It's tough to tell whether Virginia Tech or North Carolina State is in more desperate need of a victory as the Atlantic Coast Conference teams meet Wednesday night in Raleigh, N.C.
There's quite a bit of work to do for both the visiting Hokies (9-7, 1-4 ACC) and the Wolfpack (9-9, 2-5).
NC State won for the first time in ACC play this season with a 68-63 victory Jan. 4 at Virginia Tech. Repeating what worked in that meeting is on the Wolfpack's mind.
"I thought we played fast on both ends of the floor," NC State coach Kevin Keatts said. "I thought we were really stingy on the defensive end. It was one of our best games helping our post guys."
Virginia Tech has something more recent to build on. The Hokies finally won an ACC game by topping visiting Notre Dame 79-73 on Saturday as Justyn Mutts racked up 24 points and Nahiem Alleyne poured in 22.
Virginia Tech shot a season-best 59.2 percent from the field.
"I feel like we finally have our feet under us and it's time to make something happen," Mutts said.
Virginia Tech shot 50 percent (10 of 20) from behind the arc, including four 3-pointers each by Alleyne and Storm Murphy.
"You can't pay so much attention to the bigs when those guys are raising up and making 3s," Keatts said. "And (Alleyne is) starting to shoot the ball well."
Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said getting Alleyne going is a plus.
"I knew it was going to happen," Young said. "He was in the tank for a little bit. To his credit, he hung in there."
Alleyne had just nine points on 1-for-7 shooting from deep in the earlier loss to the Wolfpack.
The Wolfpack could use another big game from freshman guard Terquavion Smith, who averaged 21.5 points in two games last week.
"I thought he'd be a guy that would come in and be right around 10 or 11 points per game," Keatts said. "I didn't know what point he was going to start for us, but I did realize he was probably going to be a starter because of his ability and the way he competes."
This begins a stretch of three consecutive road games for the Hokies. NC State is 0-3 in ACC home games.
--Field Level Media