Wolfpack Opens With Columbia

No. 16 NC State (9-1) faces Columbia (6-2) tonight in the Dreyfus Holiday Festival.<P><B><CENTER> <a href=http://insiders1.ezboard.com/fnorthcarolinastatefrm17>Premium Chat</a></b></center>

Location: Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York

Tip-Off: 6:30 p.m.

Television: MSG Network

Radio: Airtime begins @6:00 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information

  • Roster
  • Schedule

    Columbia Information

  • Roster
  • Schedule
  • News

    NC State Projected Starting Line-up

    G Tony Bethel
    G Engin Atsur
    G Julius Hodge
    F Levin Watkins
    F Andrew Brackman

    Columbia Projected Starting Line-up

    G Mack Montgomery
    G Jeremiah Boswell
    G Brett Loscalzo
    F Matt Preston
    F Draqutin Kravic

    Players to Watch

    NC State
    Julius Hodge -- Senior guard returns to New York to play in Madison Square Garden for the first time as a member of the Wolfpack. Emotions will be running high for the NC State All-American who will be looking to put on a show.

    Matt Preston -- Senior forward is the leading returning scorer and rebounder for the Lions.

    Additional Notes

  • Despite returning four starters from last season's 10-17 squad, the Lions have six fi rst-year athletes, including at least one player at every position. There are four guards in Brett Loscalzo, Kashif Sweet, Mack Montgomery and Justin Armstrong. There is one forward, John Baumann and one center, Ben Nwachukwu.

  • The Lions were picked to fi nish fi fth in the preseason Ivy League Media Poll. Princeton notched the top spot, followed by Penn, Yale and Brown. Cornell, Harvard and Dartmouth were picked to fi nished sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

  • The Christmas holidays won't offer much of a break for the NC State men's basketball team. The team left Raleigh on Friday, Dec. 17, for Seattle, where the squad took on Washington on Sunday, December 19. Immediately following that contest, the squad flew to Salt Lake City, then bussed to Provo, where it defeated BYU, 72-61, on Tuesday, Dec. 21. Following the game, the team bussed back to Salt Lake City and headed home from there on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

    The travel day home was a long one, as the group heading back to Raleigh ended up spending most of the day stuck on the tarmac in Cincinnati. Julius Hodge and Gavin Grant had a long layover in Minneapolis on their way home to New York.

    The team met back in Raleigh on Christmas afternoon and will leave for the Holiday Festival in New York City on Dec. 27.

  • Freshman Andrew Brackman has been close to perfect in NC State's last four contests, averaging 14.8 points and 5.5 rebounds and shooting 71% (22-31) from the field. Brackman led the team with 20 points in the win over Louisiana Lafayette shooting a perfect 6-6 from the field (including 1-1 from behind the arc), and hit seven of his eight free throw attempts.

    Named ACC Rookie-of-the-Week for his performances against La-Lafayette and Washington, Brackman has now tallied 15 blocked shots for the season, the best mark on the team and the ninth-best mark in the ACC.

  • Playing in the famed Madison Square Garden is special for any college basketball player, but even more so for two members of the Wolfpack squad: Harlem's Julius Hodge and Gavin Grant, who hails from the Bronx.

    Both players have attended games in the Garden, but neither has ever played a game there.

  • If excellence in scoring, rebounding and passing document a player's all-around talents, then Julius Hodge could be called the nation's finest all-around player. He is the only active player in college basketball with over 1600 points, 600 rebounds and 300 assists.

    Hodge went over the 1600-point mark in the win over Louisiana Lafayette on Dec. 15 and now has 1,652 points for his career. He has 617 rebounds and 346 assists entering the Holiday Festival.

  • After gaining just 21% of its scoring from the bench last season, the Wolfpack is reaping the full benefits of a long bench in 2004-05. NC State's second and third-leading scorers this season are non-starters, as Cam Bennerman ranks second in scoring with 9.6 points per game and Andrew Brackman is tied for third at 9.1.

    This season, only one player, leading scorer Julius Hodge, is playing over 30 minutes per game (32.7), while four others are playing over 20 minutes per game and seven others have seen action in 15 or more minutes per contest. Of the 10 scholarship players on the squad, only two (rookies Cedric Simmons and Gavin Grant) have been in for less than 15 minutes per game.

    Last season, four Wolfpack players (Ilian Evtimov, Engin Atsur, Julius Hodge and Marcus Melvin) saw action in more than 29 minutes per game. The rest of the team averaged 8.5 minutes per game. In 2002-03, four players averaged more that 32 minutes per game.

  • NC State's heralded trio of talented rookies have all seen action this season, while transfer Tony Bethel has also competed for the Wolfpack for the first time.

    The Pack's pups have combined to play 26 games and play 312 minutes, that's 10 minutes per player per game. Freshman forward Andrew Brackman, is tied as State's third-leading scorer, is leading the way with 18.2 minutes per game and has played in all 10 contests. Center Cedric Simmons has seen action in eight games, averaging 8.3 minutes, while guard Gavin Grant has seen 8.0 minutes of action in eight contests.

    Bethel, a redshirt junior, has started all 10 contests and is averaging 29.6 minutes per game, the second-highest tally on the team.

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