NC State (11-5, 1-2) faces Virginia Tech (8-6, 1-2) at the Cassell Center and looks to secure its first ACC road win. <P><B><CENTER>
Cassell Center in Blacksburg, Virginia
Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Net
Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
Virginia Tech Information
Probable North Carolina State Starters
F 3 Iliam Evtimov r-Jr. 6-7 8.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
F 24 Julius Hodge Sr. 6-6 18.1 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 4.5 apg
F 40 Andrew Brackman Fr. 6-10 9.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.6 bspg
G 14 Engin Atsur So. 6-3 7.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 2.4 apg
G 13 Cameron Bennerman Jr. 6-4 10.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.9 spg
Virgina Tech's Probable Starters
F 32 Carlos Dixon r-Sr. 6-7 14.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.1 spg
F 13 Deron Washington Fr. 6-7 9.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 0.8 bspg
C 33 Coleman Collins So. 6-9 10.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 0.9 bspg
G 1 Zabian Dowdell So. 6-2 14.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg
G 22 Jamon Gordon So. 6-3 10.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 4.7 apg
Players to Watch
Andrew Brackman -- The Wolfpack freshman has played well lately, and he could exploit the Hokies suspect frontline.
Carlos Dixon -- Tech needs a terrific game from their senior leader.
NC State Notes
PACK FACES NEW OLD RIVAL: The
Wolfpack hits the road this week to make
its first trip to Blacksburg, Virginia, in 35
years. NC State hasn't played at Virginia
Tech sine the 1969-70 season and hasn't
faced its new ACC rival since 1983-84.
Despite the long lapse between games,
State and Tech have faced each other on
the hardwood 37 times. The Wolpack
posts a 28-9 advantage in the series that
dates back to the 1914-15 season.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: After playing
two consecutive home games, the Wolfpack
will pack its bags for two straight
road games, as Herb Sendek's squad
plays at Virginia Tech on Wednesday and
then at Maryland on Sunday. In fact, four
of NC State's next five games are on the
opponent's home court, as the Wolfpack
will make a brief visit back to the RBC
Center to take on Florida State on Jan. 26,
then heads to Clemson on the 29th and to
UNC on Feb 3.
After playing eight home games to
open the season, the Wolfpack is now in
the middle of playing 12 of its next 16
away from home. NC State and Clemson
are the only ACC schools who are
playing five of their first eight league
games on the road this season.
The good news is that State will close
out the season with four of its last five at
GIANT KILLERS: With the win over
eighth-ranked Georgia Tech on Sunday,
NC State has now knocked off a top-10
team in each of the last five seasons and
has won nine of its last 22 games against
teams ranked in the top 10.
PACK GAINS FIRST CONFERENCE
WIN: NC State opened ACC play with
two straight losses, the first time the Pack
had opened 0-2 in the league since the
2000-01 season. However, the squad
bounced back with a win over eighthranked
Georgia Tech on Sunday, halting
its losing streak at four and marking the
Pack's first victory over a ranked team
this season (in three tries).
The Wolfpack, which has struggled
from the foulline at times this season, shot
81% from the line (21-24 in the second
half) and hit 17 straight shots from the
Two of the Pack's starters to open the
season missed the game due to illness
or injury (Tony Bethel and Levi Watkins).
SECOND-HALF LETDOWNS: NC
State has lost five of its last eight games
after opening the season with a perfect
8-0 mark. One key factor behind the
losses could be the Wolfpack's secondhalf
In the first eight games of the season,
The Wolfpack averaged 44.4 points in
the second half. In the last eight outings,
that tally is down to 36.8.
Defensively, the swing is almost as
dramatic. In the first eight games, the
opposition averaged 31.6 points in the
second half. In the last eight, that mark
is up to 40.1 points.
ATSUR IS DEFENSIVE DEMON: Since
Tony Bethel has been on the bench due to
illness, sophomore guard Engin A t s ü r
has been handling the ball much more
and has become the ball-stopper for the
Although Atsür has not scored prodigiously
in those three games (he had 15
in the loss at Miami and then 11 points in
the last two games combined), he has
been impressive on defense and with his
ball handling skills.
Atsür drew the duty of being the primary
person to guard Duke's J.J. Redick
and Georgia Te c h 's Jarrett Jack, both
prodigious three-point shooters. Against
A t s ü r's tenacious defense, Redick shot
just just 1-5 from the field (0-4) on three's ,
while Jack went 5-13, 1-4 from behind the
arc. The two combined to shoot just 33%
from the field and 12% on three's.
In the last three games, Atsür has
boasted an impressive 3.0 assist-toturnover
ratio (12-to-4), has stolen the ball
eight times and has tallied 26 deflections.
Virginia Tech Notes
GORDON STEALS SHOW IN 2 LEAGUES: Jamon Gordon leads the ACC
and the Hokies in steals and is eighth
nationally in steals ... He finished
sixth in the nation in steals last
season ... Gordon recorded 66 steals
last season ... With those steals, he
set a new Virginia Tech record for
steals in a season by a freshman ...
He led the BIG EAST Conference in
steals last season ... Gordon averaged
2.8 steals per game last season and
that average has risen to 3.0 steals
per game this season.
CLUTCH WHEN NEEDED: In the win over Clemson, the
Hokies hit 18 of 24 free throw
attempts ... That 75% looks even
better when you see that Tech hit 13
of 15 (86.7%) in the second half ...
Tech's last missed free throw came at
the 3:24 mark ... Carlos Dixon and
Zabian Dowdell were both a perfect
three-for-three from the line in the
YOUTH: So far this season, Virginia Tech
has just 15 starts (all but one by
Carlos Dixon) from members of its
junior and senior classes ... The next
fewest number of starts by juniors
and seniors in the ACC is Miami's 30
and Virginia's 35 ... Shawn Harris'
start at Florida State was the first for a
Tech junior this season.
DEFENDING THE CASSELL: Virginia Tech is 7-2 at home
this season ... The loss to North
Carolina was the Hokies' first loss
in Cassell Coliseum since a loss to
#6/8 Connecticut on Jan. 28, 2004
... Tech has won 12 of it's last 14
games in Cassell ... The nine-game
winning streak before the loss to
North Carolina was the longest home
winning streak since Tech won 17
straight at home from 1994-96 ...
Seth Greenberg is 18-6 (.750) in
Cassell Coliseum and 6-4 (.600) in
conference games in Cassell (both
ACC and Big East) ... Tech has not
lost to an unranked conference team
in Cassell Coliseum since a 74-63
loss to Notre Dame on Jan. 20, 2004.
ON THE BOARDS:
Forward Deron Washington
recorded the first double-figure
rebounding game of his career
with 10 boards in the win over
James Madison ... The freshman
from New Orleans, who is second
for the Hokies in rebounding, is
the first Hokie freshman to grab
double-figure rebounds in a game
since Bryant Matthews grabbed 10
rebounds against Providence on Jan.
20, 2001 ... Matthews recorded three
double figure rebounding games as
a freshman in the 2000-01 season ...
Washington missed his first career
double-double in the win over
Clemson, with 10 points and eight
Collins ... Dowdell
Calloway ... Greenberg