Location: Coleman Coliseum (15,043) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Tip-Off: 9:00 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports
Radio: Airtime begins @ 8:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network
NC State Information
Probable NC State Starters
03 Ilian Evtimov F 6-7 222 Sr. 13 Cameron Bennerman F 6-4 205 Sr. 33 Cedric Simmons C 6-9 233 So. 14 Engin Atsur G 6-3 200 Jr. 22 Tony Bethel G 6-2 185 Sr.
Probable Alabama Starters
F- 01 Chuck Davis 6-8, 230, SR 18.1 ppg. 5.6 rpg. F- 23 Jean Felix 6-7, 205, SR 5.9 ppg. 3.1 rpg. C- 33 Jermareo Davidson 6-10, 220, JR 12.1 ppg. 10.5 rpg. F- 12 Alonzo Gee 6-6, 215, FR 7.9ppg. 3.0 rpg. PG-22 Ronald Steele 6-3, 185, SO 9.5 ppg. 3.3 rpg. 3.8 apg.
Players to Watch
Cedric Simmons -- Simmons has emerged as NC State's go-to player, and is a dominating defender, as he currently ranks second in the ACC in blocks, averaging 3.11 per game.
Chuck Davis -- A versatile star, Davis is the emotional leader for Alabama. The Tide's leading scorer, Davis can do damage in the paint and on the perimeter.
NC State Game Notes
PACK HEADS TO ALABAMA
NC State's game in Tuscaloosa on Thursday night will mark the Wolfpack's first trip there in 75 years. Although Alabama and NC State have faced each other five times on the hardwood, the only time the teams played on the Crimson Tide's home court was in 1930-31. That season, the Pack fell in what was surely a scintillating game - with a final score of 22-15.
For some reason, the Pack and the Tide ALSO played in Raleigh that season (in the very next game in fact). That game was MUCH more exciting, with Alabama winning 23-17. The teams have met three other times on neutral courts - in Fayetteville, N.C. in December of 1969, in Denver in the NCAA regional semifinals in March of 1986, and in Charlotte in December of 1991.
WOLFPACK WINS LEAGUE OPENER
NC State got its ACC season off to an auspicious beginning on Sunday night, posting an 81-69 win over Miami. The Wolfpack now posts a 5-5 mark in ACC openers under Herb Sendek, and has won three of its four conference openers played in December. Overall, NC State is 31-22 in ACC openers.
After the Miami game, the Wolfpack will be back in non-conference action four times before heading to Chapel Hill on January 7 to face the defending national champions.
SCORING IS A TEAM EFFORT
The Wolfpack's team concept is certainly evident when looking at the squad's scoring this season. NC State currently has five players averaging double figures this season and the team's leading scorer and the team's fifth-leading scorer are only separated by 2.1 points per game. Six different players have led the team in scoring in 2004-05 (a couple have tied for the team-lead). Five or more players have reached double figures in five of the Pack's nine games.
D-ING IT UP....
NC State currently leads the nation in field goal percentage defense, as the Wolfpack's opponents are hitting just 35% of their shots. NC State also leads the ACC in scoring defense with a 57.6 mark and ranks second in the ACC in three-point field goal percentage defense at .272.
The Wolfpack has held six of its nine opponents to less than 60 points this season (two to less than 50 points). Miami's 69 points on Sunday night was the highest by a Pack opponent this season.
... AND THREE-ING IT UP
A third of the Wolfpack's scoring (237 points) this season has come from behind the three-point arc. In the last three games, the Wolfpack has been particularly hot on three's, connecting on 52% (36-69) and hitting double-figure three point totals in all three contests.
NC State shot .667 (12-18) from behind the arc in the win over Miami, its best three-point shooting percentage since a .722 (13-18) mark against Virginia on March 8, 2002.
Those three outputs followed a 3-18 performance from behind the arc at Iowa.
NC State has hit double-figure three's in four games this season (14 vs. The Citadel, 11 vs. App. State, 13 vs. UNCA and a dozen versus Miami).
The Wolfpack leads the ACC in three-pointers made per game with 8.78.
SENDEK COACHES 300th GAME
Herb Sendek coached his 300th game as head coach of the Wolfpack on Sunday against Miami. He now posts a 177-123 overall record (.590) at NC State. Only three other coaches have ever coached in more games at State: Everett Case, Norm Sloan and Jim Valvano.
Sendek also boasts the third-longest tenure among current ACC coaches, as only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Maryland Gary Williams have been at their current schools longer. In his last 100 games, Sendek has posted a 63-37 record for a .630 winning percentage. His winning percentage has gone up in each increment of 100 games since he's been at NC State.
After starting the same lineup in the first six games of the season, Herb Sendek switched it up for the Appalachian State contest and has now started all three seniors in the last three games.
The Pack's current lineup includes seniors Tony Bethel, Cameron Bennerman and Ilian Evtimov, junior Engin Atsur and sophomore Cedric Simmons.
The Wolfpack's seniors are accounting for 37% of the team's points, as Evtimov is the leading scorer with 12.4 per game, Bennerman is tied for third at 10.3 and Bethel is seventh at 7.6 ppg.
