Gameday: NC State vs. Georgia Tech

NC State returns to action today against Georgia Tech looking to end a two-game losing streak. Tip-off is set for 2:00 pm and the game will be televised on the ACC Network.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina

Tip-Off: 2:00 p.m.

Television: ACC Network

Radio: Airtime begins @ 1:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information

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    Georgia Tech Information

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    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G Ryan Harrow
    G Lorenzo Brown
    F Scott Wood
    F C.J. Leslie
    F Tracy Smith

    Georgia Tech Projected Starting Line-up
    G Iman Shumpert
    G Mo Miller
    F Glen Rice, Jr.
    F Kam Holsey
    C Daniel Miller

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Tracy Smith --
    Georgia Tech has one of the youngest, and thinnest, frontcourts in the ACC. This could be a game where Tracy Smith proves to be a difference maker.

    Georgia Tech
    Iman Shumpert -
    Junior point guard Iman Shumpert does everything for the Yellow Jackets. He leads the team in scoring, rebounds, and assists.


    TSX: NC State Report

    Say this for NC State: the undermanned Wolfpack are playing hard for coach Sidney Lowe.

    The Pack (14-13, 4-9 ACC) hung with No. 19 North Carolina most of the way on Feb. 23 before falling 75-63. North Carolina State was done in by 3-of-15 3-point shooting.

    Fortunately, the schedule sets up for a strong finish.

    On Feb. 26, North Carolina State hosts a Georgia Tech team that has lost seven straight ACC games. Then the Pack go to mediocre Virginia before hosting Florida State, which is without its best player, Chris Singleton.

    Winning out wouldn't put North Carolina State into the NCAA Tournament discussion, but it would help the Pack lock up an NIT bid.

    N.C. State, of course, must win the ACC tournament to make the NCAA field. That's far-fetched. Yet the Pack should be dangerous if they are at full strength. That's been a rare occurrence this season.

    Senior forward Tracy Smith missed 10 games with a knee injury earlier this season. Freshman guard Ryan Harrow missed two due to illness, and freshman forward C.J. Leslie missed one due to suspension.

    Sophomore forward Richard Howell, who missed the loss to North Carolina with a concussion, should return against the Yellow Jackets.

    BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: In N.C. State's four ACC wins through Feb. 23, the Wolfpack had a plus-9.8 rebounding advantage. The Pack was at minus-7.2 in its nine conference losses. N.C. State was overmatched inside against the Tar Heels on Feb. 23, getting outrebounded 43-30.

    It hurt that the Pack didn't have sophomore forward Richard Howell, who was out with a concussion. N.C. State started no one taller than 6-foot-8, while the Tar Heels started 7-footer Tyler Zeller and 6-10 John Henson. That duo combined for 24 rebounds.

    NOTES, QUOTES
    -- North Carolina State has lost 20 of its last 25 meetings with North Carolina after the Feb. 23 home defeat. The Pack fell to 3-9 against the Tar Heels at the RBC Center in Raleigh.

    -- Though only 4-8 in the conference through Feb. 20, North Carolina State already had a two-game improvement over where the Wolfpack was after 12 ACC games last season. The 'Pack was only 2-10 in 2009-10 but won three of its final four outings of the regular season, then won two games in the ACC Tournament. A similar finish would make the 'Pack 19-14 when postseason bids are issued.

    -- N.C. State publicists are touting freshman F C.J. Leslie for ACC Rookie of the Year honors. After scoring 18 points in the loss at Maryland, Leslie was averaging 13.4 points and 6.8 rebounds a game in 11 ACC games. He did not play against Duke while serving a one-game suspension.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 0-11 -- N.C. State's record when trailing at the 5:00-minute mark of games following the Feb. 20 defeat at Maryland.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "Something I've been talking about the last few weeks is how we've been playing so well together. During those last seven minutes, though, some of our guys were just trying to play one-on-one, whether it was outside or in the post." -- Coach Sidney Lowe, on his team's fade at the end of the loss at Maryland.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
    THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
    --vs. Georgia Tech, Feb. 26
    KEY MATCHUPS:
    Tech can be a problem on the perimeter where it has guards Iman Shumpert and Glen Rice scoring in double figures. The 'Pack figures to have its way inside with Smith and Leslie.

    FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore G Scott Wood has been the only player who has started every game for the Wolfpack this season, though coach Sidney Lowe has sent the same five out to start the last three games. That would be F Tracy Smith, who likely would have started every game were it not for a knee injury that sidelined him nine games; F C.J. Leslie, who was suspended for one game; G Ryan Harrow, G Lorenzo Brown, and Wood. That lineup looks to be good the rest of the way.

