Gameday: NC State vs. West Virginia

No. 6 seed NC State and No. 1 seed West Virginia will face off tonight in the third round of the National Invitation Tournament. Tip-off is set for 9:00 pm and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN.

Location: Morgantown, West Virginia

Tip-Off: 9:00 p.m.

Television: ESPN

Radio: Airtime begins @ 8:30 PM on the Wolfpack Radio Network

NC State Information


    West Virginia Information


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

    West Virginia Projected Starting Line-up

    No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Statistics 
    21 Frank Young F 6-5 210 Sr. 14.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg 
    11 Joe Alexander F 6-8 210 So. 11.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg 
    33 Rob Summers C 7-0 250 Sr. 4.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg 
    22 Alex Ruoff G 6-6 210 So. 10.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg 
    14 Darris Nichols G 6-2 190 Jr. 10.7 ppg, 4.5 apg 

    Off The Bench No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. 1 Da'Sean Butler F 6-7 205 Fr. 9.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg 43 Jamie Smalligan C 7-0 250 Jr. 5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg 3 Joe Mazzulla G 6-2 190 Fr. 3.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg 35 Wellington Smith F 6-7 200 Fr. 2.4 ppg, 0.9 rpg 15 Devan Bawinkel G 6-5 195 Fr. 1.9 ppg, 0.4 rpg 32 Ted Talkington G 6-2 190 r-So. 0.7 ppg, 0.3 rpg

    Players to Watch
    NC State
    Ben McCauley --
    McCauley has been outstanding in the NIT, posting double-doubles in the Wolfpack's first two games. The Pack will need him to have a big game tonight.

    West Virginia
    Frank Young -
    If Frank Young is disappointed to be ending his career in the NIT, he sure isn't playing like it. In two games thus far in the tournament, Young has scored a team-best 47 points on 17 of 24 shooting from the floor including 8 of 11 from 3-point range.

    Nichols is the team's top returning player and a very solid point guard. The junior has a ton of playing experience.

    NC State Game Notes

  • This game will mark the third time that NC State and West Virginia have met in the NIT (1947, 1997, 2007).
  • NC State has now posted a 20-win season for the fifth time in the past six years.
  • NC State's five starters have averaged in double figures throughout the season. If the averages continued to hold by season's end, it will mark the first time since 1977-78 that five players have averaged double figures for NC State.
  • All five Wolfpack players were named to either the first or second All-ACC Tournament teams.
  • Brandon Costner scored 90 points in the 2007 ACC Tournament, the best mark ever for a Pack player in the history of the event.
  • Senior Engin Atsür is the 39th player in school history to reach the 1,000- point mark. He now has 1,167 points for his career - the 11th-best mark among current ACC players.

    The Wolfpack is making its 11th appearance in the National Invitation Tournament, its first since 2000. NC State posts an all-time record of 15-11 in the event following Friday night's win over Marist.

    The Wolfpack has made just one appearance in the NIT finals, losing to Texas in 1978. In 2000, State advanced to the semifinals in New York, losing to Wake Forest in the first game and then to Penn State in the consolation round.

    In 1951, NC State actually played in the NIT AND the NCAA Tournament in the same year. Following a win in the Southern Conference Tournament, the Pack travelled to New York, where it lost to Seton Hall in the NIT, then played in the NCAA Tournament back in Raleigh, defeating Villanova and then losing to Illinois and St. John's.

    The NIT was founded in 1938 and was originally made up of six teams. In 1941, the field expanded to eight and grew to six in 1969. All rounds of the tournament were played in Madison Square Garden until 1977, when the first rounds began to be played on campus, with the final four teams only playing in New York.

    In 1979, the field was expanded to 24 teams, upped to 32 in 1980 and 40 teams in 2002. In 2005, the NCAA took over the administration of the NIT and last season, narrowed the field to 32 teams.

