Tip-Off: 12:15 p.m.
Radio: Airtime begins @ 11:30 AM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
NC State's Probable Starters
G Engin Atsur 9.3 ppg 2.6 apg G Cameron Bennerman 9.2 ppg 2.6 rpg G Julius Hodge 17.0 ppg 6.8 rpg F Ilian Evtimov 9.8 ppg 3.8 rpg F Andrew Brackman 7.3 ppg 3.5 rpgCharlotte's Probable Starters
G Mitchell Baldwin 7.7 ppg 3.0 rpg G Brendan Plavich 13.7 ppg 2.8 rpg C Martin Iti 5.2 ppg 4.1 rpg F Curtis Withers 18.1 ppg 8.3 rpg F Eddie Basden 15.3 ppg 8.4 rpgPlayers to Watch
Ilian Evtimov -- Evtimov's strong play has keyed NC State's late-sesaon turnaround. The 6'7 power forward was sensational at the ACC Tournament, where he earned All-Tournament honors. He'll have his hands full with Withers on the defensive end, but he can create matchup problems on the offensive end as well.
Curtis Withers -- Withers is probably the most underrated player in Conference USA, and perhaps on his team. With teammate Eddie Basden winning Player of the Year honors, all Withers has done was lead the 49ers in scoring and is averaging 24.9 points per game over his last eight games. The 6'7 power forward is a load inside and he can step out and knock down the jumper.
NC State Game Notes
NC State is one of just 21 teams who have earned NCAA bids each of the past four seasons. This marks just the second time in school history that the Wolfpack has gone to four straight tournaments. NC State earned five straight bids from 1985-89 before the current streak.
The last time the Pack had won four of its last six regular season games when the opposition was ranked in at least three of those games was in 1979-80, when Norm Sloan's team finished the teason 9-1 and faced four ranked teams in its last six games (three top 10 teams).
Ö This is the first time the Wolfpack has earned a No. 10 seed. This is the second lowest seed for NC State entering the NCAA Tournament. The only time NC State entered with a lower seed was in 1987 when the Pack was seeded 11th for a first round game with Florida. Florida won that game, 82-70.
Ö The Wolfpack has played two games against the No. 7 seed in its NCAA Tournament history, winning both. NC State defeated Iowa State in the Regional semifinals in 1986 and seventhseeded Alabama in the regional semifinals in 1985.
Ö This will be the second time in the last four years that NC State and UCONN could meet in the second round of the tournament. The Huskies eliminated the Pack, 77-74, in the second round of 2002 at the MCI Center in Washington, DC.
Ö NC State's 1983 team won the National Championship as a No. 6 seed. That ties as the second-worst seed in the history of the tournament to win the N C A A Championship. Kansas won the 1988 National Championship as a No. 6 seed. The worst seed for an NCAA Champion was a No. 8 by Villanova in 1985.
Ö Three NC State athletic directors have served on the NCAATournament Committee. Willis Casey served from 1975- 80, Les Robinson in 2000 while he was the A D at NC State and Lee Fowler, the Pack's current AD, served from 2001- 02. Fowler was the committee chair in 2002.
Ö NC State has won two National Championships, but only one Wolfpack player has been named the MVP of the Final Four. David Thompson won the award in 1974 when NC State defeated Marquette and Al McGuire for the championship. In 1983, Houston's Akeem Olajuwon won the award even though NC State won the championship. That is the last time a player on a losing team won the MVP of the Final Four.
Ö An NC State player has led the NCAA Tournament in scoring (total points basis) twice, both seasons the Pack won the National Championship. David Thompson led the tournament in 1974 with 97 points, while Dereck Whittenburg (now head coach at Fordham), led the tournament in scoring with 120 points in 1983.
Charlotte Game Notes
Basden was the only player in the league to rank in C-USA's Top 10 in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and field goal pct. He's scored in double figures 24 times, with six double-doubles.
In league play, he averaged 16.2 points, 8.4 rebounds while shooting .497 from the field. He led CUSA with a school-record 91 steals, and broke both the league and school marks with 262 career thefts. He has had at least three steals in 21 games. ESPN College Basketball analyst Jay Bilas called Basden his National Defensive Player of the Year.
Withers, who led the league with a 19.1 scoring average in league games, has averaged 24.9 points over the last eight games, scoring at least 18 in each. Withers leads the 49ers in scoring at 18.1 ppg (4th C-USA) and he pulls 8.3 rebounds (7th C-USA). He tops the Niners with nine double-doubles and ten 20-point games, including seven in league play. He had 32 in the C-USA Tourney game at Memphis and a season-high 39 at Saint Louis, the most by a 49er in 23 years.
Withers has scored over 20 points in five of the last six games and leads C-USA at 19.1 ppg in league games. He was named ESPN.com's National Player of the Week, Feb. 14 after averaging 30.0 points and 9.0 rebounds in a pair of wins, including a C-USA season-high 39 points at Saint Louis.
Basden won three C-USA Player of the Week honors, in February and is called the nation's top defender by ESPN's Jay Bilas.
Plavich has scored 20+ in two of the last three games, has hit at least five threes in 12 games and ranks 1st in the nation (3.9 3fg/gm).