NC STATE AIMS TO EXTEND WINNING STREAK VS. SYRACUSE
The NC State men’s basketball team will take on Syracuse Saturday, Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. The Wolfpack has won the last two meetings against the Orange. The Pack will also be returning to the Carrier Dome, the site of last season’s NCAA East Regional where the Pack was edged by Louisville in the Sweet 16.
THE STARTING 5
1. HISTORIC SEASON FROM CAT BARBER
There have been several standout individuals across the Atlantic Coast Conference this season, but only Cat Barber has had a season that’s truly historic. The 6-2 junior is leading the ACC in scoring with 23.5 points per game (league-best 23.8 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 eight games with 30 or more points, including six in ACC play. His 38-point against Wake Forest on Feb. 13 was a career high and featured 30 points in the second half. On Wednesday he scored 32 points (13 points in the first 5:28 of the game) against UNC Chapel Hill. Additionally, he is also leading the conference in free throws made (207) and minutes per game (38.75) and is third in free throw percentage (.870) and fourth in assists (4.5).
2. MATCH UP WELL WITH SYRACUSE
Since Syracuse came into the ACC in 2013, NC State has claimed some significant victories against the Orange.
In the 2014 ACC Tournament, the Wolfpack defeated a 9th-ranked Syracuse team 66-63 in the league quarterfinal. That win was a key ingredient to NC State’s NCAA Tournament resume that season.
In last season’s regular season finale, NC State rolled past the Orange 71-57 at PNC Arena to clinch a 10-8 ACC record. Another near-win came in February 2014, when the Pack lost at Syracuse 56-55. Weather and airplane issues caused travel delays for NC State, and the team arrived in Syracuse for the 7 p.m. game at 3 p.m.
Despite the interruption, NC State had a chance to win in the final seconds against Syracuse, which was ranked No. 1 at the time.
3. WELCOMING THE NEW ACC SCHOOLS WITH OPEN ARMS
In the three seasons since Notre Dame, Syracuse and Pittsburgh joined the ACC, NC State has fared well against the new schools. The Pack is 6-3 against those three teams, including an ACC Tournament win over Syracuse in 2014 and one over Pitt in 2015. NC State has three wins over Pittsburgh, two over Syracuse and a 2014 win at Notre Dame.
4. GET ‘EM ON THE GLASS
NC State is one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the nation, and one area where the Wolfpack could have an advantage is on the glass. The Pack pulls in 37.2 percent of available offensive rebounds, a number that ranks 17th in the nation. Syracuse is last in the ACC and 338th nationally in defensive rebounding percentage. NC State has 12 games this season with 16 or more offensive rebounds.
5. BEEJAY CLOSING IN ON SCHOOL BLOCKS RECORD
BeeJay Anya now has 205 career blocked shots, two shy of tying the school record (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 (2.42 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) 23.5 ppg 4.6 rpg 4.5 apg
Kenny Anderson (1989-90) 25.9 ppg 5.7 rpg 5.6 apg
LAST TRIP TO THE CARRIER DOME
It wasn’t that long ago that the Wolfpack was playing in the Carrier Dome on a big stage. After defeating LSU and Villanova, NC State advanced to Syracuse for last season’s Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. The Pack led by eight in the second half but fell short in a 75-65 loss to Louisville.
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 207 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.
6TH IN THE NATION
Cat Barber ranks sixth in the nation in scoring and second among all players playing for Power 5 schools. Only Buddy Hield of Oklahoma (25.1) 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 Saturday’s game with 205 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.) 205
3. Kevin Thompson (1989-93) 150
Cat Barber now has 1,388 career points, lifting him to 22nd in NC State history. He needs 37 points to tie Chris Corchiani for 20th on State’s all-time list. Barber is sixth among active players (and tops among non-seniors) in the ACC in career scoring. He is also now ninth 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: 23.5 4.5 4.5 .434 .351 .870
K. Dunn: 17.0 5.9 6.3 .438 .355 .684
Y. Ferrell: 17.0 3.9 5.5 .463 .424 .823
T. Ulis: 16.7 3.2 7.0 .438 .325 .861
N. Moore: 16.6 2.4 5.3 .437 .428 .809
D. Jackson: 16.4 3.5 4.9 .466 .336 .787
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 33-28 (.541) 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 4-11 in league play, the Pack has been competitive almost every night. NC State has four league losses by five or fewer points.