NC State defended him with multiple players, constantly keeping a fresh body on Harrell with Lennard Freeman setting the tone early.
"I just tried to basically do the things we've done all year," said Freeman. "I wanted to stay in front of him and box him out. I just tried to focus on... when I saw him play he was an energy guy. When people shoot they just miss and look at it, but with him it's not done until you get the ball."
Harrell can hit mid-range jumpers and has knocked down a few three-pointers this season, but a lot of his offense can come on transition dunks and offensive rebounding. NC State wanted to keep a body on Harrell at all times, limiting his air space and keeping him off the offensive glass.
"He's kind of like me I think," Freeman said. "They run plays for him though... but you have to put a body on him or he might put one on your head. Nobody wants to get put on Sports Center. You have to box him out and match his intensity."
"You have to keep a body on him at all times," added freshman forward Abdul-Malik Abu. "He's terrific. He has a high motor. He's an animal down there. We just have to slow him down and box him out."
Harrell, who grew up in Tarboro, North Carolina and considered NC State out of high school, remains the focal point defensively for the Wolfpack. Limiting his production can essentially shut down Louisville's frontcourt offense because the Cardinals' other post players aren't relied on for offense.
"We have to slow him down," said Abu. "We feel like his offensive skillset is one where if he's comfortable he'll be a dangerous player. If you make things a little more uneasy he's more of a player we can stop.
"He's a very talented player, and he'll be in the NBA next year. We have to do our best, like we did before, to lock him down."
Freeman believes there is one major factor in defending Harrell.
"We have to match his intensity."