Tip-Off: 8:00 p.m.
Radio: Airtime begins @ 7:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
North Carolina Information
NC State's Projected Starters
22 Tony Bethel (6-2, 178, G, Jr.) - 8.1 ppg, 2.5 apg 14 Engin Atsur (6-3, 200, G, So.) – 8.7 ppg, 2.6 apg 24 Julius Hodge (6-7, 205, F, Sr.) – 17.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg 3 Ilian Evtimov (6-7, 232, F, Sr.) - 8.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg 32 Jordan Collins (6-10, 242, C, Sr.) – 6.2 ppg, 2.7 rpgNorth Carolina's Probable Starters
32 Rashad McCants 15.8 ppg 3.1 rpg 42 Sean May 15.6 ppg 10.3 rpg 21 Jawad Williams 14.7 ppg 4.0 rpg 02 Ray Felton 11.6 ppg 7.1 apg 05 Jackie Manuel 5.8 ppg 2.8 rpgPlayers to Watch
Tony Bethel -- Bethel has played outstanding since returning from a battle with a variety of illnesses. He must have a big game for NC State to have a chance. If he can shut down Felton like he did Maryland's John Gilchrist, it could be a good night for the Wolfpack.
Ray Felton -- He's the engine for North Carolina. Will Bethel be able to slow him down?
NC State Notes
UNC holds a 131-74 lead in the series and has won 19 of the last 27 meetings between the teams. NC State had earned four consecutive victories over North Carolina, the most consecutive wins since the 1970s, before dropping both contests to the Tar Heels last season.
Whatever you call it, the Wolfpack has used a tenacious defense to earn victories in its last two outings: at Georgia Tech and versus No. 22 Maryland. In those two games combined, the opposition has averaged just 57 points.
Tech entered the contest averaging 76.6 points per game before posting the lowest scoring tally for a Wolfpack league opponent in four years with 51 points (Florida State scored just 46 points on Feb. 25, 2001). That total tied as the fifth lowest by by an ACC team during Herb Sendek's nine years.
Maryland came into the RBC Center averaging 83 points per game, but was held 20 points under its normal total. The Wolfpack has given up 64.2 points per game in its five league wins, 77.1 in the seven losses.
Overall, the Wolfpack ranks second only to Duke in the ACC-only stats 8.58 per game. The Wolfpack has connected on double figure three-point shots in four ACC contests this season: at Miami (12), at Maryland (12), at Clemson (13) and versus Maryland (13) at home.
NC State's 65% mark on threes at Clemson marked the highest ever for an opponent in Littlejohn Coliseum.
The Wolfpack has had some close calls in conference games this season, losing to Miami and Virginia Tech by one point, to Virginia by two and defeating Georgia Tech in Atlanta by two.
North Carolina Notes
QUICK STARTS IN FIRST HALVES
10 ACC WINS FOR A 30TH TIME
NOEL & MANUEL'S DEFENSE: In the recent games, top players guarded primarily by the duo of David Noel and Jackie Manuel (including Julius Hodge of NC State, Von Wafer of Florida State, J.J. Redick of Duke, Rudy Gay of Connecticut and J.R. Reynolds of Virginia) are 20-for-60 (33.3 percent) from the field and have zero 20-point games.
The duo held Hodge to 7 of 17 shooting from the field (Feb. 3), Wafer to 5 of 12 (Feb. 6), Redick to 4 of 12 (Feb. 9), Gay to 4 of 14 (Feb. 13) and Reynolds to 0 of 5 (Feb. 16).
ESPN's Dick Vitale recently named Manuel to his "All-Velcro Super Six" defensive team. Vitale writes of Manuel, "At North Carolina, the Tar Heels have great firepower with Sean May, Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants. But Jackie Manuel is a defensive standout who plays well against opposing big guards or small forwards, making them work hard for everything they get. He understands his role and provides a defensive stopper."
TAR HEELS 4-2 ON THE ACC ROAD: UNC is 4-2 on the road in ACC games this season after going 2-6 on the road in the conference in 2003-04.
This season marks the 40th time in 52 season of ACC play that Carolina has finished .500 or better on the road in conference action (and the first time since 2000-01). The Tar Heels have finished better than .500 29 times.
Carolina has beaten Virginia Tech, Clemson, Virginia and Florida State on the road and lost at Wake Forest and Duke. UNC still must play at NC State and Maryland this season.
Prior to 2004-05, the Tar Heels had lost 20 of 24 ACC road games in their last three seasons combined.
30-POINT WINS: The Tar Heels have won nine games by 30 points or more this season. That is the most 30+-point wins since the 1992-93 team also had nine.
As freshmen in 2001-02, Carolina seniors Jawad Williams, Jackie Manuel and Melvin Scott were part of a team that won just eight games all season (finishing 8-20 on the year). (Note courtesy of Neil Amato of the Durham Herald-Sun.)
Ray Felton, Rashad McCants
Jackie Manuel, Jawad Williams
Sean May, Marvin Williams