The NC State Wolfpack will seek revenge against a Golden Eagle team who escaped Raleigh last season with a 68-65 victory on a Dominic James three with 0.4 seconds left. The two teams meet for their fifth matchup all-time Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Like Marquette, NC State lost three of their top four scorers before this season. They are picked to finish last in the ACC, according to the preseason coaches' poll. Here is the breakdown of the Wolfpack:
PG Javier Gonzalez/Julius Mays – Gonzalez, a junior guard, is having his best season with the Wolfpack thus far, averaging 6.5 assists and almost 10 points per game. Quick and scrappy on the defensive end, he grabs 5.2 rebounds per game at only 5'11". Off the bench, combo guard Julius Mays may have a height advantage at 6'3", but has not lived up to expectations, averaging just under seven points and two assists in 25 minutes per game this season.
G/F Scott Wood – At only 170 pounds despite his 6'7" height, Wood has no post presence and picks up almost all of his points shooting from the perimeter. Although he has not shot as well as expected so far this season, he shot his way to a 24.8 ppg average his senior year of high school.
F C.J. Williams – Six-foot-six sophomore CJ Williams is a typical small forward – a slasher with a decent mid-range game who grabs about three rebounds per game.
F Dennis Horner – The lone remaining recruit of former head coach Herb Sendek, Horner is the only senior starter and is second in scoring for the Wolfpack. He comes in averaging just under 14 points a contest and shooting over 55 percent from the floor. "He's a really skilled face-up forward," Marquette's Buzz Williams added. However, Horner will struggle to stick with the athleticism of Lazar Hayward or Jimmy Butler on the defensive end.
F Tracy Smith – The Wolfpack's biggest scoring threat, Tracy Smith averages 17.3 points per game on top of nearly ten rebounds. Marquette's biggest defensive assignment will be to deny him the ball. At 6'8", his post moves are phenomenal, and his mix of size and skill will cause matchup problems for Marquette's undersized frontcourt. "We haven't played as big and strong of a guy that is as mobile, that can score as many points a minute," Williams said.
Marquette is coming off a 57-56 loss in the Old Spice Classic Championship while NC State attempts to rebound after a 65-53 loss to Northwestern as part of the Big 10-ACC Challenge. Tipoff is set for 2 PM CST Saturday at the Bradley Center.