NC State will be playing its second straight new member school to start ACC play when its travels to Notre Dame Tuesday, Jan. 7. It is the Wolfpack's first visit to Notre Dame since 1982.
ON THE ‘MARK' in ACC PLAY
NC State won 20 ACC games during Mark Gottfried's first two seasons at NC State. That total was the most for the Wolfpack over a two-year span since the 2002-03 and 2003-04 seasons. NC State also won 20 ACC games during those two seasons. Additionally, Gottfried became just the third coach in ACC history to lead his first two teams to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wolfpack has held eight of its last 11 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.
THE MOST IMPROVEMENT IN THE ACC
T.J. Warren has lifted his scoring average from last year's 12.1 points to his current 23.9 average. The +11.8 points-per-game increase is the best in the ACC.
DOUBLE-FIGURE SCORING STREAK
T.J. Warren has scored in double figures in 14 consecutive games, or each game of this season. He is the only ACC player to have double-digit scoring over the last 14 games.
NC State's 14-for-15 performance at the free throw line vs. Pitt was the team's best free throw shooting of the season. The .933 foul shooting percentage was the team's best mark since Feb. 27, 2008 when the Wolfpack shot 11-for-11 vs. Florida State.
IMPROVED FT SHOOTING BY DESMOND
Desmond Lee has raised his free throw percentage in recent weeks. After six games, he was shooting just .630 at the foul line. During the eight contests since then, Lee has shown great improvement, shooting 81.5%.
PACK GOES LIKE T.J. GOES
There's 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 28-10 when Warren scores in double figures and 15-4 when he leads the team in scoring.
#TONYBUCKETS PUTS UP 25
Scoring 25 points in a game is quite a feat. T.J. Warren has done that five times this season.
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 against Northwestern on Dec. 4. His 82 points was the most during a three-game span since Tom Gugliotta scored 83 during the first three contests in 1991-92.
Mark Gottfried specifically set out to challenge his young team when he built the 2013-14 schedule. NC State will play 20 games against 18 different teams, including Notre Dame, that competed in a postseason tournament in 2013 (9 in the 2013 NCAA Tournament).
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. Freeman is tied with T.J. Warren for the team lead in defensive rebounds (63).
NC State claimed two road wins in nonconference play, defeating Tennessee on Dec. 18 and UNC Greensboro on Dec. 30. Those two victories were NC State's first two non-ACC true road wins under Mark Gotffried.
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 nine games with double-digit scoring. Barber, who is averaging 12.0 points per game and leads NC State in assists, has 27 assists over the last four games.
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.
Freshman forward Kyle Washington, the first post off the bench, has increased his production in recent games. After scoring eight points vs. Detroit on Dec. 14, the 6-9 Minnesota native tallied a career-high 10 points vs. Missouri. He also pulled down a career-high seven rebounds in NC State's win at Tennessee.
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 6.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.5 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 vs. ECU on Dec. 21.
Jordan Vandenberg has finished 25 dunks in 245 minutes of action this season. That comes out to one dunk every 9 minutes, 48 seconds of game action.
WRAPPING UP 2013
NC State finished the 2013 calendar year with a 23-12 record. That set the Wolfpack with a 47-23 mark during the combined 2012 and 2013 calendar years (24-11 in calendar year 2012).
SHARING THE BALL
NC State dished 17 assists on its 25 made field goals against Missouri, tying a season high for assist percentage (.680). The Pack also had 17 assists on 25 made buckets vs. Detroit on Dec. 14.
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.
EASY ‘DEZ' IT
Desmond Lee is another top scoring option for NC State, standing third on the team with 10.4 points per game. Lee, who scored 24 points in the season opener vs. Appalachian State and has eight double-digit scoring outings this season, finished with 15 points both vs. Long Beach State and at UNCG.
Over the last four games, NC State has blocked 27 shots. Before blocking six shots vs. Missouri, 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 has 12 blocks over the last three games.