PACK, HEELS TONIGHT
The NC State men’s basketball team will host the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The Wolfpack and Tar Heels will be meeting for the 230th time, a series that dates back to 1912. The two teams, who have played at least twice each year since 1919-20, met in Chapel Hill back on Jan. 16.
THE STARTING FIVE
1. WOLFPACK-TAR HEELS, EPISODE 230
Since 1912, North Carolinians have had to choose between the red of NC State and the blue of UNC Chapel Hill. For the 230th time, NC residents will have to make that choice again Wednesday night. The Wolfpack and Tar Heels have met at least twice every season since the 1919-20 campaign. The two rivals split a pair of games last season, with the road team winning each time. UNC-CH has already defeated NC State 67-55 at the Dean Smith Center earlier this season. That game was tied 29-29 at halftime.
2. HISTORIC SEASON FROM CAT BARBER
Rarely in college basketball does a player produce a season equal to what Car Barber is doing this year.The 6-2 junior is leading the ACC in scoring with 23.1 points per game (league-best 23.2 ppg in ACC play) and is on pace to become the second player in ACC history to average 23 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.5 apg (Kenny Anderson in 1990-91). Barber has a league-best seven games with 30 or more points, including five in ACC play. His 38-point against Wake Forest on Feb. 13 was a career high and featured 30 points in the second half.
Additionally, he is also leading the conference in free throws made (200) and minutes per game (38.71) and is fourth in free throw percentage (.866) and fourth in assists (4.5).
3. NC STATE REMAINS A TOUGH OUT
The Wolfpack, having won three straight home games, has proven to be a tough out for the ACC’s top teams and nationally-ranked opponents. In the beginning of the season, the Pack took down an LSU team ranked No. 22 at the time in Brooklyn and limited freshman phenom Ben Simmons to four points on one field goal. On Jan. 19, State went into No. 20 Pittsburgh’s gym and blew out the Panthers 78-61. NC State led that game at Pitt 44-19 at halftime. No. 13 Miami came to PNC Arena on Jan. 30 and was sent home with an 85-69 loss behind 30 points from Cat Barber.
4. LAST THREE MEETINGS IN PNC HAVE BEEN EPICS
In each of the past three seasons, the Wolfpack-Tar Heels game at PNC Arena has been more than memorable. In 2013, the Pack hosted ESPN’s College Gameday and fed off a frenzied PNC Arena environment to the tune of a 45-26 lead at halftime. The lead was 28 later before the Pack finished the 91-83 win. In 2014, a duel for the ages between T.J. Warren and Marcus Paige led to an 85-84 overtime win for UNC-CH. Warren finished with 36 points and Paige scored 35, including the game-winner. Last year, the two teams traded punches in a game that went down to the final second. With State trailing 81-78, Abdul-Malik Abu made a foul shot and intentionally missed the second. Cody Martin’s tip-in to tie the game rolled off the rim and UNC-CH held on 81-79.
5. 4 MORE SWATS
BeeJay Anya collected four blocked shots at Virginia and three more against Clemson, bringing his career total to 203. He is four blocks shy of tying the school record for career blocked shots (207 by Thurl Bailey). Anya and Bailey are the only two players in NC State history to block 200 shots. The 6-9 junior led the ACC in blocked shots last season (2.53 per game) and is currently topping the conference in that category this year (2.44 per game).
THERE’S ONLY ONE CAT WITH 23 PPG / 4.5 RPG / 4.5 APG
Cat Barber is the only player in the nation averaging at least 23 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. In all of college basketball dating back to 1994, only four other players have reached those averages in a season: LaDrell Whitehead, Wyoming (1994-95) Charles Jones, Long Island (96-97, 97-98) Rodney Stuckey, Eastern Wash. (06-07) Billy Baron, Canisius (13-14)
23 PPG / 4.5 RPG / 4.5 APG IN THE ACC
Cat Barber would be the second player in ACC history - joining Georgia Tech great Kenny Anderson - to average 23 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 4.5 apg in a season (assists became official stat in 1984):
Cat Barber (2015-16) 23.1 ppg 4.5 rpg 4.5 apg
Kenny Anderson (1989-90) 25.9 ppg 5.7 rpg 5.6 apg
AT THE LINE SHOOTING 2...CAT BARBER
Wake Forest coach Danny Manning wasn’t lying when he called Cat Barber a “tough cover.” Barber slashed and darted around the Demon Deacons to the tune of 17-for-20 free throw shooting, including 17-for-18 in the second half. Barber owns three of the ACC’s top four free throw shooting performances (19-22 vs. Winthrop, 17-20 vs. Wake Forest, 14-14 at Pittsburgh).
The blinding-quick point guard has made 200 free throws this year, the third-highest season mark in NC State history. The school record for FTs made in a season is 224 by Sammy Ranzino in 1950-51.
5TH IN THE NATION
Cat Barber ranks seventh in the nation in scoring and second among all players playing for Power 5 schools. Only Buddy Hield of Oklahoma (25.4) averages more points than Barber
BEEJAY REJECTING OPPONENTS
BeeJay Anya, the current league leader in blocks, stands second on NC State’s all-time career blocks list. He enters Wednesday’s game with 203 career blocks, four short of the school record held by Thurl Bailey (1979-83):
NC State Career Blocked Shots
No. 1. Thurl Bailey (1979-83) 207
2. BeeJay Anya (2013-pres.) 203
3. Kevin Thompson (1989-93) 150
Cat Barber now has 1,356 career points, lifting him to 25th in NC State history. He needs 27 points to tie Clyde Austin for 22nd on State’s alltime list.
Barber is sixth among active players (and tops among non-seniors) in the ACC in career scoring. He is also now 10th in school history in career assists.
CAT vs. OTHER TOP PGs
Here’s how Cat Barber’s numbers stack up against other top point guards from around the nation:
PPG RPG APG FG% 3FG% FT%
Barber: 23.1 4.5 4.5 .433 .359 .866
K. Dunn: 17.3 6.1 6.6 .441 .367 .684
N. Moore: 16.8 2.4 5.3 .437 .423 .813
T. Ulis: 16.7 3.2 6.9 .440 .333 .864
Y. Ferrell: 16.6 3.9 5.5 .455 .418 .823
D. Jackson: 16.4 3.4 4.9 .469 .347 .784
M. Trimble: 14.0 3.3 5.2 .426 .333 .863
‘MARKING’ IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Mark Gottfried has a track record of getting his team to play its best when its best is needed. The Pack tends to trend upward as the season goes on:
ACC Play Jan. 1-29: 18-22 (.450)
Games Jan. 30 Forward: 33-27 (.550)
Record In March: 19-10 (.655)
“IN EVERY GAME”
After the game at Cameron Indoor, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski said Cat Barber “gives them a chance to win every game.” Despite being 4-10 in league play, the Pack has been competitive almost every night. NC State has four league losses by five or fewer points.
LENNARD’S THE MAN OF STEEL
Lennard Freeman, a starter for 15 games, had successful surgery in May, and now has a 14-inch rod inserted in his lower right leg to heal a fracture.
CODY IN LEAGUE PLAY
Cody Martin is shooting .553 from the floor in league play and, since becoming a starter, has increased his scoring and offensive efficiency: Cody As Starter: 8.8 ppg / 4.0 rpg / .569 FG
Cody Off Bench: 5.8 ppg / 4.5 rpg / .468 FG