By Greg Dempson
Tonight’s tip is slated for 7:00 ET at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville with the Cavaliers installed as a 12 point favorite, (I felt tonight’s line should be –13.) Virginia is off a controversial loss at Duke on Saturday, (63–62,) as head coach Tony Bennett thought the winning shot by Duke’s Grayson Allen shouldn’t have counted and yes, it appeared that Allen did travel before releasing his winning bank shot at the buzzer. Coach “K” thought that Allen was fouled on the shot.
The Cavaliers definitely have their work cut out for them as they face tougher challenges as the regular season winds down, traveling to Miami of Florida and Clemson as well as hosting two highly ranked opponents, North Carolina and Louisville.
As for the Wolfpack, this has been a down season for them at (3–9) in conference play and 13–12 overall while going 4–6 on the road/neutral site contests. NC State relies on their super star, Anthony “Cat” Barber, who leads the ACC in scoring averaging 24.1 PPG. The Cavaliers’ stingy defense was able to contain Barber last season as he scored a combined 17 points while shooting 35.0% in their two losses to Virginia.
As a team, NC State is averaging 47.7 PPG during its three game losing streak to the cavaliers while shooting a paltry 33.5%. Barber has been hot of late topping 30 or more points in five of his last seven contests including 38 points in their (99–88) victory vs. Wake Forest on Saturday. The “Cat” is averaging 32.2 PPG while shooting 53.1% in his last five games. As good as Barber is, he’ll be in touch vs. a Virginia defense that allows only 59.8 PPG, ranking them third in the nation.
The Cavaliers have won 37 consecutive home games straight up vs. non ranked opponents and with a straight up win tonight they can tie the Duke Blue Devils record from (1962–1964,) at 33–1 in league home games for the best mark in ACC history with only one such loss over a 34 game span. The Cavaliers have also won 17 consecutive home games, but….we are all about ATS victories, not straight up wins!
From the Free Throw Line
· The underdog is on a 16–05 ATS streak in this series.
· The Wolfpack have lost seven of their last nine conference games by 8 or less points.
· In their last 10 meetings, Virginia has but one win vs. NC State by more than 12 points. As home the cavaliers have been upset by the Wolfpack twice losing by 19 and 3 points while winning by 10, 3, 11 and 12 points. Their most recent meeting, February 11, 2015 saw Virginia win by 4 points on the road, (51–47.)
· The Wolfpack are on a 13–04 ATS streak as a road dog .
· The Cavaliers are on a 05–16 ATS streak when off an ATS cover as well as 3–7 vs. ACC foes when favored this season.
· NC State’s head coach Gottfried is on a 10–0 ATS run when coaching with conference road revenge.
· The last three seasons the Wolfpack are 20–07 ATS when on the road and playing vs. poor pressure defensive teams that force 14 or less turnovers per game.
NC State vs Virginia Pick
My Every Edge selection for tonight is on the NC State Wolfpack at +12 or more points.