Breaking Down The N.C. State Win

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In the second half, UVa adjusted its defense around Tracy Smith and it slowed down NCSU.

Following a performance for the ages in Chapel Hill, UVa returned to the John Paul Jones Arena for a rematch with N.C. State. While the UNC game was an exhibition for the offense, the second half of the State game was a defensive showcase by the Cavaliers. The game could have been dangerous – State had kept the first contest close and had the inside presence to cause UVa some trouble but Virginia was up to the challenge and dominated the last 20 minutes to come away with a comfortable 59-47 victory.

A Tale Of Two Halves

Much like the first meeting between these teams a solid first half by N.C. State fell to a great second half by UVa. In the first contest, NCSU held a 30-26 lead at the half and in this game the Wolfpack had a 28-25 advantage. The similarities don’t end there, in fact both games played out in almost identical ways by both the coaches and the players.

First Half

Given the way the first game between the two teams played out, I was interested to see what adjustments, if any, N.C. State would make heading into this match-up. Much like the first game between these teams, State came out and tried to establish Tracy Smith immediately. Smith is the engine that makes the Wolfpack offense go so trying to get him going early made a good deal of sense.

As I have discussed before every coach that goes into a game with Virginia needs to have a plan for three things:

  • Handling the double teams in the post
  • How to defend Sylven Landesberg
  • How to defend Sammy Zeglinski

My thought is that if a coach comes into the game with a sound strategy for those three things, and takes the time to structure a strategy around them, then that opponent will be in a position to win. In ACC play, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech planned for those keys the best, while UNC failed to account for any of the three and the results of those games followed accordingly. In this