Gameday: NC State vs. Notre Dame

NC State (4-0) faces Notre Dame (2-0) tonight in the John R. Wooden Tradition. The Irish returns three quality players in Chris Quinn, Colin Falls, and Torin Francis and boast one of the nation's top freshmen classes.

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Location: Conseco Fieldhouse (18,345) in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Net South

Radio: Airtime begins @ 6:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    Notre Dame Information


    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G Engin Atsur
    G Gavin Grant
    C Cedric Simmons
    F Ilian Evtimov
    F Andrew Brackman

    Notre Dame Projected Starting Line-up
    G Colin Falls
    G Chris Quinn
    G Russell Carter
    F Rob Kurz
    F Torin Francis

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Cedric Simmons --
    Sophomore center is leading the Wolfpack in scoring (14.3 PPG), and rebounding (6.3 RPG), and blocks (2.0 BPG).

    Notre Dame
    Colin Falls --
    Falls has started the season with a bang, hitting 10 3-pointers in Notre Dame's first two games. A reliable threat from deep and solid off the dribble, Falls is leading the Irish in scoring, averaging 17.5 points per game.

    NC State Notes
    The Wolfpack will travel to Indianapolis on Saturday, November 26, to compete in the sixth annual John R. Wooden Tradition at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. NC State will take on Notre Dame in the second game, while Purdue and Xavier will square off in the first contest. NC State is only the second ACC team to compete in the event, as Duke played in the 2002 Tradition.

    The Wolfpack and the Fighting Irish haven't met on the hardwood in over two decades and have played only six times in the history of the two programs.

    From the six seasons from 1977-78 until 1982-83, Jim Valvano's Wolfpack and Digger Phelps' Irish played home-and-home games, with Notre Dame winning all three games at Reynolds Coliseum, and the Pack winning two of three in South Bend.

    The last meeting, which took place in Raleigh on February 12, 1983, was not much of a barnburner, as Notre Dame won 43-42.


    Andrew Brackman

    They may be young, but they're experienced - the Wolfpack's trio of talented sophomores are currently ranked as the first, fourth and fifth-leading scorers on the squad.

    Sophomores Cedric Simmons, Gavin Grant and Andrew Brackman combined to play 1,396 minutes last season, but all three have started for the Wolfpack in all four games this season.

    Simmons, who averaged just 3.5 points as a rookie, is leading the team in scoring with 14.3 ppg. He and roommate Gavin Grant, who averaged 4.2 points last season, each scored career highs of 22 points in last Sunday's win over Delaware and Grant is now ranked fourth on the team with 12.3 points per game.

    Brackman led last year's rookies with 7.4 points per game, and is now averaging 9.0 per outing.

    Grant is currently leading the team in rebounding (6.5) and assists (21), while Simmons ranks second in rebounds (6.3) and leads the team in blocked shots with eight. Brackman is averaging 3.5 rebounds and has blocked five shots.

    The game against Notre Dame in the Wooden Tradition will mark NC State's fifth game in nine days and Wednesday night's game against VMI was the fourth in six days.

    The Wolfpack opened the season with three games in three days in the Hispanic College Fund Classic, then had two days off before facing VMI, then two days off before the Notre Dame game.

    This will mark the most games the Pack has played in the least amount of days to open the season since 1978-79, when Norm Sloan's squad played five games in nine days, posting a 4-1 record. That squad ended up the season with an 18-12 record.

    The center position is probably the most difficult to learn in the Wolfpack's intricate motion offense, as the big guys are playing all over the floor, not just under the basket. But early in his sophomore season, big-guy Cedric Simmons has shown that he feels at hom in that role.

    Cedric Simmons

    "Big Ced" is currently leading the team in scoring with 14.3 points per game. He set a career-high with 22 points and tied his career-best with four blocked shots against Delaware, and shot a career-best 10-12 from the line and pulled down a career-best eight rebounds against Stetson.

    Simmons has gained almost 20 pounds since he first came to NC State.

    Although Xavier and NC State will not play each other at the Wooden Tradition, the Miller family from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania will be well represented.

    Archie Miller, a former point guard for the Wolfpack, is in his first year as an assistant coach at NC State after serving as the Director of Operations last season. His brother, Sean, is the head coach at Xavier. Sean served as an assistant coach for the Pack from Herb Sendek's first season (1996-97) under 2000-01.

    NC State has opened the 2005-06 campaign with a 4-0 mark, marking the fifth time in Herb Sendek's 10 seasons that the Pack has posted a 4-0 start.

    Last season's 8-0 record to open the season was the best start for the Wolfpack under Sendek and the best for the Wolfpack since 1981-82, when Jim Valvano's squad opened 9-0.

