MIAMI UP NEXT
NC State, which owns a pair of wins over ranked opponents this season, takes on No. 15/13 Miami Saturday afternoon at PNC Arena. The two teams have split four meetings over the last two seasons. Miami will be the fourth ranked opponent in the last five games for NC State.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. THE BIG CAT
A leader of a wolfpack is known as the pack’s alpha male, and Cat Barber has been every bit of that for NC State this season. The 6-2 junior point guard leads the ACC in scoring (22.8 ppg), free throws made (147) and minutes played (38.5) while also ranking fourth in assists (4.7). His output has bordered on historical. He’s the only player in the nation averaging more than 22.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game. Additionally, there hasn’t been an ACC player to reach those marks in more than 20 years. Over the last three games, Barber is averaging 28.7 points and 4.7 assists while shooting .492 from the floor, .545 from 3-point range and 22-for- 22 at the foul line.
2. BRING SUCCESS AGAINST MIAMI HOME
NC State has had the majority of its recent success against Miami away from PNC Arena. In January 2014, the Wolfpack won at UM 56-55 but a month later the Hurriances came to Raleigh and evened the score with an 85-70 win. Two weeks later in the ACC Tournament, NC State exacted revenge by ousting Miami 67-58 in Greensboro. In Mark Gottfried’s first game against Miami, the Wolfpack won on the road 78-73. The Pack’s last home win over Miami came in 2011 when both teams had different head coaches.
3. EXPERIENCE DIFFERENCE
NC State and Miami are on the opposite ends of the experience spectrum. According to basketball analytics site KenPom.com, NC State ranks 305th in the nation in experience with a player average of 1.27 years. Miami, a team that has three senior starters, ranks 38th in the country and second in the ACC in the same experience metric (2.18 years).
4. ABU COMING OFF CAREER-HIGH NIGHT
Abdul-Malik Abu continues to blossom into a force. The 6-8 sophomore owns nine double-doubles over the last 12 games and scored a career-high 22 points and pulled in 11 rebounds against Georgia Tech. A lob dunk by Abu off an inbounds play was on a version of the ESPN Sportscenter Top 10. He also recently produced 21 points and 13 rebounds against Florida State. Abu stands eighth in the ACC in rebounding (8.6 rpg) and is third in the conference in offensive rebounding (3.48).
5. PACK HAS 2 WINS OVER RANKED TEAMS ALREADY
Miami enters Saturday’s game ranked in the top 15 in both national polls, making it the fifth nationally-ranked opponent for NC State this month. The Wolfpack went to Pittsburgh, which was ranked in the coaches poll at the time, and won 78-61 and have losses to ranked teams Louisville, Duke and UNC-CH this month. State’s other victory against a ranked team came in Brooklyn in November when the Pack out-lasted then-No. 22 LSU 83-72 in overtime.
The Wolfpack owns seven wins over ranked teams over the last three seasons.
TERRY SLOWLY GETTING BACK
Terry Henderson, a transfer from West Virginia who was projected to play a signficant role for the Pack this season, has slowly been improving his status after a major ankle injury. Henderson, who scored 11.7 ppg in 2013-14 at WVU, has been able to practice some shooting and agility drills. His timetable for a return is still unknown.
WOLFPUPS GAINING EXPERIENCE
The experience gained this season by the young Wolfpack squad could pay dividends for the program’s future. According to the popular basketball metrics website KenPom. com, the Wolfpack stands as the 305th most-experienced team (or 46th least-experienced) in the country. The team, when minutes played are weighted by each player’s eligibility class, averages just 1.27 years of experience. The national average is 1.70 and the average experience of the 15-team ACC is 1.48.
Cat Barber surpassed the 1,000-point mark in December, reaching the plateau in his 83rd game as a Wolfpacker. Barber now has 1,209 career points, ranking 39th in NC State history. He needs 31 points to tie Tracy Smith for 35th place. Barber is seventh among active players (and tops among non-seniors) in the ACC in career scoring.
CAT AT THE FOUL LINE
Cat Barber enters Saturday’s game having made 25 straight free throws. The junior guard leads the ACC and ranks fifth in the nation with 147 made free throws. Barber has nine games with 8+ made foul shots and ranks fourth in the conference with an .865 free throw percentage. CAT ROLLIN’ ON 20s AND 30s Cat Barber, the ACC’s leading scorer, tops the conference rankings in game with 20+ poitns and 30+ points. Barber boasts a league-high 13 outings with 20 or more points in addition to having an ACC-best four games with 30+ points.
CAT AND CALEB’S IMPROVEMENT
Cat Barber, Caleb Martin and Abdul-Malik Abu have three of the higher increases in scoring in the ACC. Barber ranks second with a 10.7-ppg increase from last year while and Martin and Abu are both seventh with increases of 6.1 points per game.
Last year at Miami, Abdul-Malik Abu had the best game of his freshman season. Abu scored 19 points on 9-for-14 shooting and scored NC State’s first 12 points of the game. He also had 14 of the Pack’s first 18 points.
17 DAYS APART
Mark Gottfried was hired at NC State on April 5, 2011. Seventeen days later, Jim Larrañaga was named coach at Miami. Here’s how the two veteran coaches have fared:
W-L (ACC) ACCT Record NCAA (Record)
Gottfried 103-62 (40-38) 7-4 4 (5-4)
Larrañaga 107-52 (46-31) 6-3 1 (2-1)
CODY IN LEAGUE PLAY
Cody Martin is shooting .561 from the floor in league play and has increased his scoring and rebounding. He has shot .500 or better in seven of the eight conference games, including a 6-for-8 mark vs. Duke. Additionally, he has made his first two career 3-pointers since ACC play began.