Notebook: Seminoles Up Next

No. 18 NC State (19-5, 8-3) faces Florida State (15-6, 5-5) tonight in a huge ACC contest for both teams. Gametime is set for 7:00 pm, and it will be televised on ESPN-U.

Wednesday's matchup will mark the 39th meeting between NC State and Florida State. The Wolfpack leads the overall series, which dates back to 1955-56, 23-15.

Prior to Florida State's 70-64 victory in Raleigh on Jan. 26. 2005, NC State had won 12 in a row against the Seminoles, a streak that ranked as the third-longest active streak of one school over another in the league. Prior to that loss, the Pack had not dropped a game to FSU since January 23, 1999, when ‘the Noles won in Tallahassee, 71-59.

The Wolfpack avenged that loss by defeating the Seminoles in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in Washington, D.C., 70-54. The Pack has faced Florida State five times in the ACC Tournament, positing a 4-1 mark.

NC State games are the stuff that TV networks' dreams are made of - at least they have been of late. The Wolfpack has won four of its last five games, but two have gone into double-overtime and the other three have been decided by margins of two, three, four points.

For the season, the Wolfpack has outscored it's opponents by 11 points per game. In ACC, that number drops to four points per game.

Senior Ilian Evtimov and junior Engin Atsür both average double figures for their careers against Florida State. Evtimov had played in seven games against the Seminoles, averaging 10 points, while Atsür has played in five contests and averaged a dozen points.

Those averages are high in large part due to that tandem's performance against the Seminoles in last year's ACC Tournament.

Evtimov scored a game-high 18 in that contest, while Atsür added 17. In last year's home loss to FSU, both players scored nine points.

Atsür scored 20 at home against the 'Noles during his freshman campaign, the second-highest tally of his career.

The Wolfpack had its five-game ACC win streak snapped when it stumbled, 68-71, in Atlanta to Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack tallied 19 turnovers in the contest, including 15 times in the first half. (NC State actually turned the ball over just twice in the last 18 minutes of action).

The Pack came back from as many as eight down to tie the score with just over five minutes to play, but couldn't seal the deal. The loss was the Pack's first since Jan. 25, when Seton Hall won in Raleigh. Following that loss, the Wolfpack had strung together four straight victories. The Wolfpack now posts a 3-3 ACC road record this season.

Senior forward Ilian Evtimov had one of the best performances of his career in the loss at Georgia Tech, falling just one rebound and one assist shy of a triple double.

"Shoush" led the team with 17 points on 7-11 shooting, went 3-5 from beyond the arc, pulled down nine rebounds, dished out nine assists (to just two turnovers) and had two steals in a game-high 38 minutes of play.

His 38 minutes of action tied as the longest of the season for Evtimov in a non-overtime game.

NC State has now played four extra innings this season - going into double-overtime twice in the last five games (both on the road).

This marks the first time since the 1988-89 campaign that the Wolfpack has played more than one double overtime game (that season, the Pack won in 4 OTs against Wake Forest and in two against Iowa).

NC State's players have now played a collective 1100 minutes in the last four games.

The Wolpack enters the Florida State game with a 19-5 record, one win away from posting its third consecutive 20-win season and the fifth in the last seven years. A win over the Seminoles would bring the Wolfpack to 20 wins in the fewest games since the 1973-74 season, when the Pack opened at 20-1.

NC State is two wins away from last year's win total (when the Pack advanced to the Sweet 16) and needs four wins to tie the best tally ever under Herb Sendek (23-11 in 2001-02).

NC State will have at least six more chances to add to its win total this season (five regular season games remain, plus at least one ACC Tournament contest).

NC State went into the halftime break at Miami with an 11-point lead due to hot three-point shooting. But the Wolfpack left town with a double-overtime victory due to hot shooting at the charity stripe.

The Wolfpack shot 88% (22-25) from the line, its best free throw percentage of the season. Even more impressive is that the Wolfpack hit all six of its attempts in the second overtime, was 4-5 in the first OT and 9-10 in the last three minutes of regulation.

In the four overtime periods the Pack has played this year (two versus Clemson, two versus Miami, the team has shot .793 (23-29) from the stripe.

NC State ranks third in the ACC in free throw percentage with a .743 mark. The Wolfpack set a single-game record earlier this season wtih 37 free throws made against Wake Forest.

Thirty-seven percent of the Wolfpack's scoring (672 points) this season has come from behind the three-point arc and State leads the ACC with 9.3 three pointers per game (9.8 vs. ACC).

The Wolfpack is currently shooting .392 from beyond the arc - a mark with would rank as the best since 1991 (.415) if the season ended today. Herb Sendek's squad has posted 12 double-digit three-point outings this season and has done so in seven of its 11 conference games.

Three Wolfpack players rank in the top 10 in the ACC in three-pointers made per game. Tony Bethel is sixth with 2.26, Engin Atsür is seventh with 2.17, and Ilian Evtimov is eighth with 2.13. Bethel's .538 mark on three's versus ACC competition leads the league.

In the conference opener against Miami, the Pack shot .667 (12-18) from behind the arc, its best three-point shooting percentage since a .722 (13-18) mark against Virginia on March 8, 2002.

Against Georgia Tech, it was Ilian Evtimov. At Miami, it was Cameron Bennerman. For the two games prior, it was Tony Bethel. The game before that it was Evtimov and a few games before that it was Cedric Simmons.

You just never know which Wolfpack player is going to step up and lead the team in the scoring category on any given night. The concept of a 'team without stars' is serving the Wolfpack well this season, as the team has won 19 games.

Seven different players have led the team in scoring this season (in 24 games and there are only nine scholarship players in action). Four players are scoring in double figures (five against ACC competition) and only 3.5 points separate the team's top scorer and the team's sixth scorer.

NC State has not had the same leading scorer in more than two straight contests all year (and someone has led in back-to-back games just twice).

NC State has posted a 19-5 record (8-3 in the ACC), the second-best in the league, but has yet to have a player named ACC Player-of-the-Week.

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