Gameday: NC State vs. Michigan

NC State (4-0) faces Michigan (7-0) tonight in the opener of the 2006 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Televised nationally on ESPN2, it is the only game of the day in the annual battle of the two conferences.

Location: RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C.

Tip-Off: 7:00 p.m.

Television: ESPN2

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

NC State Information

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    Michigan Information

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    NC State Projected Starting Line-up
    G- 14 Engin Atsur
    G- 04 Courtney Fells
    G- 11 Gavin Grant
    F- 33 Brandon Costner
    F- 34 Ben McCauley

    Michigan Projected Starting Line-up
    32 Lester Abram
    05 Dion Harris
    24 Ron Coleman
    23 Brent Petway
    44 Courtney Sims

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Engin Atsur --
    Atsur is coming off a 26-point outing against Gardner-Webb. The senior point guard is averaging 17.3 points, five assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game.

    Michigan
    Courtney Sims --
    Sims has emerged as Michigan's go-to player. The senior center is averaging 17 points and seven rebounds per game.

    NC State Game Notes
    TAKING ‘THE CHALLENGE'
    The Wolfpack will play the first night of this seasons ACC/Big Ten Challenge, as the Michigan Wolverines come to the RBC Center on Monday, Nov. 27.

    NC State has posted a 4-3 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge since 1999-2000. The Wolfpack has won all three of its home games in the challenge and has gone 1-3 on the road, including a win at 19th-ranked Purdue in 1999-2000.

    The Wolfpack has allowed just 58.8 points per game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

    STRONG START FOR LOWE
    Sidney Lowe has started his career as a collegiate head coach with a 4-0 record. A win over Michigan would tie Lowe for the school record for wins to open a career at NC State.

    Harry Hartsell began his Wolfpack coaching career in 1916-17, winning five straight contests before suffering a loss. Twelve coaches and 80 years later, Herb Sendek opened his tenure at NC State with five wins before a loss.

    PACK USES BALANCED SCORING TO START SEASON
    NC State has used a balanced scoring attack among its five starters to open the season 4-0. All five starters are averaging double figures, and four different players have been the high scorer in the four games thus far.

    In addition, four different players have scored at least 20 points at least once in a game this season and two players have done so twice. About the only thing unbalanced about the team scoring this year is the difference between the starters and the bench. The Pack's five starters have accounted for 91% of the scoring, while the reserves have chipped in with 9%.

    LOOKING FOR 1,000
    NC State's most experienced player, Engin Atsür, enters the Michigan game needing just 20 points to reach the 1,000-point total for his career. He is currently averaging 17.3 points per game after posting a career-high 26 points against Gardner Webb in his last outing.

    Atsür, who boasts 980 career points, will become the 39th 1,000-point scorer in school history if he reaches that milestone.

    NO HOLIDAY FOR WOLFPACK
    While most of the country was settling down for some time off, the NC State men's basketball team was in the middle of playing four games in 11 days. The busy streak started on Nov. 17 night against Delaware State, and continued with a Tuesday night win versus Valparaiso, a Friday night victory over Gardner-Webb and then Monday's contest against Michigan in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

    The Pack started its stretch off in good form, winning by an average of 15.3 points in the three games.

    USE A PENCIL NOT A PEN
    The Wolfpack's career scoring high's are changing on a daily basis just four games into the season. Brandon Costner played in just five games last year, so setting a new career high wasn't that suprising - however, scoring 20 points in just his second game (versus Delaware State) this season was. Ben McCauley set a career high in the first game of his sophomore season, chipping in a game-high 26 points versus Wofford. Sophomore Courtney Fells had a career-high 13 points in the win over Valparaiso.

    However, two wily veterans have also posted new scoring bests this season. Gavin Grant scored 25 points against Valparaiso in his 68th career game. And the Wolfpack's lone senior, Engin Atsür, who had played in 95 contests prior to this season, posted a new career-best with 24 points in the season opener, then topped that with 26 points Friday night against Gardner- Webb.

    MAKE MINE A DOUBLE
    Just four games into the 2006-07 season, two Wolfpack players have posted double-doubles. Junior Gavin Grant set career- highs with 25 points and a dozen rebounds in the win over Valparaiso last Tuesday.

    On Friday night, redshirt freshman Brandon Costner had 11 points and 11 boards in the win over Gardner Webb.

