After playing three straight ranked opponents, NC State will go on the road Saturday, Jan. 17 to play Florida State. The game will be on the ACC Network’s affiliate stations, which is WRAL-TV locally in the Triangle.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. ACC Sharpshooting
After five conference games, NC State is leading the ACC with a .482 field goal percentage in league play. NC State has shot better than 55 percent twice in league play, and better than 51 percent three times. NCSU converted 55.3 percent of its shots vs. Wake Forest in December, then shot 55.0 percent in its win over Duke. The Wolfpack also leads the ACC in field goals made in league play (134).
2. Three Ranked Teems... Now Hit The Road
NC State enters Saturday’s game having played three consecutive games vs. ranked opponents, all in an eight-day stretch. The Pack captured a win over previously unbeaten Duke and battled in close losses to Virginia and UNC-Chapel Hill.
After that stretch, NC State is currently No. 45 in the RPI with the nation’s No. 7 strength of schedule. After playing at Florida State, Mark Gottfried takes his team to Miami and then return home Jan. 25 to face another ranked team in Notre Dame.
3. ACC Player Of The Week
Trevor Lacey was voted the ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week this week after leading NC State to its win over previously-unbeaten Duke. Lacey scored 21 points and shot 5-for-7 from 3-point range against the Blue Devils. With NC State leading 50-48, Lacey scored eight points in a 22-5 run that put the Wolfpack ahead by 19. For the week, Lacey averaged 15.0 points in two games while shooting 8-for-13 from beyond the arc. Lacey followed his ACC award with 19 points and five assists against the Tar Heels on Wednesday.
4. Last Year's Win Over FSU Was Pivotal
With an ice storm limiting travel in the Triangle last January, Florida State came into an intimate setting at PNC Arena that saw just 7,700 able to make it to the game. The contest was a must-win contest for the Wolfpack, which entered the game with a 3-4 ACC record. T.J. Warren scored 30 points and Desmond Lee converted a tip-in with 9 seconds remaining to lift NC State to a 74-70 win over Florida State. At the end of the season, both teams ended up 9-9 in ACC play and NC State advanced to the NCAA Tournament while Florida State played in the NIT.
5. Perimeter Players Lead The Attack
NC State is led by its three-guard attack, with Trevor Lacey, Ralston Turner and Cat Barber combining for 41.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Lacey, fourth in the ACC in scoring with 17.1 points per game, combines with Turner (13.7 ppg) to form the ACC’s top 3-point shooting combination with 86 made 3-pointers. Barber, State’s starting point guard and a former McDonald’s All-American, is scoring 11.0 per game and leads the team in assists.
NC State leads the ACC and stands ninth in the nation with 6.17 blocked shots per game. NCSU is led in this area by ACC blocks leader BeeJay Anya, who stands 11th in the country with 3.06 blocks per game. The Pack has seven outings with seven or more blocked shots. NC State blocked 10 shots on Jan. 11 vs. Duke.
ACC’S TOP SCORING DUOS
Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner combine for 30.8 points per game, which is tied for fourth in the ACC for scoring duos.
THREE RANKED OPPONENTS IN A ROW
NC State just played ranked teams in Virginia, Duke and North Carolina. The last time NC State played three ranked opponents in a row was January 2010, when the Pack played #25 Florida State, #24 Clemson and #7 Duke all in a row. NC State went 2-1 in that stretch, winning at FSU then beating Duke in Raleigh.
DEFENSE IN ACC GAMES
NC State ranks third in ACC play by holding league opponents to .408 shooting. Only North Carolina (.556) has shot better than .411 against the Pack. On Dec. 6, NC State limited Wake Forest to .386 shooting. The Pack suffocated Pittsburgh on Jan. 3, holding the Panthers to 50 points on .327 shooting. While NC State did fall 61-51 at Virginia, it held the Cavs to .411 shooting. Duke shot a season-low .369 against NC State while the Pack blocked 10 shots.
TREVOR AMONG THE ACC’S BEST
Trevor Lacey’s play is critical to the Wolfpack on the court. As a result, his name is littered all over the ACC leadboards. Lacey currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring (17.1), is fourth in 3-point percentage (.442), eighth in 3-pointers made (2.24) and third in minutes played (35.18).
NOBODY IN THE ACC MAKES MORE SHOTS
Ralston Turner and Trevor Lacey combine to make the most prolific 3-point shooting duo in the ACC. Turner and Lacey combine for 86 made 3-pointers and a .424 3-point percentage. Turner and Lacey both appear among the ACC leaders for 3-point percentage and treys made. State is the only team in the ACC to have two players with 38 made 3-point field goals this season.
NC STATE GOES TO WASHINGTON
Kyle Washington tied his career high with 17 points in the loss to North Carolina. He also had nine points and four blocks in the win over Duke. Washington, who averages 7.6 points per game on the season, is scoring 9.8 points over the last five games. Washington owns two double-doubles this year (vs. Louisiana Tech and at Virginia) and five outings with double-figure scoring.
GOTT SOME ACC ROAD WINS
Under Mark Gottfried, NC State owns 11 ACC road wins (11-15). The Pack earned six ACC road wins over the past two seasons, including four last year.
NEED TREVOR TO SCORE
Trevor Lacey has produced seven outings with 20+ points, and NC State is 6-1 in those games. The only loss came on Dec. 20 to West Virginia, a game the Pack lost but got 24 points from Lacey.
BEEJAY’S BEST GAME
BeeJay Anya turned his the best game of his Wolfpack career in the win over Duke. Anya scored a career-high 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting, with several buckets coming right over Duke star Jahlil Okafor. Anya also grabbed six rebounds and blocked four shots.
WINNING THE TRANSFER GAME
While hundreds of players transfer schools each spring in college basketball, few coaches have been able to capitalize on that better than Mark Gottfried. His first squad at NCSU included transfer Alex Johnson (CSU Bakersfield), a key component in the team’s 2012 Sweet 16 run. Next came Ralston Turner (LSU), a double-digit scorer and starting wing player. Trevor Lacey (Alabama) is currently NC State’s on-court leader and leading scorer.
The Wolfpack’s loss to UNC was the first time this season NC State won the battle on the glass but lost. NC State was +4 on the glass and grabbed 18 offensive rebounds vs. North Carolina, one of the ACC’s top rebounding teams. NC State is 11-1 when outrebounding its opponent.
According to ESPN, NC State currently boasts the seventh-toughest schedule in the nation. Mark Gottfried will tell you last year’s tough schedule was the difference in NC State playing in the NCAA Tournament instead of the NIT. NC State’s 2013-14 schedule was ranked 21st toughest in the nation. NC State’s schedule this year features nine teams who played in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. ESPN tabbed NC State’s non-ACC schedule as the 26th toughest in the country.
ACC’s KING OF TWITTER
Before last season, The Sporting News evaluated the prominent college basketball coaches related to their presence on Twitter. TSN named Mark Gottfried (@Mark_ Gottfried) the ACC’s King of Twitter. As of this week, Gottfried has 35,555 followers. He ranks 15th among college coaches in Twitter followers.