Wednesday night, Virginia Tech hits the road to face North Carolina State at 7 p.m. The Hokies (14-6, 4-3 ACC) find themselves in familiar territory as they are making a late season push for the NCAA tournament. N.C. State (12-9, 2-5 ACC) is clawing through a disappointing season, looking to spoil Virginia Tech’s late season push.

N.C. State has played its fair share of quality opponents and don’t have much to show for it. The Wolfpack are 1-8 against the RPI top-50 with some ugly losses. Their showcase win so far is against George Mason and their two ACC wins came at the expense of bottom feeders Miami and Wake Forrest.

To make matters worse, N.C. State is just 1-5 in its last six games.

With that said, the Wolfpack certainly cannot be a team to overlook. With four players averaging at least 10 points-per-game, the Hokies must be alert while on defense.

Sophomore forward Scott Wood is the big 3-point threat, he is shooting 43.7-percent from behind-the-arc. Wood’s 10.3 points-per-game is the only thing the Hokies need to worry about. He is averaging just 3 rebounds a game and doesn’t contribute to much more on the stat sheet.

Tracy Smith and C.J. Leslie have paired up to make a solid front court tandem. Smith leads the Wolfpack with 15 points per contest while Leslie isn’t far behind with 10.4. The two are averaging a combined 12.8 rebounds-per-game. Leslie is also a defensive enforcer by averaging 1.5 blocks a game.

Virginia Tech seems to have found its new identity and have compiled an impressive resume after the starting five became set and the bench found a new life.

What has really killed the Hokies is lack of perimeter defense. Giving up countless 3-pointers seems to be Virginia Tech’s Achilles heel. When Virginia Tech cannot hit the shot on offense and fail to stop it defensively, games can get too close for comfort.

Virginia tech shouldn’t have to worry about a dangerous 3-point attack, but it still needs to keep an eye on the perimeter so easy shots aren’t conceded.

Malcolm Delaney and Erick Green easily are the catalyst for Virginia Tech. If they can hit shots and share the basketball with the guys in the paint, the Hokies have a very balanced offense become very hard to defend. Virginia Tech can get away from feeding Jeff Allen and Victor Davila, or Delaney and Green can get a cold shooting hand and the offense will struggle to score points.

If Virginia Tech can share the rock and contest outside shots, the Hokies can come away with a win on the road. Should the Hokies stray away from a balanced offense and fall asleep on defense, Virginia Tech not only loses an easy road game, but also its NCAA tournament chances.


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