Virginia vs. N.C. State preview: Huge NCAA Tournament consequences for both teams


Virginia and N.C. State meet in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in a game that has NCAA Tournament implications for both teams.

The Virginia Cavaliers and N.C. State Wolfpack meet in the ACC Tournament quarterfinal that carries the most NCAA Tournament implications on Friday. Virginia likely needs a win to get itself into the field and the result of this game could cause a multiple-seed swing for the Wolfpack.

Virginia and N.C. State both finished 11-7 in the ACC this season, but Virginia won their only head-to-head battle, 58-55, on Jan. 29 in Charlottesville, Va. That game gave the Cavaliers the four-seed and pushed N.C. State down to the fifth-seed in the ACC Tournament, forcing them to play on Thursday against Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack took care of business against the Hokies and advanced to get another shot at UVA.

N.C. State (23-9, 11-7) was the preseason pick to win the ACC, but failed to live up to expectations. After an early ACC win over Duke, the Wolfpack went on to lose five of their next seven before finding their game again. They are led by first-team all-ACC selection Richard Howell (13.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg), second-team selection Lorenzo Brown (12.4 ppg, 7.2 apg), and third-team selection C.J. Leslie (14.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg).

Virginia (21-10, 11-7) struggled down the stretch, losing four of their last seven. After beating Duke on Feb. 28 it appeared they had locked up a spot in the Big Dance, but went on to lose their next two games and put themselves back in dangerous waters. In the latest bracket projections, Virginia sits as one of the "first four out" and a win against N.C. State might be enough to get them into the field. N.C. State is currently listed as a nine seed.

The Cavaliers will go as far as first-team all-ACC player Joe Harris (17.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg) will take them. N.C. State has more talent overall, but Harris is one of the best shooters in the conference and can change the flow of a game by himself like he did when he scored 36 points in the Cavs' win over Duke.

Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.

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