March 14, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - No. 4 seed Virginia (21-10, 11-7 ACC) opens play in the 60th Annual ACC Tournament against No. 5 seed NC State (23-9, 11-7 ACC) in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 15. Tipoff at Greensboro Coliseum is set for 2 p.m.
The Virginia-NC State game will be televised by ESPN2 and the ACC Network and is available online at ESPN3.com. The game will be broadcast on the Virginia Sports Radio Network and live audio and stats are available online at VirginiaSports.com.
NC State defeated No. 12 seed Virginia Tech, 80-63, on Thursday (March 14) to advance to the quarterfinal game against the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 61-58 overtime win against Maryland. Junior Akil Mitchell (Charlotte, N.C.) tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double. Junior Joe Harris (Chelan, Wash.) added 15 points and freshman Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y.) chipped in 13 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Virginia is 31-58 all-time in ACC Tournament play and won the tournament in 1976. NC State defeated Virginia, 67-64, in the quarterfinals of last year's tournament. The Cavaliers are looking for their first ACC Tournament win since beating Boston College, 68-62, in 2010.
The Cavaliers and Wolfpack are meeting for the second time this season. Virginia beat No. 19 NC State, 58-55, on Jan. 29 in Charlottesville as Harris had 22 points and Mitchell added 14 points and 12 rebounds. C.J. Leslie and Richard Howell, who each posted double-doubles, led NC State.
NC State holds an 81-59 advantage over Virginia in a series that dates back to 1912-13. Virginia is 3-17 vs. NC State at neutral sites, including a 2-13 mark in the ACC Tournament. The Cavaliers have won five of the last six meetings against NC State with the loss coming against the Wolfpack at the 2012 ACC Tournament.
Virginia ranks in the top 10 nationally in five defensive categories, highlighted by its fourth-ranked scoring defense at 54.5 points per game. Offensively Virginia is averaging 64.3 points per game overall, shooting 45.9 percent from the field and a school-best 39 percent from 3-point land.
Harris, who was named All-ACC First Team, ranks fourth in the ACC in scoring at 17 points per game and is the only player in the league ranked in the top 10 in 3-point field goal percentage (1st), free throw percentage (8th) and field goal percentage (9th). Harris has scored 20 or more points nine times this season.
Mitchell, who has led Virginia in scoring in each of the last three games, was named to the All-ACC Third Team. Mitchell is averaging a career-high 13.1 points per game and ranks third in the ACC with a career-best 8.9 rebounds per game. Mitchell was second in the ACC in field goal accuracy during league play at 55 percent. Senior point guard Jontel Evans (Hampton, Va.), who earned ACC All-Defensive honors for the second straight year, ranked second in the ACC at 5.3 assists per game in league play.
Freshman Justin Anderson (Montross, Va.) leads Virginia rookies in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocked shots. Sophomore Paul Jesperson (Merrill, Wis.) has made at least one 3-pointer in 11 consecutive games.
Tobey is averaging 12.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in the last two games, and freshman Taylor Barnette (Lexington, Ky.) has made 19-of-40 (47.5%) shots from beyond the arc. Sophomore Darion Atkins (Clinton, Md.) added two points, two blocked shots and one steal in seven minutes against Maryland.
Head coach Tony Bennett sports a 74-51 record, including a 5-1 mark against NC State, in four seasons at Virginia. Bennett, who guided the Cavaliers to their first NCAA Tournament since 2006-07 last season, is the first Virginia coach to post back-to-back 20-win seasons since Jeff Jones in 1991-92 and 1992-93.
NC State seeks its 11th ACC Tournament championship and first since 1987. Leslie leads five Wolfpack players in double figures at 14.9 points per game. Howell leads the ACC in rebounding at 10.6 per game. Howell (first team), Lorenzo Brown (second team) and Leslie (third team) earned All-ACC honors. Head Coach Mark Gottfried has a 46-22 record in two seasons at NC State and 324-177 in 16 seasons of collegiate coaching.
If UVa wins on Friday, the Cavaliers will play in the tournament's first semifinal game at 1 p.m. on Saturday (March 16) against the winner of Friday's Miami-Boston College game.