Howell: "We're Ready"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State senior forward Richard Howell met with the media to discuss Saturday's game with North Carolina.

Richard Howell (Part I)

Richard Howell (Part II)

It helps us tremendously, especially on the rebounding. But, not only that, getting the ball inside and being able to have the post up position because of our size, that's something we can utilize. Going into the game we should be able to use that to our full advantage.

Thoughts on UNC's lineup change:
I feel like they're a totally different team, especially with the lineup they have. I've seen them play a couple of times since we've played them.

I feel like they have a new confidence level. They're playing well right now, and we just want to slow them down.

How often do you watch them on TV? If they are on do you watch them?
If the TV's on I'm just not one to get up and turn the channel. I'm kind of lazy. If it's on the TV I'll watch it, and that's about it.

How does Hairston change what they do?
He definitely changes a lot, especially with the way he can shoot the three ball. He's the type of dude that can stretch the ‘d' a little bit. I think we have the quickness to contain them all.

How did getting McAdoo in foul trouble change things?
I think that was huge. I think when he got into foul trouble it kind of took their confidence level down just a little bit. He's their main low post scoring threat, presence down there.

I think that affected them. We're going to have the same strategy going in.

Did it hit you this week that it's your last trip to Chapel Hill?
Levi [Watkins] reminded me... he said that I'd never win over there. I thought about it like, damn I've never won a game in Chapel Hill. I just want to go out there and just win one game.

Do you want to get rolling into March?
Definitely. I feel like we're really starting to get over the hump with Lorenzo coming back and getting healthy. Everybody is getting into their roles, we're really starting to get over the hump. That's something that we've had trouble with all season.

You and Lorenzo ever joked about Atlanta in March?
Nah we haven't. Now that I know about it we'll definitely start talking about it.

Is their lineup that much different?
I feel like it definitely stretches the floor a lot. It definitely changes the game when you take a post and you put a guard in there, especially with a guard like P.J. who can really stretch the floor and can really get up and down the floor.

I feel like it changes, but I definitely feel like it gives us an advantage on the offensive end as well.

T.J. won't have games like Tuesday every night, but when he's rolling does it change things?
I feel like T.J. can get 30 every game. I feel like he's that good of a scorer. He's always in the right place. He has great hands around the basket. I feel like honestly he can get 30 whenever he wants to and if he puts his mind to it.

Him scoring definitely helps us a lot... If he gets rolling that would be a big thing.

He's going to get turned loose next year isn't he?

Do you think he could lead the ACC in scoring one day?
I feel like he can lead the nation in scoring. It's unbelievable how good he is around the basket. He knows where to be. He just knows how to play the game. That's something we admire about him.

Is this game different?
I feel like we hype this game up between Carolina and us and when we play Duke, they call it a rivalry. To us I feel like it's just another game, another step towards our direction.

UNC changed their lineup a little bit, what will you be looking for?
Hopefully just to go inside. They changed their lineup, they went a little bit smaller. We can definitely get the ball low to me and C.J. and hopefully get some easy baskets.

It's been a while since you've beat them twice in one year.
It'll definitely mean a lot. Coach Gottfried showed us this little thing about how they haven't been swept in three years. We haven't swept them in 32 years, or something like that. It definitely going to be an exciting game.

Lately C.J. and T.J. have picked it up on the boards. How important is that?
It's definitely important. The way T.J.'s been rebounding and scoring I feel like that's going to definitely help us. I feel like he's one of our x-factor players.

Rebounding is definitely key for us, but I feel like when T.J. gets going as a scorer that helps us.

Do you watch the standings?
Not really. We're not happy with our record. We feel like we could be playing a lot better, but we don't want to pay too much attention to that. We know if we go out there and play most times we'll come out with the ‘W.'

Is this a different type of game then you or C.J. might normally face because of the perimeter responsibility?
I think with Hairston as a starter it's definitely going to be a different game with me and C.J. guarding him on the perimeter, but I think we have the quickness to contain him.

Talk about their perimeter... this will be where you have the rebounding edge on them.
That's definitely fun to go in there and be bigger than UNC. Usually, well since I've been here, when we played them they're always taller and bigger on the inside.

It's a big advantage for the game. I feel like that's something we can use.

What did coach tell you about the sweep stat?
We have this little stat right on the board before practice from when Levi Watkins used to play here and how they beat them three times in a row or something like that.

Do you look forward to a game like this more when you know they aren't going to hold the ball, you're going to be able to run?
It's definitely fun when you know what type of game you're going to be playing. At the same time you don't want to get out of control. We know how quickly they want to play. If it gets too fast it'll get out of control. We want to keep it at our tempo.

What do you take away from their comeback?
We just have to keep our foot on the pedal. We just can't be cruising and let teams come back in the end. That's definitely going to hurt us later on as we go deep into the tournament. If we have a team down we have to put our foot on their throat and keep going.

When they play well they hit a lot of three's. There is no such thing as too big of a lead with a team like that, right?
With the way that they can shoot the ball from the three-point line, it's definitely interesting, but we're ready for it.

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