Noting the Pack
Alabama Game Notes
• Sixth meeting between Alabama & N.C. State with Alabama leading series 3-2 and last meeting in 1992 in Tournament of Champions in Charlotte
• Tide senior forward Chuck Davis needs just 9 points to score his 1,000 UA career point
• Alonzo Gee is this week's SEC Freshman of the Week
• Game features two freshmen who were 2005 McDonald's All-Americans, Alabama's Richard Hendrix and N.C. State's Brandon Costner
• Two "swat" teams go head-to-head as Alabama has blocked 57 shots in 8 games for an average of 7.1 per game and N.C. State has blocked 60 in nine games for 6.7 bpg.
• Five N.C. State players average in double digit scoring, led by Evtimov's 12.4
• Two Tide players average in double digit scoring, led by Chuck Davis' 18.1; two more are close with Ron Steele at 9.4 and Justin Jonus at 9.1
• Eight games into the season, Jermareo Davidson still averages the double-double with 12.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game
• Six Tide opponents are ranked in the Top 25 this week, five more are receiving votes
Gee Is Feted By The SEC This Week
Tide freshman wing player Alonzo Gee received his first collegiate honor on Monday, December 19. The Palm Beach, Fla., native was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week. Gee, who has started in the last two games, scored 19 points, making 7 of 12 shots from the field, had five rebounds, two assists and two steals in his 29 minutes of the floor against Georgia State on December 17 to win the honor.
Seven Men in This Match-up Average Double Digits in Scoring
Seven men combined on Alabama and N.C. State's teams go into Thursday night's game averaging in double digits in scoring. Bama's Chuck Davis is the most prolific of those scorers. He's averaging 18.1 points a game. Bama's Jermareo Davidson is averaging 12.1 points (to go with 10.5 rebounds a game). Two more Alabama players are close to averaging double digits as Ronald Steele is at 9.5 points a game and Justin Jonus averages 9.1 points a game.
As a team after eight games, Alabama averages 74.0 points and is holding opponents to 67.1 a game. N.C. State is averaging 76.9 points a game after nine games and holding opponents to 57.6 a game. Its opponents include Stetson, The Citadel, Delaware, VMI, Notre Dame, Iowa, Appalachian State, UNC Ashville and Miami. Alabama's opponents so far have included Miami of Ohio, top 10 ranked Memphis, Alabama State, Louisiana Tech, Winthrop, Notre Dame, Temple and Georgia State.
UA's Hendrix & N.C. State's Costner Were McDonald's Teammates
They'll be doing all they can to see the other's team fail Thursday night, but last March Alabama freshman Richard Hendrix and N.C. State freshman Brandon Costner were teammates on the East team in the McDonald's All-American game.
The two helped the East win 115-110 against the West. Hendrix started for the East and scored six points, had four rebounds and two blocks. Costner came off the bench and had seven rebounds, two points and three assists.
Six Tide Opponents Ranked
Six teams on Alabama's schedule are ranked in this week's AP top 25, Memphis, Florida and Oklahoma among the top 10. Also ranked are N.C. State and Tennessee. Kentucky is Top 25 in the coaches poll. Vanderbilt, Arkansas, LSU and Notre Dame are receiving votes in the polls. Alabama is receiving votes in AP.
Davis Closing in on 1,000th Career Point: Needs Nine
Senior forward Chuck Davis is closing in on a career milestone, his 1,000th career point. Going into the N.C. State game, Davis has 991 UA career points for a career average of 11.5 points a game in 86 career games. After scoring 22 this past Saturday night against Georgia State, the Selma native needs nine more points to reach 1,000. He's averaging 18.1 points a game this season...Alabama has 38 former players, including its head coach Mark Gottfried (1,056) who reached the 1,000 UA points milestone.
Tide Players Produce Some of SEC's Best Stats
Going into this week's round of games, Alabama's players continued to produced some of the Southeastern Conference's best stats.
Last Time Out
Led by 22 points, seven rebounds and six blocks on graduation day from Chuck Davis, the Tide snapped a two-game losing streak with a 85-58 home win against Georgia State on Saturday, December 17. Davis was one of four Alabama players who scored in double digits as freshman Alonzo Gee scored 19, Jermareo Davidson 12 and Ronald Steele 11 points. Steele, who did not practice all week as he's nursing a back injury, started and had a game that included six rebounds, five assists and four steals in his 31 minutes on the floor at point guard. The game marked the second consecutive, and second career, start for Gee. Alabama took the game's lead for good at 12-11 with 13:39 remaining in the first half. It led 49-37 at the break. The Tide shot .475% from the field, making 28 of 59. It was 6 of 15 (.400%) from 3- point range, and, for the 2nd time this season, it shot 85% at the line, making 23 of 27 (for .852%). It held Georgia State to .351% shooting (20 of 57). Alabama out-rebounded GSU 43 to 27, led by eight from both Jermareo Davidson and Richard Hendrix. Alabama blocked 10 GSU shots, including Davis' six. Hendrix blocked three and Davidson one.