    PLAYER NOTES
    -- Sophomore F Richard Howell (7.7 points, 6.5 rebounds per game) missed the Feb. 23 loss to North Carolina after taking an inadvertent blow to the head from DeShawn Painter in the Feb. 20 loss at Maryland. Coach Sidney Lowe called Howell's absence a big loss, saying the Wolfpack missed his offensive rebounding, passing and defense.

    -- Freshman F C.J. Leslie, an ACC Rookie of the Year candidate, had averaged 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds over the past six games he'd played through Feb. 23. Leslie had 13 points and eight rebounds in the Feb. 23 loss to North Carolina.


    TSX: Georgia Tech Report

    Georgia Tech has one game left at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, commonly known as the Thrillerdome.

    But the thrill is long gone.

    The March 6 game against Miami will be the last for AMC as Tech starts work on a $45 million arena that should be ready for 2012-13. Next season, Tech will split home games between Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta and Gwinnett Arena in the north suburbs.

    Yellow Jackets fans can only hope their team closes down the Thrillerdome with a much better effort than it put forth against Virginia on Feb. 23, a depressing 62-56 loss

    It was Tech's seventh straight ACC defeat. Easily the worst shooting team in the conference, the Jackets solidified that distinction by making 21 of 56 (37.5 percent).

    Even guard Iman Shumpert, who has played at an All-ACC level most of the season, appears to be wearing down. The 6-foot-5 junior scored just 12 on 4-of-11 shooting. Strikingly, the ACC's steals leader did not have a steal.

    Now Tech (11-16, 3-10) must go on the road, where it hasn't won a game in 13 months. Tech visits N.C. State on Feb. 26 and Wake Forest on March 3.

    Then the Jackets come home to end a disastrous season, and say goodbye to a building that used to shake with excitement.

    BEYOND THE BOX SCORE: Georgia Tech, the ACC's worst-shooting team, doesn't get a lot of easy looks because there is no big man who can draw a double-team. But the Yellow Jackets don't shoot well when left wide open, either. A perfect example came late in the Feb. 23 home loss to Virginia, with Tech trailing 51-46. First Lance Storrs missed a wide-open 3-pointer. After an offensive rebound, Mfon Udofia missed another uncontested 3-pointer. Tech didn't score again until it was too late.

    NOTES, QUOTES
    -- Georgia Tech has dropped four straight to Virginia after the Feb. 23 home loss. The Yellow Jackets suffered their seventh ACC loss in a row.

    -- Georgia Tech fell to 0-9 on the road with its Feb. 20 loss at Duke, and 0-15 dating to January 2010.

    -- Tech has lost 27 of its past 30 meetings with Duke.

    -- Only one of Tech's 12 ACC games has been decided by fewer than 9 points (59-57 loss at Miami).

    BY THE NUMBERS: 67 percent -- Virginia's 3-point accuracy (10 of 15) in the Cavaliers' 72-64 win over Georgia Tech on Jan. 22. The teams met again in Atlanta on Feb. 23.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "All we can do is what we do, practice and play. Obviously you want people to support you but all we can do is what we can do." -- Coach Paul Hewitt, on poor attendance at Georgia Tech home games.

    STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
    THIS WEEK'S GAMES:
    --at N.C. State, Feb. 26
    KEY MATCHUPS:
    The Yellow Jackets will have their hands full with N.C. State's strong frontcourt of Tracy Smith (averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds entering the week), C.J. Leslie (11.4 points, 7.5 rebounds) and Richard Howell (7.9 points, 6.6 rebounds). But Tech has a quicker and deeper backcourt. Both coaches are under tremendous heat, and speculation is rampant they'll be gone at season's end. This is the teams' only regular-season meeting.

    FUTURES MARKET: Sophomore PG Mfon Udofia is playing better now that he's coming off the bench. Udofia started Tech's first 11 games, and he had come off the bench the last 14 through Feb. 20.

    Udofia had just five turnovers in the six games before the Feb. 20 loss at Duke. Supremely quick, Udofia is learning how to harness his speed and stay under control. He has scored in double figures seven times this season.

    PLAYER NOTES
    -- Sophomore F Brian Oliver, Georgia Tech's third-leading scorer, won't return from his broken thumb until March 4.

    -- Sophomore G Glen Rice Jr., the Yellow Jackets' second-leading scorer, was 28-for-88 (31.8 percent) over his past six games, including a 1-for-5 performance in the Feb. 23 home loss to Virginia.

    -- Junior G Iman Shumpert is bidding to become the fourth player in ACC history to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. The others were Maryland's Greivis Vasquez (2009), N.C. State's Anthony Grundy (2002) and Florida State's Bob Sura (1994).


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