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Men's basketball: ACC's bottom two meet

The only team predicted to finish worse than Virginia in the ACC preseason poll was North Carolina State. Lucky for the Cavaliers, that's the team they will face in Saturday's conference opener.

Virginia has a comparatively soft ACC schedule, and it faces two of the bottom three in the first three games. N.C. State enters the game 11-4, and it would be 12-3 if not for this shot:

"I'd have to say the worst one," NC State Coach Sidney Lowe said of the loss. "I've never been through anything like that."

Asked about the shot, Virginia guard Sammy Zeglinski shook his head in amazement, adding that N.C. State will be hungry. Although the Wolfpack played Wednesday (an 87-70 win over Holy Cross), the meeting with the Cavaliers is especially important because their next five games include Florida State, Clemson, Duke, Maryland and North Carolina. N.C. State has already lost to Wake Forest, so a loss to Virginia could possibly lead to an 0-7 start.

N.C. State is led by junior forward Tracy Smith, who enters the game averaging 17.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. He had 13 points and seven rebounds against the Cavaliers last season.

Virginia needs improved play from its front court to win. When the two met last season, the Cavaliers received 51 of its 67 points from guards. Mike Scott and Assane Sene combined for only 10 points.

Although its a different coaching staff, it could be the same result unless Virginia shows improvement.

By Zach Berman  |  January 8, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
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