Previewing NC State

The Wolfpack head to Cameron on Saturday afternoon for a key ACC battle with Duke.

ROSTER
SCHEDULE
STATS
SCOUT SITE


PROJECTED STARTERS
G- 02 Anthony Barber (11.5 ppg, 4.2 apg)
G- 05 Desmond Lee (10.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg)
F- 24 T.J. Warren (22.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
F- 32 Kyle Washington (3.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
C- 14 Jordan Vandenberg (6.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg)

STAR WATCH
Sophomore forward T.J. Warren is following up a great freshman campaign by leading the ACC in scoring in his second season. The 6-foot-8 Warren ranks first in the conference at 22.2 points per game, and has improved his rebounding to 7.3 boards per game. Warren also ranks 9th in scoring in the NCAA.

Warren is clearly NC State's top player, and scored in double figures in each of the team's first 15 games before being held to just four points against Virginia. The Pack needs their star second year player to be good each and every night. Over his 1.5 seasons in Raleigh, the team is 29-11 when Warren scores 10 or more, and 16-5 when he leads the team in scoring.


STORYLINES

  • This game may very well be decided by Duke's perimeter shooting and the NC State defense of same. The Blue Devils are the conference's top three point shooting team at 41 percent, while the Wolfpack rank third in the league in defending the perimeter, holding teams to just 28.9 percent from long range.

  • Whereas Duke has struggled with defending and scoring in the post this season, and are utilizing more and more "small ball", NC State is going in the opposite direction. The Pack starts a front line of 6-foot-8, 6-foot-9, and 7-foot-1. The biggest of those players is fifth year senior Jordan Vandenberg, who is providing quality mintues for his team to the tune of 6.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per night - those numbers are well above his career averages of 1.2 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.

    Joining Vandenberg in the middle is freshman BeeJay Anya. The duo have made a living protecting the rim in Raleigh so far with Vandenberg averaging 2.1 blocks per game while Anya contributes 1.8 per contest.

  • The Wolfpack has held eight of its last 12 opponents to worse than 42 percent shooting. The Wolfpack held Northwestern to just 49 points on .250 shooting on Dec. 4. It was the lowest shooting percentage for a Pack opponent since it held NC Central to .203 shooting in January 2008. On Dec. 18, NC State traveled to Tennessee and held the Vols to .294 shooting.

  • Starting point guard Anthony Barber should be somewhat familiar to Duke fans as the point guard got a look from the Blue Devils on the recruiting trail before Coach K and company opted to wait on Tyus Jones in the class of 2014. The Virginia native has burst onto the college scene in a big way in Raleigh...he scored 22 points in just his fourth college game and has 10 games with double-digit scoring. Barber, who is averaging 11.5 points per game and leads NC State in assists, has five outings with 16 points or more this season.

  • After a mass exodus last season, head coach Mark Gottfried felt he needed to add another guard to the roster, so he headed into the junior college ranks to find Desmond Lee out of New Mexico JC. Lee was rated the 10th-best JuCo prospect for 2013 after averaging 20.3 points per game at NMJC.

    Since arriving in Raleigh, Lee has been a top option for the Wolfpack at 10.4 points per game.Lee, who scored 24 points in the season opener vs. Appalachian State and has nine double-digit scoring outings this season, finished with 15 points both vs. Long Beach State and at UNCG.

  • As the ACC has transformed in membership over the years, so too have traditional rivalries. NC State and Duke played each other twice each year from the 1923-24 season until 2005-06. In a series dating back to 1911, this season marks just the seventh time the two schools meet just once in the regular season.
  • NC State is second in the nation in two-point distribution, meaning just one team in America scores a higher percentage of its points on made 2-point field goals than NC State. The Wolfpack scores 63.1 percent of its points on field goals made inside the arc. Further, NC State is fourth in the ACC with a .516 shooting percentage on its attempts from inside the arc. T.J. Warren shoot .573 on his attempts inside the arc.


    NC State athletics contributed to this report.


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