When: 5 p.m.
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, N.C.
Records: Cavaliers 11-4, 2-0 ACC; Wolfpack 11-4, 1-1.
It’s looking up: Virginia heads to North Carolina State in search of its first 3-0 start in ACC play since the 2009-10 season. The Cavaliers appear to have turned a corner since an embarrassing setback at Tennessee on Dec. 30, winning their first road game of the year last weekend at Florida State and following it with a 74-51 rout of Wake Forest Wednesday. Saturday will be the first of two games in three days for Virginia, which will stay in North Carolina the entire weekend with a game at Duke on Monday night as part of the ACC’s new “Big Monday” package on ESPN.
A balanced approach: Senior Joe Harris returned to the starting lineup against Wake Forest after suffering a concussion at Florida State, but he’s the lone Virginia player averaging double figures in scoring. The Cavaliers have eight others registering at least 3.3 points. Redshirt sophomore Malcolm Brogdon and sophomore Justin Anderson have been the best options of late. Brogdon had a team-high 14 points Wednesday after Anderson led the Cavaliers in scoring the previous four games, and both are averaging 9.9 points for the season.
Dangerous Wolfpack: N.C. State doesn’t have the experienced offensive weapons it did a season ago, but Coach Mark Gottfried’s team is playing better defense and should not be taken lightly. Sophomore forward T.J. Warren is fifth in the nation in scoring at 23.4 points per game and has tallied at least 20 points in 10 of the Wolfpack’s past 11 contests. North Carolina State is coming off a surprising 77-70 road win over Notre Dame, which had upset Duke in its previous game.
— Mark Giannotto