    Michigan Game Notes

  • Michigan coach Tommy Amaker enters his sixth season guiding the Wolverine program. After a 7-0 start to the 2006-07 season, Amaker has won 94 games with the Wolverines program. He needs just six more to reach the 100-win plateau and become the sixth head coach to reach that mark with the Maize and Blue. There have been 15 coaches leading the Wolverine program all-time.
  • Michigan returns nine players from a year ago and will be led by the senior class of Lester Abram (fi fthyear), Dion Harris, Brent Petway and Courtney Sims. There are eight newcomers to the Wolverine squad with five freshmen, two transfers and a walk on adding their name to the roster.
  • Fifth-year senior wing Lester Abram is the Wolverines lone-captain for the 2006-07 season. It marks the first time a Michigan player has served as captain three times in their career. Abram was a tri-captain as a junior (2004-05) with Graham Brown and Sherrod Harrell and was a quad-captain as a senior (2005-06) with Brown, Harrell and Chris Hunter.
  • Michigan opened the season playing five games in an eight-day stretch. In fact, the Maize and Blue opens the 2006-07 season playing its fi rst seven games at home – Crisler Arena. Overall, the Wolverines will play 12 of its 15 non-conference games at Crisler Arena. The only road trips for the Wolverines will be at N.C. State (Nov. 27) for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, at Miami (Ohio) (Dec. 7) and at national runner- up UCLA (Dec. 23). So far, Michigan is 6-0 on the season.
  • With this year's 7-0 start to the season, Michigan has started the season of with a 7-0 record the last two seasons. In fact, in the start of last season, the Wolverines won their first seven games before putting a mark in a loss column.
  • Michigan has used the same starting lineup in all seven games of the season. Starting for the Maize and Blue has been: Dion Harris, Ron Coleman and Lester Abram on the perimeter with Brent Petway and Courtney Sims in the frontcourt.
  • Michigan has had a steady rotation of eight players, who are all averaging above 12 minutes of action per game. Dion Harris leads the team with 29.0 minutes, while Ron Coleman is second at 28.9 mutes per game. Courtney Sims (26.9), Lester Abram (25.3), Brent Petway (24.7), Jerret Smith (19.1), Ekpe Udoh (17.1) and Jevohn Shepherd (12.2) comprise the remaining six.
  • Michigan has held its opponent to 60-or-fewer points in six of the seven games. The Wolverine opponent's are scoring 54.0 points per game, while the Maize and Blue are averaging 71.0 points per game for a near plus 20-point difference (+17.0).
  • Michigan held Central Connecticut State (Nov. 10) to just 40 total points in the season-opening game, which marked the lowest U-M opponent output since Wisconsin posted 39 points against the Maize and Blue at the Kohl Center (Feb. 27, 1999). Last season, the Wolverines held Old Dominion to just 43 points in the semifi nals of the postseason NIT at Madison Square Garden (March 28, 2006).
  • Michigan posted a season-best 32-point defeat Harvard (Nov. 17), 82-50, which topped the 29-point differential U-M had over Eastern Michigan (Nov. 12), 80-51. Michigan has double digit wins in five of its seven games with three of them 20-or-more points.
  • Michigan had five players in double figures against Harvard (Nov. 17) -- Ron Coleman (20), Courtney Sims (12), Ekpe Udoh (11), Dion Harris (10) and Lester Abram (10). The last time Michigan had fi ve double-digit scorers was Feb. 9, 2006, against Ohio State at Crisler Arena. Overall, Michigan has had at least three doubledigit scorers in a game in fi ve of the seven games this season. Michigan has had at least two double digit scorers in all seven games.
  • With his second three-pointer in the fi rst half against Youngstown State (Nov. 22), Lester Abram became the 42nd Wolverine to score 1,000 career points. He became the second Wolverine this season to accomplish the feat after Courtney Sims reached the milestone against UW-Milwaukee (Nov. 15).
  • With Lester Abram joining the 1,000-point club, Michigan now has three current players in the exclusive club. Abram (1,013) joins Dion Harris (1,216) and Courtney Sims (1,047) as active players in the 1,000 point club. It is the sixth time in U-M history Michigan has had at least three 1,000-point players active during a season.
  • Michigan has shot 48.8 percent this season, while holding its opponents to just 35.1 percent from the field. The Wolverines are shooting almost 50 percent thanks in part to Courtney Sims, who is shooting 69.2 percent, Brent Petway, who is shooting 63.2 percent and Ron Coleman, who is shooting 52.7 percent from the field.
  • Michigan shot a season-best 59.6 percent from the field (34-for-57) against Harvard (Nov. 17). This season the Wolverines have two games shooting above 50 percent in a game – Davidson (Nov. 11) and Harvard.
  • Michigan is out-rebounding its opponents by 9.6 per game. The Wolverines are averaging 38.9 rebounds per game, while holding their opponents to 29.3 per game. Three times the season, Michigan has posted more than 40 rebounds in a game. The Wolverines tied a season-high with 44 boards against UMBC (Nov. 25). The Maize and Blue also had 44 rebounds against Eastern Michigan (Nov. 12). The other 40 rebound game was against Eastern Michigan (Nov. 12) when the Wolverines had 41 total.

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