Virginia Tech continues ACC tournament title defense vs. NC State
Virginia Tech’s hopes of defending its Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title are still alive after the 11th-seeded Hokies topped No. 14 seed Notre Dame 67-64 on Tuesday night in Greensboro, N.C.
Next up for coach Mike Young’s squad in its quest to win five games in five days is sixth-seeded North Carolina State, a team the Hokies were beaten by in the regular season. In their only meeting in the 2022-23 campaign, Virginia Tech fell 73-69 to the Wolfpack in Blacksburg, Va.
Much is at stake for both teams in their second-round meeting on Wednesday. Virginia Tech (19-13) likely needs to repeat as ACC tournament champion to make the NCAA Tournament, while NC State (22-9) — projected by ESPN as a bubble team on Tuesday night — needs to win as many games as it can to shore up its postseason resume.
The Hokies played well on Tuesday in their win over Notre Dame, which most likely will go down as the final game Mike Brey coached the Irish.
Virginia Tech shot 48 percent, limited the Irish to zero second-chance points and matched them evenly on the boards. The Hokies were powered by 20 points from Grant Basile and 18 points and 13 rebounds from Justyn Mutts.
“Grant Basile is one heck of a basketball player,” Young said. “He is a really talented man. … To have a wing man or a partner with Justyn Mutts, who is just an elite passer, is quite the duo. And those two guys have been doing great work together for quite some time now.”
NC State hasn’t played in a week and ended its regular season with back-to-back losses to Clemson and Duke. In a Feb. 28 defeat at Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Wolfpack lost the rebounding battle by nine to the Blue Devils and were outscored in the paint by 14 points. Free throws in that game were lopsided too, as Duke went 23-for-29 while NC State went 7-for-8. Duke won by four points, 71-67.
“I thought we fought through a lot of adversity. … The fight in our team is so great,” NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. “Obviously, you look up and I just told them keep fighting. … I’m proud of our guys. I told them in the locker room we’ve had a really, really good season.”
Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner each average 17.3 points per game for the Wolfpack, while DJ Burns Jr. posts 13.1 points and 5.1 boards per game. Both Smith and Joiner were All-ACC second-team selections.
–Field Level Media