    This will mark the third time than NC State and West Virginia have met in the NIT, and the 15th time overall. West Virginia holds an 8-7 advantage in the series and seven of the 15 games played between the two schools have been won by a margin of eight points or less and two have gone into overtime. NC State has never won a game played on West Virginia's home court (or the game earlier this year that was played in Charleston).

    Twelve of the 14 meetings between the two squads took place between 1946-47 and 1971-72. Since that time, the Pack played WVU in the Meadowlands during Sidney Lowe's senior campaign (the '82-83 championship season), winning 67-59. The teams met in the NIT in 1996-97, with the Mountaineers pulling out a 76-73 victory and then WVU beat NC State at home in 2004-05, 82-69. Earlier this season, the Mountaineers won 71-60 in Charleston.

    The Wolfpack, seeded sixith in the 2007 NIT, has knocked off third-seeded Drexel and sixth-seeded Marist and will now face one of the four number-one seeds in this year's event. West Virginia enters Tuesday night's game with a 24-9 overall record after defeating eighth-seeded Delaware State and fourth-seeded UMass.

    NC State has three full days between games, it's longest break between games in its last seven contests.

    If the Wolfpack were to win at West Virginia, the team would advance to the NIT semifinals in New York next week to take on the winner of the Florida State/Mississippi State contest.

    The Wolfpack squad that faced West Virginia in Charleston on Dec. 6, 2006, is not the same one that will travel to Morganton on March 20, 2007. The Wolfpack lost 60-71 to the Mountaineers on that date, playing without senior point guard Engin Atsür. In fact, that game was the first after Atsür sufferened the hamstring injury against Michigan on Dec. 3, therefore, it was the first that Gavin Grant was playing out of position.

    Sidney Lowe played just six players in the earlier match, with four playing the entire 40 minutes. The score was tied, 28-28, at the half and was close throughout the second half, but a 12-2 run by WVU sealed the Pack's fate. NC State commited 17 turnovers in the contest, and hit just 13 three pointers compared to just three by the Wolfpack.

    Much ado has been made about Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe's red jacket. For NC State fans, that jacket has become more than just a piece of clothing, it's become a good luck charm.

    That attention may be justified, as NC State has now posted a 5-1 record in games when Lowe has worn 'the jacket' and coached the entire game.

    Lowe broke out the bright piece of apparel on February 3, when his Wolfpack defeated third-ranked UNC in Raleigh, 83-79. He wore the jacket again in the Wolfpack's second game versus the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill on Feb. 21. NC State went into the halftime break down just one point (41-40), but Lowe got sick at halftime and did not come out to coach the second half (he actually went to the hospital instead). Without the red-jacketed Lowe on the sidelines, NC State was outscored 42-24 in the second half and went on to lose, 83-64.

    Lowe wore the jacket all four days of the 2007 ACC Tournament (the jacket was dry cleaned between games!), posting a 4-1 mark in those games. He also donned it for the Wolfpack's home game against Marist in the second round of the NIT.

    When Lowe has been on the sidelines (5-1/2 games) for the Pack wearing the red jacket, NC State has outscored its opposition 428-397. In those 11 halves of play, the Wolfpack has shot .546 (137- 251) from the field as well.

    NC State's draw in the NIT certainly didn't look good on paper. Sidney Lowe's Wolfpack - a squad which plays just seven players regularly - had just landed in Raleigh on Sunday night, March 11, after playing four games in four days in the ACC Tournament, when the news came that the squad would have to leave the following day for a Tuesday night game at Drexel - a team that many said should have been in the NCAA's.

    That total went to six games in nine days when NC State faced Marist on Friday night. Now, the Pack has a restful three full days between games, as the squad will take on West Virginia on Tuesday. The Pack has posted a 5-1 record in less than two weeks, knocking off three higher seeds in the ACC Tournament and one higher seed in the NIT.