    The Wolfpack opened the 2005-06 campaign with three victories in three days, sweeping the field at the Hispanic College Fund Classic. The Wolfpack posted a 30-point win over Stetson (91-61), defeated The Citadel 91-59, then won over Delaware, 73-57.

    NC State has taken 128 trips to the charity stripe in its first five games, including 39 against Delaware and 37 against The Citadel.

    Ilian Evtimov

    NC State has now hit at least one three-pointer in 504 straight contests, a streak that dates back to the Wake Forest game on March 4, 1989. That streak looked to be in jeopardy last Sunday versus Delaware, however. The Pack missed its first nine three-pointers and didn't connect until the 3:50 mark in the second half, when Ilian Evtimov nailed a three. The team ended up going 1-11 from behind the arc, marking the lowest three-point field goal total for the Wolfpack since Feb. 22, 2003, when the team shot just 1-10 against Duke.

    The Pack must have used up all its three's the night before. State connected on 14 three-pointers against The Citadel, the most since Nov. 26 of last season against Campbell.

    NC State has posted a 95-31 record against non-conference competition under Herb Sendek (85-22 in the regular season) and posts an impressive 52-5 home record against non-conference opponents since the Wolfpack began playing in the RBC Center in 1999-2000. That gives NC State a 91 percent winning mark against non-conference competition at home. The squad has also won three games against non-conference opponents in Reynolds Coliseum during that time frame.

    Overall, Sendek's squads have won 77% of their games in the RBC Center, posting an 81-24 mark.

    Notre Dame Notes
    Getting Out Of The Gate:
    In the first five seasons under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame has won each of its first two games and has not suffered its first loss until after the second contest ... Irish teams have been 4-0 (2000-01), 7-0 (2001-02), 4-0 (2002-03), 2-0 (2003-04) and 3-0 (2004-05) to start the season before their first loss.

    Torin Francis

    Irish Roll Under Brey In November:
    Under head coach Mike Brey, the Irish are 22-1 (.955) all-time in games played during the month of November ... The lone November loss was to Creighton 80-75 in the championship game of the Guardians Classic on Nov. 26, 2002.

    Series Record vs. North Carolina State:
    Notre Dame and North Carolina State will be meeting for the seventh time when the two teams square off in the second game of the John R. Wooden Tradition ... The Irish lead the series 4-2 ... The two schools last met on Feb. 12, 1983 in Raleigh, N.C. as Notre Dame earned a 43-42 victory ... The Wolfpack's last victory was a 62-42 decision at the Joyce Center on Feb. 13, 1982 ... Saturday's matchup will mark the first time the two schools have faced each other on a neutral court.

    Notre Dame vs. Atlantic Coast Conference:
    Notre Dame owns a 45-73 (.381) record all-time against teams that currently are members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Notre Dame At The Wooden Tradition:
    Notre Dame is making its second appearance at the John R. Wooden Tradition ... In Mike Brey's first season, the 2000-01 campaign, the Irish defeated No. 16/13 Cincinnati 69-51 that gave Brey his first-ever win as a head coach over a ranked opponent ... In the contest, then junior forward Troy Murphy, who went on to earn first team consensus All-America honors finished with 30 points and seven rebounds, while teammate Ryan Humphrey posted his first double-double in an Irish uniform as he finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds ... David Graves also registered double figures as he finished with 17 points ... Notre Dame led 31-26 at the intermission, but broke open the game, outscoring the Bearcats 38-25 in the second half.

    Colin Falls

    Conseco A Magical Place For Zeller:
    Conseco Fieldhouse certainly has fond memories for Irish freshman Luke Zeller ... Last March in the Class 3A state championship game, Zeller connected on one of the most memorable shots in the history of Indiana high school basketball ... The 2005 Indiana Mr. Basketball's half-court shot as time expired lifted his Washington High School team to the 3A state title with a 76-74 victory over Plymouth ... Zeller finished the game with 27 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists.

    Brey, Irish Find Success In Indy:
    Under head coach Mike Brey, Notre Dame is 3-0 playing in Indianapolis ... In addition to the victory over Cincinnati in 2000, the Irish have played in the city on two other occasions ... Notre Dame won first and second round NCAA tournament games in 2003 at the RCA Dome against Wisconsin-Milwaukee (70-69) and Illinois (68-60) to advance to the Sweet 16.

    The Irish All-Time:
    Notre Dame begins its 101st season of basketball and 11th as a member of the BIG EAST Conference ... In 100 seasons, Irish teams have posted a 1567-863 record for a .645 winning percentage ... In BIG EAST play, Notre Dame owns an 84-84 record all-time in conference regular-season play.

    The Captains: Guard Chris Quinn and forward Torin Francis have been named captains for the 2005-06 season, marking the second straight year that the two have served as captains. The duo becomes the 11th and 12th players to serve as two-time captains.

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