NOTES: Pack, Hokies Battle Tonight

NC State (19-11, 8-7) ends the regular season tonight in Blacksburg, Virginia with a road game against the Virginia Tech Hokies (15-15, 4-11). Tip-off is set for 6:00 pm, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.

• The Wolfpack leads the all-time series with Hokies 34-15.
• NC State is 10-8 in road games in the series, but 3-4 at Cassell Coliseum.
• State is 3-0 in games televised on ESPNU this season.
• The Pack is looking snap a four-game slide against the Hokies dating back to the 2008-09 season.
• This is Mark Gottfried's first game versus Virginia Tech.
• With a win Sunday, the Pack can log its 20th regular-season victory for the first time since the 2005-06 season and secure its first winning ACC mark since 2005-06.
• Sunday's contest is the second time in the last three years that the Pack has closed out the road portion of its ACC schedule at Virginia Tech. State suffered a 71-59 setback in Blacksburg on March 3, 2010.
• Over its last five games, NC State has outscored its opponents 160-136 in the paint.
• If the Pack were to win its last ACC game, it would give coach Mark Gottfried the second best ACC mark by State coach in his first year, trailing only Press Maravich's 10-4 mark in 1964-65.
• Scott Wood has made a three pointer in an ACC-best 27 consecutive games.
• In his last 20 games, Alex Johnson is boasting a 2.9 assist-to-turnover ratio. In ACC play, his assist-to-turnover ratio improves to 3.7.
• Lorenzo Brown is nine assists from tying Spudd Webb (199) for seventh on the Pack's single-season list.
• C.J. Leslie is averaging 17.5 points over the Pack's last eight games, including a career high 24 points against North Carolina (2/21/12). He is shooting .505 from field which is the fourth best percentage in the ACC.
• Richard Howell is the ACC's fourth-leading rebounder with an average of 9.2 per game.
• The Pack's strength of schedule is 23rd according to (as of 3/2/12) and its NCAA RPI is 72nd.

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried's first career game coaching versus Virginia Tech.

The Hokies enter Sunday's regular-season finale coming off a 58-56 defeat at Clemson on Thursday night. Virginia Tech has lost its last three games. Tech is led by Erick Green, who is averaging 15.4 points per game and shooting .448 from the field this season. Virginia Tech's only other double-figure scorer is Dorenzo Hudson with an average of 11.0 points per outing.

The Hokies have been without the services of Victor Davila for the past five games with an left injury groin injury. Virginia Tech has the ACC's best three-point field defense, holding it opponents to .281 percent from behind the arc. Offensively, the Hokies are averaging 65.5 points per contest.

The Pack will looking to close out the year with back-to-back wins for the first time since the 1996-97 season when it conlcuded the year with three straight wins.

With a triumph on Sunday, NC State can finish with its first 20-win regular season for the first time since the 2005-06 season, when it finished 21-8 prior to the ACC and NCAA Tournament.

A win would also give the Pack its first winning ACC record since 2005-06, when it recorded a 10-6 mark against league foes.

Graduate student Alex Johnson has been a key player for State this season, coming off the bench in all 30 games as the Pack's backup point guard. A spring signee who played his first three seasons at CSU Bakersfield, Johnson has provided steady control of the offense off the bench.

In ACC play, Johnson has posted an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.7 (49 assists to 18 turnovers), while averaging 19.7 minutes. In fact, Johnson has gone three straight games without a turnover (11 assists in that span), and has not had a negative assist-to-turnover ratio over the last nine games (32 assists to just 7 turnovers in that span).

Over his last 20 games, his assist-to-turnover ratio is 2.9 to 1 (70 assists to 24 turnovers.

In his last six games, Johnson is shooting .444 percent (12-of-27) from the field and .534 percent (7-of-13) from long range.

Johnson had a Senior Day to remember, as he finished with eight assists and no turnovers in 28 minutes in the 77-73 win against Miami on Wednesday. He also chipped in with five points, including a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left that helped seal the win.

Scott Wood returned his sharp shooting ways on Wedneday against Miami, hitting 5-of-10 from long range. It was the first time since the Wake Forest game on Feb. 4, that he knocked down at least five three pointers.

Against the Demon Deacons, he had six threes and logged 23 points. Since that game, Wood was 6-of-27 (.222) from beyond the arc.

The Pack's record over its last five games may not reflect its work around the basket, but during that time, it has outscored the opposition, 160-136.

NC State also holds a 198-190 advantage in rebounding during that span.

C.J. Leslie has picked up his play over the last eight games, averaging 17.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. In his 27 games played this season, only three have not been double figures.

He is the Pack's top returning scorer from a year ago (11.0 ppg) and he leads NC State in scoring with an average of 13.3 points per contest this season. Since scoring a career high 24 points against North Carolina, Leslie is averaging 21.0 points per game.

NC State has not only improved its overall and conference record from a year ago, but each of the five starters has improved in almost every statistical category. Some of the improvements come from more playing time, as all five starters are playing more minutes in 2011-12. However, three of those starters, Scott Wood, C.J. Leslie and Lorenzo Brown, are averaging less than five minutes more per game than a year ago and yet have improved across the boards.

This season, the Pack's starting quintet is accounting for .808 percent of the team's scoring. That figure reflects a considerable power boost from last year when the starters were responsible for .646 percent of the scoring. It's also the highest scoring production by the starters since the 2006-07 season.

NC State has done a great job this season of protecting the ball. The Pack ranks second in the ACC in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3). UNC leads the league at 1.5.

With all five starters listed among the ACC's scoring leaders, it not only shows the balance of Mark Gottfried's offense, but it exemplifies that any one of the Pack's starters can be the top scorer for any game.

NC State ranks third in the ACC in scoring offense at 73.8 points per game. UNC leads the league in the category with an output of 82.1 points per contest followed by Duke at 79.0 points per game.

Upon his hiring, head coach Mark Gottfried looked to improve the Pack's strength of schedule. With a slate that already featured No. 2 Syracuse and No. 18 Indiana, Gottfried added teams like Vanderbilt, Texas and Stanford, his goal of bolstering the Pack's strength of schedule was achieved. NC State's current SOS is 23rd according to (as of 3/2/12).

Scott Wood has now made 213 during his NC State career. He has surpassed Ilian Evtimov for fourth place in the Pack record books. Wood needs five more to tie Archie Miller for third on the list.

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