The Wolfpack has held six of its last eight opponents to worse than 42 percent shooting. The Wolfpack held Northwestern to just 49 points on .250 shooting on Dec. 4. It was the lowest shooting percentage for a Pack opponent since it held NC Central to .203 shooting in January 2008. On Dec. 18, NC State traveled to Tennessee and held the Vols to .294 shooting.
FINISH THE CALENDAR YEAR STRONG
NC State is currently on a seven-game win streak, including a 5-0 mark in December. Dating back to 2004, NC State is 51-17 (.750) during the 12th month of the calendar year. Mark Gottfried boasts a 14-2 ledger in December at NC State, with the only two losses to Stanford and Syracuse in 2011. NC State claimed December victories over Connecticut and Stanford in 2012, and has already defeated Northwestern and Tennessee this month.
Over the last two games, NC State has blocked 21 shots. The Wolfpack rejected a season-high 12 shots at Tennessee, the most blocked shots in a game since it swatted 13 against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 12, 2010. The Pack then rejected nine shots vs. ECU.
The surge in blocks has been led by BeeJay Anya, who had five blocks each against Tennessee and ECU.
BREAKING OUT AROUND THE ARC
Thanks in large part to a 10-for-21 performance vs. Detroit on Dec. 14, NC State has shown improved 3-point shooting in recent games.
PACK VS. MIZZOU, SEC
NC State is just 2-1 against Missouri all-time, but has a history of success against SEC opponents. The Pack is 87-60 all-time against the current membership of the SEC.
T.J. GETTING HISTORICAL BUCKETS
When T.J. Warren scored 30 points against both Florida Gulf Coast and Eastern Kentucky, he became the first NC State player to post consecutive 30-point performances since Rodney Monroe in 1991. He then followed those performances with 22 points and eight rebounds against Northwestern on Dec. 4. His 82 points over those games was the most during a three-game span since Tom Gugliotta scored 83 during the first three contests of the 1991-92 season.
#TONYBUCKETS PUTS UP BIG HALVES
Scoring 25 points in a game is quite a feat. T.J. Warren has done that five times this season. More impressively, he has put together two monster halves with 25 points or more.
PACK GOES AS T.J. GOES
There is little doubt NC State needs production from its 6-8 standout sophomore forward T.J. Warren, who is 6th in the country with 23.9 points per game. The Wolfpack is 27-8 when Warren scores in double figures and 14-2 when he leads the team in scoring.
LENNARD DOING BOARD WORK
Lennard Freeman, a 6-8 freshman forward who just turned 18 years old on Dec. 10, provides rebounding and inside toughness for the Wolfpack. Freeman posted his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds vs. Northwestern on Dec. 4. He followed that by grabbing a career-high 13 boards in NC State's win over Long Beach State and then pulled in a team-high nine boards vs. Detroit. Freeman leads the team in defensive rebounds (54) and is second in rebounds per game (7.1).
NC State averages just 10.4 turnovers per game, the fourth best mark in the ACC. The Wolfpack has posted four outings with less than 10 turnovers and has committed more turnovers than its opponent just once this season.
Since shooting 2-for-12 at the foul line against Campbell on Nov. 16, NC State has improved to shoot .716 at the foul line over the last eight games. The improvement has been led by T.J. Warren, who is shooting .842 at the foul line. After starting the year 5-for-11 at the line, he is 35 for his last 42.
After missing four games due to an ankle injury, fifth-year senior Jordan Vandenberg has rebounded to play the best basketball of his career. The 7-1 Australia native is averaging 8.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He entered the season with career averages of 1.2 points and 1.5 rebounds.
Vandenberg scored a career-high 18 points and dunked seven times in the win over ECU.
Jordan Vandenberg has finished 22 dunks in 168 minutes of action this season. That comes out to one dunk every 7 minutes, 38 seconds of game action. TOP CAT It didn't take long for Anthony ‘Cat' Barber to become an impact player at the college level. The freshman scored 22 points in just his fourth college game and has eight games with double-digit scoring. Barber, who is averaging 12.4 points per game on .490 shooting, had 16 points and a career-high eight assists vs. ECU.
Mark Gottfried specifically set out to challenge his young team when he built the 2013-14 schedule. Including Saturday's game vs. Missouri, NC State will play 20 games against 18 different teams that competed in a postseason tournament in 2013 (9 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament).
In the season's first four games, the Wolfpack played a smaller, quicker lineup. As a result, the Pack found itself with a -0.8 rebound margin, ranking 14th in the ACC. Adding Jordan Vandenberg has reversed that trend. NCSU boasts a +7.4 rebounding margin over the last seven games.
Seven of the Wolfpack's nine victories this season have come by 10 points or more. NC State's first six wins this season each came by at least 10 points, a streak that was broken in the 82-79 win over Detroit. It marked the first time since the 1998-99 season State had its first six wins of a season each come by double figures. In that 1998-99 campaign, the Pack saw its first eight wins each come by 15 points or more.
BASKET IS HALF FULL
NC State has held each of its opponents this season to worse than 50 percent shooting from the floor. Conversely, NC State has shot 50 percent or better six times this season and has won each time. That includes a .619 shooting night in the season opener vs. Appalachian State. Dating back to the beginning of last season, NC State is 20-5 in games when shooting at least 50 percent. The last team to shoot 50 percent or better against NC State was No. 9 Miami in the semifinal of the ACC tourney last March.
‘DEZ' FOR 2 AT THE 2
Desmond Lee is another top scoring option for NC State, standing third on the team with 10.7 points per game. Lee, who scored 24 points in the season opener vs. Appalachian State, is 31-for-57 on his 2-point attempts this season. He finished with 15 points vs. Long Beach State and 10 points at Tennessee.
Lee was the 10th-ranked junior college prospect last season, averaging 20.3 points per game at New Mexico Junior College.
After scoring a career-high eight points vs. Detroit on Dec. 14, Kyle Washington pulled down a career-high seven rebounds in NC State's win at Tennessee.
RALSTON AROUND THE ARC
Ralston Turner, who made 95 shots from 3-point range during his two seasons at LSU, leads NC State with 21 made 3-pointers. Turner, who started the first four games of the season, came off the bench to score a season-high 21 points in the win over Detroit. He shot 6-for-8 from 3-point range and made his final five attempts on the night. He buried three treys against Northwestern for 13 points and made 4-for-7 from 3-point land in NC State's game at Cincinnati.
CAT IS THE NEW ANSWER
Like former NBA star Allen Iverson, Anthony ‘Cat' Barber grew up as quick, scoring point guard in Virginia. Barber broke Iverson's local scoring records in high school, totaling 2,097 career points. Barber tallied 11 points and four assists in the 2013 McDonald's All-American Game. Barber was ranked among the top point guards in the 2013 class, owning No. 9 rankings from both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
NC State, which has been one of the country's highest-scoring teams since Mark Gottfried arrived in 2011, has two 90-point performances this season.
NCSU exploded for 98 points on .619 shooting in the season opener vs. Appalachian State. The 98-point total was the team's highest since it scored 99 vs. Campbell on Nov. 26, 2004. In its last game, the Pack totaled 90 points on .582 shooting.
HIGH OCTANE OFFENSE
The Wolfpack's 98-point output vs. Appalachian State was the team's highest total in nine years, but it also served as a sign of Mark Gottfried's up-tempo offense getting results at NC State. Last season, NC State ranked ninth in the country with 77.4 points per game. The Wolfpack was fourth in the country in field goal percentage (.496) and held the national lead in shooting for several weeks.