Virginia Cavaliers vs. NC State Wolfpack Pick & Prediction MARCH 15th 2024

WASHINGTON — North Carolina State has looked right at home in the nation’s capital.

The 10th-seeded Wolfpack (20-14) have rattled off three straight wins in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to reach the semifinals, where they’ll face third-seeded Virginia (23-9) on Friday night.

“Since we got here on Monday, these guys have been very professional, locked into everything we needed to do, and we’ve got three really good wins right now,” coach Kevin Keatts said after NC State upset second-seeded and No. 11-ranked Duke 74-69 in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

This week has reversed the Wolfpack’s woeful finish to the regular season.

NC State lost four straight to close the conference campaign but recovered to outgun Louisville 94-85 in the tournament’s first round on Tuesday. The Wolfpack then surged past Syracuse 83-65 on Wednesday before ousting their in-state rival on Thursday to become the first double-digit seed in 14 years to reach the ACC semifinals.

“I know you guys love this if you’re a part of Wolfpack nation, Keatts said. “We survive and advance.”

The same can be said for the Cavaliers, who began their ACC tournament quest by outlasting No. 11 seed Boston College 66-60 in overtime in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

Virginia likely secured its spot in the NCAA Tournament with the victory; ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi listed the Cavaliers’ game against the Eagles as a “win and in” scenario regarding their tournament fate.

Virginia’s depth proved paramount on Thursday. The Cavaliers generated 26 bench points, including 11 from guard Taine Murray.

“Super grateful for the opportunity I have to help this team try and win, especially in critical times,” said Murray, who averages 3.3 points per game.

Virginia flashed its resilience after an Eagles buzzer-beater forced overtime. The Cavaliers held Boston College to one bucket in the extra session while guards Isaac McKneely and Reece Beekman each drilled a 3-pointer to push Virginia into the next round.

“It was a little bit of every man when they were called upon had to do it,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said. “We had to fight to get that one.”

Beekman paces Virginia with averages of 14.2 points and 6.2 assists per game, while McKneely averages 12.1 points to complement Ryan Dunn’s team-best 6.9 rebounds.

DJ Horne powers NC State with an average of 16.8 points per game. Jayden Taylor contributes 12.5 ppg, DJ Burns Jr. supplies 12.0 and Casey Morsell adds 11.6.

Friday’s winner will meet either top-seeded and No. 4-ranked North Carolina or fourth-seeded Pitt on Saturday for the conference title.

The Cavaliers and Wolfpack split their two regular-season meetings, with each team winning on its home court.

–Tanner Malinowski, Field Level Media

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