    West Virginia Game Notes
    • Tonight's game will be the 16th meeting between West Virginia (24-9) and NC State (20-15).
    • This game will be televised nationally by ESPN (Mark Jones and Bob Valvano).
    • This is the third time West Virginia and NC State will meet in the NIT. WVU won at NC State, 76-73, in 1997 while the Wolfpack defeated WVU, 64-52 in New York in 1947. WVU has faced NC State more than any other NIT foe.
    • The Mountaineers are seeded No. 1 in the East region. If West Virginia wins tonight, it will play the winner of Mississippi State and Florida State next Tuesday in the NIT Final Four at Madison Square Garden.
    • WVU last appeared in the NIT Final Four during the 1980-81 season. WVU won the NIT in 1942.
    • West Virginia is making its 15th appearance in the NIT. The Mountaineers hold a record of 18-15 in NIT play.
    • The Mountaineers are making their fourth straight postseason appearance: 2007 NIT, 2006 NCAA (Sweet 16), 2005 NCAA (Elite Eight) and 2004 NIT.
    • John Beilein reached his 100th victory as WVU's head coach last Tuesday. Only four previous WVU coaches have reached 100 victories: Gale Catlett (439-276), Francis Stadsvold (149-133), Fred Schaus (146-37) and George King (102-43).
    • West Virginia is 31-2 against non-conference opponents at the WVU Coliseum under John Beilein.
    • West Virginia is 16-1 (.941) at the WVU Coliseum this season and 29-3 (.906) over the last two seasons.
    • The Mountaineers are 59-15 (.797) under John Beilein at home.
    • West Virginia's top seven scorers are shooting 40 percent or higher from the field. Four WVU players are shooting 48 percent or better from the floor.
    • The Mountaineers have used the same starting lineup in every game this season.
    • West Virginia has not trailed in either NIT game this season.
    • Fifty-one percent of WVU's shot attempts this season have been from 3-point range (922-of-1837).
    • In BIG EAST games this season, WVU held double digit leads against: St. John's (28 points), Villanova (23 points), Cincinnati (23 points), UConn (19 points), Seton Hall (18 points), Cincinnati (17 points), Seton Hall (15 points), USF (15 points) and DePaul (13 points). On Feb. 10 in Morgantown, WVU's biggest lead against No. 2 UCLA was 19 points. West Virginia's biggest lead against Providence in the BIG EAST championship opening round was 15 points.
    • Frank Young (101) needs one 3-pointer to break Chris Leonard's (1992) school record for season 3-point field goals.
    • Frank Young set a career high with 31 points against Massachusetts last Thursday.
    • Five different Mountaineer players have had at least one 20-point game this season: Frank Young (six times), Alex Ruoff (three times), Darris Nichols (once), Joe Alexander (once) and Da'Sean Butler (once).
    • WVU has set school records this season in assists (580) and 3-point field goals made (340).
    • The Mountaineers have won their 24 games by a combined 455 points, a margin of 18.9 points per game.
    • West Virginia has posted three straight 20-win seasons for the first time since 1985-87. It is also the first during John Beilein's career that he has posted three straight 20-win seasons.
    • West Virginia is 3-0 (1.000) in games played on March 20.
    • WVU's win over No. 2 UCLA marked the highest ranked team the Mountaineers have defeated since No. 1 UNLV at the WVU Coliseum in 1983. West Virginia won at No. 3 Villanova last season.
    • West Virginia is 47-14 (.770) under John Beilein when hitting 10 or more 3-point field goals in a game.
    • Under John Beilein, the Mountaineers are 62-12 (.839) when scoring 70 or more points in a game.
    • WVU has won 43 of its last 46 games when leading by 10 or more points. WVU is 23-1 this season when leading by 10 or more points.
    • Under Beilein, West Virginia is 95-6 (.941) when leading going into the final minute.
    • West Virginia is 37-6 (.860) under Beilein when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.
    • The Mountaineers are 81-16 (.835) under Beilein when leading at halftime.

  • Pack Pride Top Stories