Lowe: Fells, Horner Game-Time Decisions

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Sidney Lowe met with the media today to discuss the game against North Carolina. Lowe stated that guard Courtney Fells and forward Dennis Horner will be game-time decisions for the Wolfpack.

On what color jacket he will be wearing:
That's the most important question (laughs)? I'm going with the school colors tomorrow. It'll be red.

On Courtney Fells' injury:
He was walking on it yesterday. He was feeling a little better today, we'll have to see how much he can do in practice. It's really going to be day-to-day.

On Dennis Horner's:
Dennis, probably the same thing, we'll have to wait and see with him as well … Dennis is a little further ahead.

On how he judges whether or not a player can play through an injury:
I sort of leave that up to the player and doc really, because different player have different tolerance levels and what they can handle. Certainly I don't want anyone out there that's hurt, but I would hate to tell a player not to play when he's dying to play and think he can do something.

On who would start if neither guy can go on Saturday:
We haven't decided yet. That's something we're looking at because we're not only looking at the guy that's starting but we're also looking at who we'll have coming off the bench, what's a better combination for us. Do we go with a guy that might be able to make more shots or a guy who's more defensive-oriented for us? We're still talking about that.

On how he thinks the team has played during the seven-game winning streak:
I think we're playing pretty good under the circumstances. We've had some key injuries for us, especially with Dennis being out and Farnold not there. We're playing well, especially from a defensive standpoint. Our defense has really been good. The only thing is, at time we haven't shot the ball well and made as many shot as we've wanted to. I think the guys are doing a nice job making adjustments against different styles of teams, being patient, especially on the defensive end. It sounds strange to be patient on the defensive end, but we've been that way because we've played teams that held the ball and were very patient offensively and waiting for us to breakdown defensively and we haven't done that.

On if it's a relief to play a team that will not slow down the game and play man-to-man defense:
You're never relieved to play the top team in the country, but I think from the standpoint that our guys will know what to expect, probably from this point on and what we've prepared for has been more man-to-man. I think they welcome the challenge of playing against a team that's going to predominantly play you man-to-man and be tough and aggressive.

On if he's glad he doesn't have to sell this game's importance:
I'm glad that they're probably going to be self-motivated on this one, but at the same time I still have to let them know how I feel and what this game means. The competition, the rivalry, the two schools, you're playing against the top team in the country – but I still feel they need to know how I feel about it.

On how injuries have affected the preseason desire to run a more uptempo offense
Certainly, personnel is a factor. Farnold is more north-south. He wants to get it and go and that's his game, Marques is more of a control player and Javi is somewhere in between so they're not guys who really look to push it as much. We still like to get the rebound and push it ahead and see if we can get some easy baskets, but I think also we've played against some teams that really didn't allow it. They did a nice job of having tempo of the game and playing the zone and not allowing us to get back and get some easy baskets. Certainly personnel is a factor right now. We don't have that jet like Farnold in there right now, but we're still going to look to kick the ball ahead and see if we get some easy baskets.

What concerns him the most about UNC:
They can make you concerned in different areas, they can have the ability to really get out and run the floor. They can get out and run one through five. They just play the game, they push the ball up the floor and then they're so smart that they read situations. They just play where you don't have to call a set, they just read each other and they make plays. It's always difficult to guard a team like that because you're trying to defend sets but when you have guys that just know how to play and have a feel, it's hard to prepare. You have to be solid on your defensive end. You have to be basic, fundamentally sound. Their running game certainly concerns you because they can get out and do that. I think that's the biggest thing. I think they have the big guy inside that they can go to and Lawson is always a load coming at you. They have shooters, Ellington can go for 30. But I think it's just the way they play, that's the main concern.

On being in better shape physically since falling ill during last year's game at UNC:
I think last year I could've five minutes a game where now I can give you 10 minutes. Nah, I've been great. I've been watching what I've been eating and not having those late-night meals where I'm watching film, snacks and things. I took a little suggestion from coach [Roy] Williams when I was in the hospital. He asked me what I had for lunch and I said I didn't have lunch, I was watching film and working and he said ‘exactly.' So now, I get away, I take that hour and either get with they guys and do something or get away from the game itself.

On starting off the ACC season at No. 1 UNC and then at Clemson:
It is what it is, whether you like it or not you go play the game. I don't have a complaint about scheduling unless it's a game I don't think we should play. It's a game and we have to go do it. … I didn't complain about it. I looked at it and wondered why us? But it's just the way it came and you have to go play it. It's a tough thing to do obviously, but depending on the outcome it could be a great thing.

On playing to the level of competiton:
I think there might be some merit to that. I've said this time and time again, when you have somewhat of a new group, young group in positions and guys, you're going to have that at times. Again, not having that experience, and this is not because of our point guards, but when you don't have that experienced leader, sometimes you do. So that energy has got to come from me, and that's what I try to do recognizing our team. If that's the case though, I expect us to go to Carolina and play OK. We have no choice, we have to play well over there because that's a good ball club.

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