Mark Gottfried has brought a fast-paced, high energy offense to NC State as evidenced by the team's scoring numbers. The Wolfpack currently ranks third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but is ninth nationally in scoring with 78.8 points per game.
The Pack's offensive production has improved dramatically since Gottfried took over the program prior to last season. In 2010-11, the campaign prior to his arrival, State ranked 115th nationally and sixth in the ACC in scoring with 70.7 point per game. Last year, his first season with the Wolfpack, the average was up slightly to 72.9 points per game - the nation's 59th-best mark at season's end.
The NC State single season record for points per game is 92.9, set in 1973. State has already scored at least 80 points in 13 contests this season - tying for the highest total for a Wolfpack squad since 2005-06 (13 in 32 games).
Mark Gottfried is bringing top-level talent to Raleigh, as both of his recruiting classes have been ranked in the top-10 nationally. Last year, having just seven months till the fall signing period, Gottfried brought in the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation, including three McDonald's All-Americans.
It marked the first time the Wolfpack had three McDonald's All-Americans in the same class since 1979. Gottfried followed up with three more recruits signed in November and that class currently ranks ninth nationally.
Gottfried came to NC State with the reputation of being a first-class recruiter. In three of his final four seasons at Alabama, Gottfried's recruiting classes were nationally ranked: 10th in 2005, 27th in 2007, and 16th in 2008.
THE CLEMSON SERIES
Sunday's meeting marks the 147th meeting all-time between NC State and Clemson, a series that dates back to 1923-24. The Wolfpack currenly holds a 98-48 edge in the overall series, winning three of the last five after five straight Clemson wins.
NC State also holds a slight 31-30 edge in games played in Clemson, but Clemson is 24-16 in games in Littlejohn Coliseum.
Sunday's game is also the second contest against the Tigers this season, marking only the third time in the last 10 years the two teams have played home-and-home games against each other.
Through the years, NC State has had more success against the Tigers than any other charter member of the ACC, with a 67.1 winning percentage.
That is the second-highest winning percentage against any current member of the ACC, just behind a 35-14 mark (.714) against Virginia Tech, which joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season.
EARLIER THIS SEASON VS. THE TIGERS
Scott Wood went 3-for-4 from the line in the final minute and NC State forced two Clemson turnovers to earn a hard-fought 66-62 victory over the Tigers at PNC Arena on Jan. 20.
The Wolfpack opened the game on a 10-0 run behind three quick 3-pointers by freshman Rodney Purvis. His fellow freshman, T.J. Warren came off the bench to score 14 of his game-high 21 points, including 10 straight, in the first half.
Warren was an efficient 9-of-11 from the floor, while grabbing five rebounds. Richard Howell notched a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Wood and Purvis each finshed with 11 points, while juniors Lorenzo Brown and C.J. Leslie each had six with Brown pulling down seven rebounds.
THE CLEMSON CONNECTION
The NC State coaching staff has a Clemson connection via associate head coach Bobby Lutz.
After two years of coaching at western North Carolina high schools, Lutz became a graduate assistant for head coach Cliff Ellis in 1984 and spent two seasons with the Tigers, during which Clemson made to back-to-back National Invitation Tournament appearances.
Lutz also earned one of his five college degrees from Clemson. He earned bachelor's degrees in psychology and economics from UNC Charlotte in 1980, posting a 3.82 grade point average. He then earned another bachelor's degree in 1981 secondary education from Lenoir-Rhyne in Hickory, N.C., a master's degree in teaching for secondary social studies from Winthrop in 1985 and a master's degree in education in administration and supervision from Clemson in 1986.
SECOND TIME'S THE CHARM
Clemson is the second opponent that NC State will be facing twice this season. On Thursday, the Pack fell at Duke after downing then No. 1 Duke at home, 84-76, on Jan. 12.
Last year, the Pack was 6-2 when facing a conference foe the second time around (or third time for Boston College and North Carolina in the ACC Tournament). Take out two losses to UNC when State faced them for the second and third time last season and the Pack was a perfect 6-0 when facing ACC opponents for the second time in Mark Gottfried's first season.
EARLY AND OFTEN
Senior sharpshooter Scott Wood has played in a team-high 126 career games and has started 124 of those contests. With a start at Clemson on Sunday, Wood will tie Julius Hodge with the most career starts in school history, 125.
DOWN WITHOUT BROWN
Junior point guard Lorenzo Brown went down with an ankle injury midway through the first half at Virginia on Jan. 29, and missed the rest of that game and then each of the Pack's last two, nationally ranked Miami and Duke.
The Miami contest marked the first game of Brown's career that he missed, breaking a string of 59 straight starts dating back to his freshman season.
Over the last three games in Brown's absence (all losses), NC State has gone from averaging 79.7 points to 72.7 points, while assists are also down from 15.3 in the first 20 games to 11.0.
A pair of freshmen have handled the point guard duties in his absence: Tyler Lewis and Rodney Purvis. Although Purvis got the starting nod against Miami, it was Lewis off the bench playing 36 minutes that ran the offense. Thursday at Duke, Lewis made his first career start and logged 39 minutes.
EMERGENCE OF TYLER LEWIS
With starting point guard Lorenzo Brown limited to just 10 minutes over the last three games, freshman Tyler Lewis' role has expanded.
The Statesville native has averaged 10.7 points and 4.3 assists in 30.0 minutes of action in the last three contests. He has scored 32 points in 90 minutes the last three games, compared to four points in 23 total minutes in the first seven ACC games of the season.
He made his first career start at Duke, finishing with 13 points in a career-high 39 minutes. Against Miami, he played 36 minutes and scored a career-best 16 points.
In ACC play, Lewis has dished out 16 assists to just one turnover.
CUTTING IT CLOSE
The Pack's five ACC losses have been by a combined 20 points. NC State's first four ACC losses at Maryland, at Wake Forest, at Virginia and vs. Miami were decided by a combined seven points, and all were decided in the final 10 seconds.
NC State leads the ACC with 24 individual double-doubles this season - the next closest team is Duke with 14.
Richard Howell leads the ACC with 13 doubledoubles on the season, posting six in conference play. Duke's Mason Plumlee is second in both categories, with 12 on the season and four in ACC games. Howell's season mark ranks fifth nationally.
Howell had posted double-digit point and rebound totals in 12 of the last 19 outings. For the season, Howell has posted 13 doubledoubles, which ranks as the most for a Wolfpack player since center Todd Fuller had 13 as a junior in 1994-95 and ties as the eighth-highest mark in school history.
The most for any Wolfpack player over the last four decades is 7-foot-2 center Tommy Burleson's 26 during the Wolfpack's 1974 NCAA championship season. Burleson also had 21 as a sophomore and 19 as a junior for a total of 66 in his three-year career.