6-8, 245, So.) – 6.3 ppg, 4.9 rpg
33 J.T. Thompson (6-6, 210, Jr.) – 6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
11 Erick Green (6-4, 185, Fr.) – 3.6 ppg
24 Ben Boggs (6-4, 200, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg
25 Manny Atkins (6-7, 200, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg
4 Cadarian Raines (6-9, 238, Fr.) – 1.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg
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